I have struggled with my body image and a sweet tooth for as long as I can remember and when I had my first child I knew I wanted to do everything I could so she would develop a healthy relationship with food.
In my post Why I let my kids eat whatever they want I go in great detail about what we’re doing when it comes to foods and meal times in our home. In summary, we make sure our house is only stocked with healthy foods but when we go out or to parties my kids are free to eat whatever they want (in moderation). We don’t force our kids to eat and encourage them to listen to their bodies – eat when they’re hungry and stop eating when they’re full.
We are trying to maintain a balance and we hope that by introducing them to so many healthy foods they will gravitate to eating healthy once they are older and on their own.
My first daughter is a very picky eater and won’t eat some foods just by the way they look. We started involving her more in the food process: letting her make choices, having her help us with meals and giving her easy access to food. Now she is a better eater because of it and although there are days she might not eat a lot, she eats well most of the time.
One of the things that we did to give her control over what she eats was create a snack drawer in our kitchen. The first 2 weeks she was constantly eating snacks – I think she wasn’t sure if this was a permanent thing. Once she realized our snack drawer would always be there she started snacking only when she was hungry and a lot less.
The details of our snack drawers:
We have several sections in our kitchen with snacks she can reach and can eat freely whenever she wants. She usually doesn’t eat too much at once and has been pretty good at moderating herself in the quantities she eats.
We have 3 sections in our kitchen for snacks:
A snack drawer – in the bottom shelf of our kitchen: The snacks we have there have changed according to what I buy and what she’s into at the time but I always make sure everything is organic, low sugar and that doesn’t spoil fast.
I keep washed fruit on my kitchen counter: I have a little basket where I keep fruits she likes to eat, like bananas, apples, peaches, nectarines and whatever else is in season.
I also dedicated a little shelf in our fridge where I keep more healthy snacks like hummus, cheese, carrot sticks, fruits, pepperoni, yogurt, berries and whatever else she’s into at the time.
She’s free to eat anything from these sections any time she wants. Sometimes she won’t eat anything from there at all and sometimes she will eat from those section several times a day.
My daughter also likes sweet treats so when her grandparents bring her a chocolate, she will eat some of it and store the rest in her snack drawer. It seems that because she knows it’s in her snack drawer, she is ok with saving it for later.
What’s in our snack drawer:
Now I want to share with you what I keep in our snack drawer. As I mentioned before, the snacks change a lot and we don’t always have all these items at once. I focus mainly on things that won’t get spoiled, that are organic and with very low sugar.
A lot of them are healthy and some I consider more as treats. Some I’ve found at random times in Marshall’s or Costco but I usually just get them with subscribe and save on Amazon to save some money.
Here’s what we usually have in our snack drawer:
- Apple chips
- KIND bars
- Raw Rev bars
- Freeze dried peas
- Freeze dried fruit
- Sun-dried apricots
- Freeze dried yogurt
- Strawberry rice biscuit
- Food pouches
- Red Berry & Beet crispy chews
Sometimes I can’t find these foods in small pouches so I put it in smaller containers for her, like these:
The food in this snack drawer is not meant to substitute a meal and it is only considered a snack. My kid will rarely eat from this drawer before a meal so it has worked out very well.
It did take about 2 weeks for her to figure out how to pace herself with the snacks but ever since it has worked great. Even her little friends love checking out the snack drawer and picking what they want to eat.
I love giving my kids the freedom to chose what they want to eat while learning to listen to their little bodies so they only eats what they need. The snack sections in our home have helped us to develop a healthy, balanced relationship with food plus it has taught my kids some independence by letting them serve their own snacks – she will even put some of these bags in her little backpack when we go out.
Do you have a snack drawer at home? Have you found it useful?
If you’re looking for fun dance ideas check out this Pinterest board: