Sep 19, 2012

Real Life Wednesday: Snack Foods

Because I am fearless and searingly honest, I am going to break one of the last remaining parenting taboos - right here, right now!

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
5:30pm: Ditto

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
not available every day
  • 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.

Real Life Wednesdays


  1. Ah kids and food... *sigh*

    My lot used to eat almost anything, but then the girls suddenly 'went off' things... now one doesn't eat spag bol, the other sausages or anything wrapped in pastry. What kind of kids don't eat spag bol or things wrapped in pastry????

    1. Sounds exactly like my kids. Mine also ate everything when they were younger. And they also suddenly go off things, usually just when I've congratulated myself on finding a regular thing they like.
      One of mine won't eat spag bol or anything INSIDE pastry, but WILL eat the pastry. The other won't eat sausages. WTF...

    2. Good on you for being honest.
      I have a healthy appetite. I love all types of foods and ingredients. I love fresh veggies but I also couldn't survive a day without treats.

      I would be a hypocrite if I deprived my daughter of the foods I love so much. So my daughter also gets a treat each day. As a stay at home mum, it's also fun to bake our own treats too.

      I just start the day with all the healthy foods and then I don't feel so guilty about giving her an afternoon treat. Thankfully she'll happily eat almost any fruit or veggie I give her except raw tomatoes and avocado.

      My little girl isn't at school yet so the food fussiness hasn't begun yet either- nor the after-school hunger pains (I remember those days myself).

    3. Thanks Jackie. I'm the same -love my treats too. I reckon we have both healthy and 'sometimes' food every day :)
      I'm also sympathetic to after-school hunger as I remember it too.

  2. I love your honesty & I love this post too :) I have no idea what half of these things are (I'm a silly American ;)...but they do indeed sound yummy. It's all about moderation, and it sounds like what you have going on in your house is perfect :)

    xx Melissa @ mamamiss

    1. Oh thank you Melissa, that's very kind!
      I am a big believer in giving kids a bit of everything - unfortunately it gets away from me sometimes!
      Thanks so much for visiting

  3. I gave in and gave Pebble a mini milky bar at 9am one day this week. She would not stop eating! That was after 1 1/2 weetbix, 1/2 banana, grapes, milk, watermelon and toast!

    1. Ha! Sometimes little kids just have "hungry days" don't they. At least when they're little most tend to self-regulate quite well with food. So if they're hungry, they're hungry!

  4. I'm so not looking forward to my son being older and picky about what he eats! So far he's in the "eats the same thing for lunch and dinner everyday phase." OK, he's slowly growing out of that. But he now insists on eating a hot lunch in the cafeteria (it only took him two years to be able to handle the noise!). He now eats there every day, which is great for me, but at 3.50 per lunch?! Even I don't eat that well. Such is real life!

    1. Oh YES, I remember that phase fondly! It went along with the "will eat same thing for dinner 3 nights in a row" phase - I loved that phase. Cafeteria lunches sound good - easy! It's funny what we do to make the whole food thing as painfree as possible, isn't it :)

  5. Food is a never ending challenge. My 7yo will not eat food that touches. We had Mac N Cheese for dinner last night, her version is plain pasta with a little cheese sprinkled on top.

    9yo usually eats the Mac N Cheese that I make with veggies mixed through, but last night I'd tried to make a crunchy topping and she refused to eat it, apparently I was trying to poison her with breadcrumbs and cheese. :sigh:

    1. Oh yes - my fussy girl won't eat food that touches either!



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