School’s out and summer is in full swing. Kids are home more often and need fuel for those summer activities, so let’s make sure the snacks they’re reaching for are healthy.
A lot of decisions are made for the sake of convenience because we (and kids) don’t always like to put in extra work even if we know it’s a better decision. You can organize your fridge and pantry so your family will make healthier food choices. The goal here is to make grabbing a healthy snack just as easy as grabbing a bag of chips.
Before I dive in to how to organize, I want to encourage you to quickly purge your fridge and pantry. Toss anything expired or questionable. Wipe down the shelves and sticky bottles. The door shelves are prime space and are often filled with condiments that are rarely used, so really consider what you actually need. If you don’t want to deep clean your fridge, set a timer for 30 minutes and go with whatever you get done in that amount of time.
Once you're done and have made room for all the good stuff, stick to these three rules. I promise you and your family will make healthier food choices.
Prep, prep, prep!
Kids love helping and seeing something they worked hard at come to fruition. When they are involved with making a healthy snack they’re more likely to reach for it. Intentionally set aside 30 minutes (ideally as a family) to wash and cut fruits and veggies. Place them in food storage containers or baggies so they are easy to grab. Here are some great ideas kids can help with:
- Rinse and cut: Apples, strawberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple, bell peppers, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, rhubarb (Bonus tip: sprinkle a little lemon juice on cut apples to slow oxidation)
- Rinse: Blueberries, grapes, blackberries, raspberries, carrots, grape tomatoes, sugar snap peas
- If your kids are too little to handle a kids’ knife, have them rinse the berries and put them in containers. This also helps their fine motor skills.
Make snacks easily accessible.
Utilize the lowest shelf and/or drawer for your kid-approved snacks. This is helpful for two reasons. First, kids can access them without needing your help and you can reduce the number of times you’ll hear, “Can I get a snack?” because your kids will know anything on that shelf is approved and ready to eat.
Move juice, milk, nut butters and jams to the lowest door shelf.
Put together a basket of dry snacks (cereal bars, dried fruit, granola, etc.) in a lower cabinet or on the counter, so kids know exactly what they can have and where to find it.
Optional depending on your time: Assemble fruit and veggie snack bags for your kids. These are super handy for when you’re on the go. If you plan to use this idea, I highly encourage you to find reusable baggies like these or these.
Take bulk snacks out of their packaging
Snacks like Go-GURT, juice boxes, cheese sticks, GoGo Squeezes, etc., usually come in boxes or additional packaging. Take the snacks out of that packaging, so kids don’t have to fight with it. This is a win for parents because you can collect recycling all at once after a grocery trip!
These three rules are a great way to bring the family together and to encourage everyone to make the commitment to snacking on healthy foods. An added bonus is it fosters independence. It's truly a win for all!