5 Things You Can Do To Motivate Your Child To Eat Healthy Snacks At School
Healthy snacks – without high amounts of sugar or added chemicals – keep our children healthy and help them to maintain the energy they need to be successful at school, but it can be hard to find snacks that your child will want to eat (and not trade with their friends for less healthy snacks). There are countless Google searches for healthy snack ideas, but as every child has their own unique tastes – based on their experiences, preferences and cultural backgrounds – what makes a successful snack for one child, won’t necessarily make a successful snack for another. So instead of giving you a list of healthy snack ideas, today, we’re going to give you a list of things that you can do to make it a bit more likely that your child will actually eat the snacks you send with them to school.
1. START WITH FOODS THEY ALREADY LIKE
Some kids just naturally gravitate to healthy foods; others shun anything green that comes out of the ground or hangs from a tree. Giving kids snacks that they wouldn’t normally eat isn’t going to end in an empty lunch box – unless it’s going straight into the bin. However, if you start with foods they already like – even if they don’t seem like natural “snack foods” – they are much more likely to eat them. Things like hard-boiled eggs, yogurt, or small containers of favorite meals (pasta, rice, vegetables or meats) can also be eaten as snacks.
2. LET THEM CHOOSE THEIR OWN SNACKS
Whenever children are involved in the process, they are typically more likely to be involved in the end result. Making it a treat to let them choose a new, healthy snack at the store or market can be a big motivator for them to want to eat it, or at least try to eat it, when they see it in their lunchbox.
3. INVOLVE THEM IN THE PREPARATION
Again, as I mentioned above – Children + Process = Buy In. If you engage your children in the process of making their snacks – putting peanut butter on crackers, rolling kimbap or cooking and seasoning noodles – they may be more likely to enjoy the end result.
4. TALK TO THEM ABOUT HEALTH
Another motivator, at least for my children, is a near constant dialogue about healthy eating and how, “You are what you eat.” Helping children understand that their bodies are made up of the things they put in their mouths – especially when you read them all of the unpronounceable things on ingredient labels – can sometimes spark a healthy consciousness around food and make kids think twice before reaching for unhealthy snacks.
5. BE FLEXIBLE WITH THE PROCESS
Our children are not always going to eat the food we send with them to school. We may have some trial and error in the process of finding things they enjoy; and then starting over when they tire of what they loved the week before; but if we are flexible and patient, our efforts will be rewarded with healthy, health conscious children ready to tackle problems in the classroom and on the playground. Flexibility when it comes to snack choices is important, too. It doesn’t hurt to let them have a less-than-healthy snack once in a while, because after all, they are kids and even adults treat themselves now and again.