It has started. With Halloween barely a week ago and Thanksgiving less than a month away, the season of food has begun.
If your house is anything like mine, you have Halloween candy spilling out of every nook and cranny (why didn’t we give out five pieces instead of two to every trick-or-treater!?) and small people asking to eat it a dozen times each day. And, if you are anything like me, you want to say yes to at least half of these requests so you can have a piece too, rather than waiting to sneak one at nap time.
At this time of year, I often worry that our family’s nutrition takes a deep dive into the land of high fructose corn syrup and that we not only pack on a few pounds but develop some pretty poor eating habits along the way. So, as the season of snacking gets underway, I’m planning some healthy options for my family.
Here’s what we’ve got:
– Fresh fruit: we keep our fruit bowl well stocked with apples, bananas, and other in-season fruits. Right now we love pears and early oranges.
– Dried fruit: we offer fresh fruit whenever we can but sometimes we need a snack on the go or don’t have two hands available to peel a banana so we’ve got a wide variety of dried fruit – bananas, apples, pears, and mangoes are our favorites.
– Nuts: my daughter suffers a peanut allergy so, sadly, one of the world’s favorite nuts is off limits. Fortunately, the peanut is the only banned nut for us so we regularly enjoy almonds and pistachios.
– Rice cakes: my daughter eats them plain but we also use them to mix up her sandwiches for lunch and smear them with cream cheese, soy butter, or sunflower butter.
– Whole grain cereal and crackers: admittedly not quite as packed with nutrition as fruit and nuts, whole grains are a great source of fiber and other important nutrients such as potassium. Paired with some cheese, they make a great snack.
– Cheese: sometimes, when the kids are hungry but dinner is not quite ready, we have cheese time. My daughter gets a slice of cheese to split between her and her brother and they snack while I cook. They get the calcium and protein they need and they are happy about it too.
To make things easy, we stock the bottom drawer of our pantry with as many of these healthy snacks as possible so that our daughter can reach them on her own. When she’s hungry, she can see (and reach) a sea of nutritious options. And all that Halloween candy? It’s on the top shelf to be handed out as a special treat.