Let’s be real with each other. What do your lunches usually look like? Before I went on maternity leave, I strategically packed lunches for work so I could devour them whenever the hunger monster struck. (Except those days where I forgot my lunch and regretfully grabbed a bagel from Tim Hortons instead… my coworkers know what I’m talking about.) Now lunches usually consist of a myriad of finger foods… you know—fresh-cut veggies and hummus, cheese and crackers, yogurt and berry parfaits, peanut butter sandwiches… or leftovers. Basically whatever my preschooler eats, I eat. But other days, when I’m feeling especially motivated (or my kids are in an especially good mood), I love to whip up something that’s not only good-for-you but oh-so-satisfying as well. This vegetable and fried cauliflower rice topped with eggs is just that.
Are your kids continuously hungry and constantly asking (perhaps whining) for more snacks? When my son, Liam, transitioned from nursing to requiring snacks, I felt that was him. He was always hungry. And, I’d find myself stuffing a quick snack into my purse as I left the house “just in case” the hunger monster emerged. I naively thought this “foolproof” method was the key to avoiding meltdowns. However, without planned, balanced snacks, children’s hangry mood swings start to run the show. And, on-the-go snacking often consists of designed-for-kids snacks (e.g. Goldfish-like crackers and fruit snacks) that usually contain all simple carbohydrates with limited micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), protein, and fibre. Without balancing simple carbs, you'll be greeting those familiar hunger pangs an hour later, much to every parent's dismay.
So before I get into three strategies to improve snack time and finally cage the hunger monster, let’s first look at why snacks are important for children.
In case you missed it, last week I endured the toddler “mealtime meltdown” of the year — over just a measly, uncooked muffin. If you have your own kid (or are acquainted with one), you know temper tantrums are just a normal part of development. It’s how young children express that they are either upset or frustrated. So although it’s impossible for every meal to go smoothly, there are some practical strategies I use every day to avoid the routine outbursts that come with hungry kids and dinnertime frustrations.
Here’s my 5 tips for avoiding mealtime meltdowns:
Lately I have been trying to be more intentional about meal planning. This is definitely an area our family hasn’t been the best at. However, when I do sit down for 15-20 minutes each week to plan meals and create a grocery list, I end up saving a lot of time and money. Otherwise it looks like one of three scenarios:
You may have already heard this, but it’s a good idea to include seafood and fish in your weekly menu — if you don’t do so already! Especially fish rich in the following omega-3 fatty acids: DHA (docosahexaeonic acid) and EPA (eicosapetaenoic acid). Research study upon research study have found that these omega fats play a significant role in protecting the heart and lowering risk of heart disease. Other studies have found that omega-3’s are critical in the development of a baby’s brain while in the womb. Moreover, some research has found that depressed patients may have low levels of DHA, and in some studies, these patients benefited from omega-3 supplementation reducing symptoms of depression.
That being said, how much fish should you be eating?
Hello, I'm Erin – a Registered Dietitian, loving wife, mommy of one, and self-proclaimed foodie. Welcome to my blog where I hope to inspire others to make nutrition, health, family and faith more than just good intentions.
Follow Erin on Instagram