When my first son was in kindergarten we had the best teacher! This helped with so many things in the transition to school and we are so grateful to this day to have had her (not once but twice with our younger son).
One of the amazing things she did was put the class on a snack schedule. Here is a picture of the schedule:
This may sound like a simple thing and I know if you ask her she will say not everyone followed her schedule which was disappointing for her. However; we still use this snack schedule 5 years later!
These are the reasons I love it:
- Structure – menu planning and snack/lunch packing can be so overwhelming at times and the easiest thing to do is grab another package from the pantry. This schedule makes snack planning easier because you just need to pick a food within each category.
- Choice – when you are meal planning and making your grocery list, involve your children in choosing what they want. Children respond much better to “Monday’s snack is a vegetable, what vegetable would you like?” than “What you do you want for snacks this week?”. For the younger children, you can give them even more direction and give them a choice of 2 or 3 items to choose from. This way they still have input into their snacks which makes them much more likely to eat them if they are hungry.
- Favourite food Friday (FFF) – you and your child can come up with what these favourite foods look like. Is this homemade chocolate chip cookies or a packaged granola bar? Either way, you get to understand what their favourite foods are and then decide how much of this food you want in your house. For example if they choose a food that you don’t want them eating all the time then you can buy them in singles and they are allocated for the snack on Friday’s. Believe me, I know how tempting it is to buy them in bulk at Costco! However, if you have a box of 25 how are you going to explain to anyone in your house that those are for lunches only (and then there is an element of restriction which isn’t good for anyone!).
- Variety – this schedule really helps with providing a variety of snacks each week. This is especially helpful when you get into the snack rut which happens to me around November!
Here is the example of our snack planning this week:
- Vegetable: Carrots
- Bread or Cereal: Zucchini muffin
- Fruit: Peaches
- Dairy: Yogurt
- FFF: Granola Bar
I don’t think our kindergarten teacher realizes how much this has helped our family with snack planning. I know if you start following this schedule it can help you too!
If you are needing a tune up with family meal and menu planning, one of our Registered Dietitians can help! Contact us to book an appointment.