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Why Your Fridge Needs a Self-Serve Snack Drawer

posted: 01/20/16
by: Mara Betsch
Preschool kids doing activities
iStock

We'd all like it if our kids ate three healthy meals a day, but the reality is that kids don't always consume food the way we'd like them to. If they did, our children would be chowing down on plates full of kale!

A recent series of reports published in 2014 in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the International Journal of Obesity and the European Journal of Nutrition confirmed that kids have less traditional eating habits. Of the children in the studies, about 45 percent of the boys and 34 percent of girls ate all three meals. That means that most of them skipped meals or snacked in place of the classic eating structure. In fact, snacking contributed to 42 percent of children's calories!

The series of studies also found that children who ate square meals were more likely to maintain healthier weights. The researchers speculate that this may be due to the fact that meals are more balanced whereas on-the-go snacks can be higher in sugar and fat and lower in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. So how do you handle kids' desires to snack with helping them maintain healthy diets?

Knowledge is power, and if you teach your children what foods make healthy snacks -- and what portions to have them in -- you are helping them build lifelong healthy habits.

That's where the healthy self-serve snack drawer comes in. The blog Thirty Handmade Days decided to fill a fridge drawer and a pantry shelf with easy, on-the-go snacks that kids can pick out whenever they're hungry. Be sure to stress that kids should eat only when they're hungry, and make sure they're not eating two, three, or more snacks each afternoon.

Here are a few ideas to put in each place:

In the fridge:

  • Cheese sticks
  • Cheese slices
  • Cut up carrots, cucumbers, celery, or peppers and hummus
  • Cut up apples, grapes, orange slices, etc.
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Yogurt
  • Bottled water
  • Organic dairy products

In the pantry:

Sure, some of these snacks require some prep time, but setting aside 30 minutes each Sunday to chop foods for the next few days is worth it if it means you're kids aren't eating cookies and chips.