This post was originally intended to be in reference to children. However, it would easily be applied to adults as well. The point is the same for any age group.
Snacks can become quite overwhelming, and in most kids are a nice substitute for replacing their meals. If they snack often, the likelihood of them being hungry when meal time comes is quite rare. Unless, of course, they’re going through a growth spurt or have some other medical condition. Honestly, I can’t blame them, cause snack foods are typically more convenient for on the go, and sometimes tastier than a full meal.
Snacks have never been a priority in our family. My husband and I aren’t big snackers, so its not something we’ve done much of. My kids can sometimes get in the “need a snack” mindset, but I try to quickly combat that with some of these solutions.
- Offer filling and nutritious meals. We don’t offer snacks in between meals, unless they have eaten their entire meal. If so, they are free to pick a fruit or vegetable for an in between meal snack. I do not allow for snacking if they chose not to eat at mealtime.
- Proper hydration is huge. My kids have a water bottle that I like to keep full at all times. They are in an easy to reach place, so that they have access to water at any time. Many times when we think we’re hungry, we’re actually thirsty. Same for kids, water most times will fill that “maybe hungry” tummy and curb the craving to snack.
- Snacks aren’t boredom solutions. I try not to use food as an activity or a pacifier when my kids need a distraction. I understand, certain circumstances and ages of children, it’s possibly necessary for a short season. I try to avoid this whenever possible as a habit though. Food can easily become our entertainment or comfort. These aren’t always healthy habits to set for lifetime practices.
If you want to begin changing snack routines in your family, I would suggest taking one of these solutions at a time. Pick one, and begin enforcing it for a few weeks. Then, once your family has become accustomed to that one, begin enforcing another, and then another, in time. I would NOT suggest attempting all of these at once with your family. I’d imagine you’d have some cranky kids and frustrated parents. No body wants either of those, and your going for a long-term solution, not a quick fix!