Today’s post is brought to you by my friend, colleague, and mom that many of you may already be familiar with, Sally from Real Mom Nutrition. Earlier this year Sally shared a recipe on my blog when Lily was just born, and today I’m thrilled she’s sharing another top-notch post. This time on my toddler’s favorite subject: snacking. Enjoy!!!
You know those annoying moms with older kids who go on and on about how things will get easier? I am not going to be one of those moms.
That’s the good news.
The bad news is that I’m actually going to tell you about something that gets worse. But I’m also here to say that you can handle it. You SHOULD handle it. (And I can help you!)
That thing that gets worse: Snacks. I know, it sounds harmless enough. You’re a pro at snacks by now. You’ve got a million little cups and bowls in your cupboards and a dozen healthy snacks in heavy rotation.
But something strange and terrible happens with snacks. One minute your child is happily digging into a plate of hummus and cucumbers at home. The next minute they’re being handed a cupcake and bottle of Gatorade on the soccer field at 10am.
When this happens, you’ll feel irritated. You’ll feel frustrated. You’ll wonder if you’re the only one who’s wondering what the heck is going on. And if you’re like me, you’ll also squirm a little. Because you’ll want to say something—and DO something—but you won’t want to be THAT Mom. You know her. She’s the fun police. And nobody likes her, right?
Well, I finally decided to be THAT Mom. After a season full of junk food sports snacks, I spoke up (my personal breaking point: the week the coach brought cupcakes, cookies, and punch for post-game). The response I got was overwhelmingly positive. And I’m here to tell you that it’s okay to be THAT Mom. It’s important to be THAT Mom. Because THAT Mom doesn’t have to be the fun police. She doesn’t have to be annoying. In fact, THAT Mom is usually speaking on behalf of a dozen other parents on the team or in the classroom who feel exactly the same way but don’t want to rock the boat—and are so thankful someone finally did.
The sad reality is that as kids get older and spend more time outside the home, snacks can become a major issue. It seems like kids can’t gather in a group without a snack being involved, and it’s typically a packaged snack with added sugar, sodium, artificial colors, and other junky ingredients. Gummy fruit snacks at Sunday school. Cereal bars at camp. Donuts at Cub Scouts. Chips at t-ball. Goody bags of candy at gymnastics. It’s enough to make any parent crazy—especially if you’re trying to instill healthy habits at home.
So be ready. Be ready to advocate for your child and all the other kids on the team, in the school, and at the camp. I’d love to help you. Over the years I have created free tools that have helped parents around the country tackle this tricky topic. Here are a few that might be helpful for you:
- 20 Healthy Team Snacks (free printable)
- 20 Healthy Preschool Snacks (free printable)
- Sports Snacktivism Handbook (free email template to the coach, email template to team parents, and other resources for making change on teams)
I recently put all of my snack resources into one giant e-book, The Snacktivist’s Handbook: How to Change the Junk Food Snack Culture at School, in Sports, and at Camp—and Raise Healthier Snackers at Home. It includes all the resources on my blog plus brand new information, printables, and recipes. It can help you create change in your community.
Because one parent—THAT Mom—really CAN make a difference!
Sally Kuzemchak, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian, educator, and mom of two who blogs at Real Mom Nutrition. She is the author of The Snacktivist’s Handbook: How to Change the Junk Food Snack Culture at School, in Sports, and at Camp—and Raise Healthier Snackers at Home. She also collaborated with Cooking Light on Dinnertime Survival Guide, a cookbook for busy families. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. In her spare time, she loads and unloads the dishwasher. Then loads it again.