Parents - give - their kids - UNHEALTHY SNACKS.
Yes we do!
Once upon a time, when I was a kid, this was normal. You came home from school and had biscuits. Kids' story books were filled with luscious descriptions of cakes, cookies and ice-cream. We didn't eat raw carrots as snacks. Crackers were salty and greasy and most of the time we ate them with butter. It was perfectly acceptable to have sugar and cinnamon on toast, or jam and cream on bread.
These days, things are different. Yes, we know more about nutrition and yes, we all want to avoid obesity, heart disease, etc. So the whole "healthy food" thing has permeated into everything in kid culture. The reader books my kids bring home from school are filled with kids in daggy trackpants making butterless sandwiches with raw vegetables and grinning like they're eating cakes.
It's funny now to read the childhood classic "There's A Hippopotamus On Our Roof Eating Cake", with the reference to Mummy on a diet eating salad, and the little girl who eats honey sandwiches every day.
At our house here is what my kids eat on a typical school day:
Breakfast (when at home): Sultana Bran, Weet-Bix or Cheerios cereal or two pieces of white toast, one with Vegemite, one with jam.
Breakfast (when at before-school care): Cheerios or raisin toast or pancakes
Morning tea: cheese and crackers for M; a "Stringers" cheese stick for A
Lunch: white-bread sandwich with margarine and jam; or with tzatziki; or wheat/rice wrap with butter and Vegemite; or wrap with cheese and tomato. Sweet snack: mini muffin or two biscuits or pack of My Little Pony/Scooby Doo biscuits or muesli bar or homemade cake/slice. Fruit: apple /strawberries / grapes / banana, etc
After school snack (when at after-school care): Cup-A-Soup, crackers and fruit
After school snack (when at home):
3.45pm: two biscuits and a glass of orange juice or chocolate milk
3.50pm: "I'm still hungry": Cruskits or rice cakes or rice crackers or popcorn
4.00pm: "Muuum I'm still HUNGRY": cut-up apple or orange
4.30pm: children attempt to steal sweets from cupboard, I (usually) notice and stop them; tell them to eat fruit or nothing
5:00pm: "still hungry". I tell them dinner is coming soon and to wait. Often end up giving them another rice cake or Cruskit, or if things are bad and I am starting not to care, a sweet biscuit
Dinner: Mostly not eaten (Big surprise huh). Includes cut-up carrot sticks and apple or orange on the table to make me feel better when their only other plant-food intake is two negotiated bites of broccoli (which they used to love).
Before bed: HUNGRY again - because they didn't eat dinner. I serve up the warmed-up dinner but unless the dinner includes plain rice or plain spaghetti, this isn't successful and I end up relenting and giving them a piece of bread and some fruit.
Things that frustrate me:
- My kids used to eat only multigrain bread. Since they discovered white bread awhile ago keeping up the multigrain has got harder and harder and I've now abandoned the effort - we've moved on to white bread
- I cannot buy enough bananas. Every week at the supermarket I buy two or three bunches. Between Y and the kids, they're gone in three days
- My kids used to LOVE broccoli (seriously). It's also my favourite veggie. We still serve it often but now have to push them to eat even a little
- A used to love wraps with Vegemite for lunch. Now apparently "hates" them and won't eat them
- The kids like Vegemite on toast but not on sandwiches
- I'm not strict enough and struggle to get them to hold off snacks before dinner - then they don't eat dinner
- I have the only child in the world (A) who hates mincemeat. Won't eat homemade meat pie, lasagne, spag bol or any other normal family go-to meal. I have the only two kids on the internet who don't like Mexibake
Things I don't care about:
- a sweet snack after school
- once a week I make them macaroni and cheese (from a box) for dinner
- on weekends they often have a Nutella sandwich for lunch
- icy-poles every day during summer
- a chocolate milk or Milo every day
Things I have got a bit cleverer at:
- So they eat their fruit in their lunchbox, I give them a smaller sweet snack.
- A is put off by whole fruit so I cut up fruit and put it in a little box in her lunch box. E.g., I cut up one apple and one banana, or one apple and four strawberries, and split it up between two boxes for the two kids
- I sometimes make up a little snack bag containing sultanas, a couple of mini Oreos, and a handful of dry Cheerios; I try to sneak in a couple of almonds or walnuts but they don't fall for that
- Sometimes I make up an after-school snack plate of crackers, tzatziki, cut-up fruit, carrot sticks and two biscuits - so they can graze while watching TV and the entire snack amount is controlled
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- I use a million chicken recipes for dinner - butter and soy chicken, lemon chicken, honey baked chicken, orange chicken, apricot chicken, crumbed chicken, chicken in tomato sauce, homemade or frozen chicken nuggets...
- Sometimes instead of steaming veggies I boil them in water with butter, orange juice and honey, for a bit of flavour. It makes it easier for them to choke down those vital two bites.
And that's REAL LIFE in our house.
Linking up with Picklebums for Real Life Wednesday.