The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Health & Family

April 19, 2012

Sarah Coyne: Treat snacktimes like mealtimes

JOPLIN, Mo. — We pile into the house after school and the first activity on the agenda is the begging of snacks.

I believe children everywhere are up to the same business at about 3:30 p.m. They’ve signed a childhood contract of snacktime compliance, and it’s up to us parents to follow their plan accordingly.

Of course, there are probably some hidden clauses in the contract that harbor statements such as, “Will only accept crackerish bits in cheery shapes, including but not limited to: fishies, bunnies, teddies, etc.”  

And at this, my mom-head explodes with elementary litigation. I lobby for fruit. I compromise for protein. I settle for mildly healthful with a side of frivolity.

Is it too much to ask that a snack be both kid-friendly as well as healthy? Something filling enough to maybe keep them from raiding the cupboards all afternoon? Options that won’t repeatedly bust our processed and sugary intake right through the roof? Sadly, crackerish bits fulfill none of my hopes.

Part of my job description entails preparing three meals and a few snacks for five people each day. Therefore, I need easy snacks. Quick snacks. And those usually don’t come healthily in family-sized boxes from the grocery store.

It’s not that my kids won’t eat the healthy things as much as it is that at the appointed hour, snacks must be in-hand with all due haste, or their patience wears thin. The hungry little bosses need something as easily managed as a box of cheesy fish crackers, and if I’m being honest, I do too. In order to keep the kiddos’ after-school bellies satisfied as well as bypass the contractual clause for animal shaped crackers, here’s what I do to make snack time easier:

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