Written by Sylvia Geiger MS, RD, CD|Price Chopper Community Nutritionist
“Mommy I’m hungry!” This is a wail from the back seat that can sabotage even the simplest errand excursion. So the prepared parent packs a moveable feast of snacks and juice boxes—arming ourselves with foods to appease the inevitable snack attack. While I often question the wisdom of not letting my kids (or myself for that matter) experience the discomfort of hunger or thirst—I do know that being prepared with a few snacks, buys me the necessary time to accomplish the daily errand list.
But all these snacks add up, sometimes it’s extra calories that haven’t delivered anything nutritious, and in the worst-case scenario, my kids aren’t hungry when mealtime rolls around. To avoid this, I have a few guidelines for the portable feast in the back of my van or in the bag my kids tote to practice.
- All snacks should contribute to filling the daily nutrition needs. This might sound heavy handed but it’s a rule the kids understand. Snacks eaten on- the- go are for satisfying thirst or hunger, they are not “treats.” Save the cookies, bars and chips for times when they can be fully enjoyed as treats.
- Use the NuVal scores on the shelf tags to find convenient, nutrient rich snacks that your family enjoys.
- Have fruits handy. Apples, bananas, and oranges are super convenient snacks. It also doesn’t take too much time to slice strawberries or any other fruit to put in a baggie. Don’t forget about dried fruits. Running around is a little easier when you have a bag of dried apricots, peaches, plums, apples or raisins to curb hunger. Nuts are very helpful to have on hand, and they also pack a nutrient punch. So keep a can or bag of almonds, walnuts or peanuts handy.
- Quench thirst with water. Keep a reusable bottle or sippy cup filled with water handy, and ditch the soda, juice boxes and sports drinks. There is ample research to show that those beverages don’t actually satisfy hunger—and the extra calories add up.
Healthy Meal of the Week; all main ingredients are on sale this week!