by Kathleen Oliphant
Do your kids have perfect timing of when they ask you for a snack? By that I mean that at the exact moment you have just finished cleaning the bathroom, putting in three loads of laundry, unloading the dishwasher, and you are just about to sit down for a ten minute break before you need to start making dinner when you hear “I’m hungry, can I have a snack?” It was at one of these moments, when my daughter was about five, that I decided that it would be a good idea for all concerned if I encouraged her to learn how to make her own snack. Not only does it mean I don’t have to get up the exact moment I sit down, but it also encourages independence and starts building real life skills at an early age.
Here are five ideas for healthy snacks that kids (depending on their age) can make themselves.
Frozen Fruit – My daughter started eating frozen fruit as a toddler for teething, but it has lasted the years as her favourite snack. It was the first snack she made herself. I keep a couple bags of various kinds (strawberries, peaches, mango and raspberries are her favourite) in the freezer. She can easily get a bowl, pour a bit in and snack away.
Yogurt – This is another easy and healthy snack that most preschool aged kids can get themselves. Grab a bowl and a spoon, spoon some yogurt into the bowl – done! Yes, you may find dollops of yogurt on your floor or counter, but after a while they get the hang of it.
Hummus and baby carrots – My daughter prefers my hummus over store bought (because I put a bit of honey in mine), but either way she can get some into a bowl and grab some baby carrots out of a bag and in seconds she has a good healthy snack.
Cheese, crackers and fruit – This one is for kids that are old enough that you feel comfortable teaching them how to use a cheese knife. It also requires more ingredients to be prepared and perhaps fruit to be cut up. But still, after you supervise and coach them through it the first couple times, they can manage this one themselves.
Toast with nut butter (or non nut butter) – This was the most recent addition to my daughter’s snack repertoire and one that she now also makes herself in the morning. You have to feel comfortable that your child can handle using the toaster safely. Once you have crossed that hurdle, it is easy to have some whole grain bread on hand and some nut butter in the cupboard that they can spread with a butter knife.
She is now also cooking some simple meals, like eggs and toast, using the stove (supervised, for now). What started out as a way for me to get that much needed ten minute break has turned into a gradual growth of independence in my daughter which builds both confidence and useful life skills.