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Having the kids home all day, every day inevitably leads to regular bouts of the “I’m hungry’s”… even if they just ate their previous meal!
My kids are home with me throughout the year, so I’m used to handling these sorts of situations. I follow a number of different strategies, depending on the day, their mood and my mood.
The goal is to keep the kids nourished, without making yourself completely crazy in the process. So, here we go:
Offer A Vegetable Platter
Prepare a plate full of in season vegetables. Make it a habit to do this first thing in the morning so a plate will be ready and waiting at the first cries of “I’m hungry!”. They may turn their nose up at vegetables, but – be stern, if they are really and truly hungry they will eat, otherwise they will just have to wait for the next meal.
Offer A Fruit Platter or Kebabs
If you’re feeling a tad creative, then thred chopped fruit onto skewers for fruit kebabs. You could even get the kids involved and make the whole snack into an activity- hand them fruit, kid safe knives and skewers and instruct them to get creative.
My kids construct buildings and other structures when they are allowed to simply “play with their food”.
Make Homemade Snacks
Another way to turn snack time into an activity is to get cooking together. There are tons and tons of cooking with kids activities that you could do – from baking cakes or cookies to churning up ice cream together. Or you could pick from any other healthy kids snack to make.
DIY Trail Mix
You could assign a cup, bowl or jar per child to fill with their very own snack selection. They can then have their own snack source that they can go to whenever they get hungry.
To start, lay out a selection of snacks and then get the kids to fill their cup/bowl/jar with their own choice. Here’s a couple of our own personal favourite trail mix inclusions:
Prepare a second course of their previous meal
If they didn’t eat enough at breakfast or lunch I’ll simply offer them another round of the same.
Sometimes they are pre-occupied during their meals, they don’t want to sit for long as they want to get back to whatever they were doing before I “rudely interrupted them” to call them to the table for their meal. They leave the table without finishing, or when they haven’t eaten quite enough and before long the “I’m hungry’s” strike and I swiftly serve a second course of the previous meal.
There’s nothing like a refreshing smoothie on a warm day. The kids can pick their own mix of ingredients and blitz them up for a fun and filling snack.
Again – making smoothies also doubles as an activity as the kids can pick their fruit (and possibly vegetable) inclusion and any other yummy extras to make their smoothie their own.
Maybe they are thirsty not hungry?
Often they may not be actually hungry but thirsty instead. I encourage my kids to drink water, wait a couple of minutes and if they are still absolutely ravenous then we will chat about making a snack or I’ll refer to one of the above tactics.
Bring the next meal forward! Get them to help you prepare the next meal, many little hands make light work.
Over to you – what do you do to keep your kids nourished between meals? Do you have any go to strategies which work? I’d love to hear from you!