Summer break can be a great time to bond with the kids. However, after about a week of fun, you might find yourself worried about your food budget for the summer months. It seems that children need something to eat or drink every couple of hours, if not more often, when they’re at home for summer vacation. There are a few things you can do to make the snacking nightmare end though. These simple tips will help you get your child’s snacking habits in check, so you won’t have to spend your entire snacking budget on their sudden cravings. So, take a deep breath and collect yourself, because snacking doesn’t have to eat away at your sanity or budget.
1. Follow a Schedule
One of the best things you can do for your kids is follow a schedule. This will not only help your child to maintain a basic routine for school, but it will also help to keep their mind healthier. Schedules are one of the most stable ways to keep kids going through the day and can eliminate a wide assortment of the chaos that happens during the summer months. When it comes to mealtimes, you should pencil in breakfast, a midmorning snack, lunch and then an afternoon snack. Of course, older children might not need all of these meals, so work using your judgement here. When kids know they have to follow a schedule for their snacking needs, they will be less likely to bug you every few minutes for something to eat.
2. Encourage Outdoor Play
Sometimes, one of the easiest ways to get your kids to stop asking for a snack is to send them outside to play. If you can find a wide assortment of games for them to play outside, then you’ll be all set to enjoy some fun without worrying about the food supply. In the summer heat, there is a good chance your child might not ask for a snack for some time as it often suppresses the appetite. Of course, running around and having fun will also take the mind off of needing to eat. This will help your children lead a healthier lifestyle during the summer months too. The only thing you’ll truly need to worry about is having water on hand to keep them hydrated.
3. Push Fluids
Another great way to keep things frugal when snacking is to actually push your child to drink more fluids. This doesn’t mean that everything they consume should be something they want. Instead, you should make sure your child has water more often than not. Often, we believe we are hungry when we are actually thirsty. So, teaching your children to fill their bellies with water before going after a snack can truly set them up for success in the future. You might also consider making popsicles to help ease some of the snack desires. You can make your own sugar less or even sugar free to keep your kids happy while saving you a whole lot of money.
4. Keep Kids Busy
Boredom is one of the key factors of children wanting to snack all of the time. This can be a huge problem because kids tend to try to lounge around all summer if they don’t have anything going on. The lounging and snacking are bound to cause kids to gain weight, which will get in the way of their health. Instead of letting this carry on, your best option is to keep kids busy. You might give them crafts to work on, homework to keep their minds fresh or even sign them up for activities. A playdate might also be the solution to the snacking problem. You might also consider going on nature walks, visiting museums or just exploring your community. No matter how you keep your child busy, you won’t have to stress over the constant snacking.
5. Skip the Junk
There’s no doubt about it, kids gravitate towards junk food. Unfortunately, it is one on the cheapest options when it comes to feeding children too. Junk food isn’t just bad for children, it can also cause them to eat more. Not only will this eat at your budget and your wellbeing, but it can cause health problems for your children too. Your best option is to keep junk food at bay during the summer months. Instead of going for popular chip brands, you might consider passing out fruit or vegetables to keep kids full. This will prevent sugar cravings and crashes while teaching kids healthy eating habits.
6. Premade Protein Packs
One of the best ways to fill up kids and keep them full is to give them foods that are filled with protein. There are lots of great protein packs you can purchase from the store, but it will save you a bundle of money to make them yourself. These protein packs usually have products like cheese, nuts, meats, eggs and fruits. So, design your favorite protein packs to suit your child’s needs. If you offer a protein pack for snack at a designated time, you’ll find your child will ditch the constant need to snack and will have the nutrients needed to lead a healthier lifestyle.
7. Eat Meals At Table
Another way to detour the constant snacking is to force children to eat any food they have at the table. From mealtime to snack time, directing food to the table might actually detour kids from watching to eat all of the time. For instance, children often get caught up in whatever they’re playing or watching on tv. If they have to take a break to get a snack, then they might not want to grab that extra snack they thought they needed. Plus, eating at the table is a great bonding exercise that can help the whole family form good habits that can actually keep kids out of trouble in the future.
8. Have Kids Help with Meal Prep
Cooking with your children can be one of the best ways to cut down on the snack epidemic. Kids that know how much work goes into food will be less likely to demand things all of the time. Plus, teaching kids how to cook can keep them busy and excited to learn more essential life skills. Of course, you should start with age appropriate tasks to make sure kids are safe in the kitchen. Younger children might start with mixing batter and other items, while older children can operate the stove or cut up ingredients. Having your children meal prep with you will also show them the quantity of food that they have to work with. This might cause them to hold back on snacking, as they will know just how much went into the food they have eagerly been grabbing.
9. Healthy Alternatives
Kids tend to gravitate toward convenience, just like adults. However, most of the prepackaged snacks kids are going to go after aren’t going to be great for them. So, you might skip their favorite snacks at the grocery store and offer healthy alternatives. For instance, you might start with just setting out fruit to snack on. However, you can amp up your game by making your own fruit snacks and fruit rollups. This is an easy task that will certainly appease children while filling them up more. Granola bars are another great option that can easily be made at home from ingredients that all children will love. Apart from that, you might find homemade beef jerky, vegetable chips and other savory options will go far too. There are so many healthy recipes to suit your child’s favorite snacks that you might have a hard time figuring out where to start.
10. Say No to Sugar
Sugar can be one of the worst things for your kids. From cavities and weight gain to sugar addiction, your best option is to keep this substance out of your home as much as possible. Sugar is hidden in just about everything today too, so your kids are getting more than their fair share. So, try to work out treats that don’t have added sugar. It will take some hunting around, but there are many great options on the market now. Of course, making things from scratch can also help with the sugar issue. You may even have to limit some juices too, so you might stick to water as often as you can.
Your child’s snacking habits doesn’t have to cost you a fortune during the summer months. These ten tips should actually cut back on the snacking your child craves, which will save you money and a lot of stress. With children asking for less snacks, you might find that you’re able to pack in more fun and bonding time during the summer months.