Last year was the first year after school snacks really became important. Both boys were in school full time, had early lunch times (10:30am) and if they had a snack in the classroom it was just a nibble of a friendly and easy bite. I did not do a good job with after school time. I allowed it to be a crazed time. Most days, there was a fight about what snack would be. It was my fault. I never took control over the situation.
Years ago on a mom blog and then many times after I saw the muffin tray idea. I always noted it, recommended it if I did a healthy kids talk, but never used it. Well this year when the school year began, I decided that is it! Enough crazy after school time. We are going to have more homework, sports and distraction. We need to take control of this. I need to take control.
Having my own business, a flexible schedule and the ability to work from home most of the time is glorious. However, what people don't realize it that work is always with you. Home is always with you. Your children are alway with you (if not physically, mentally and emotionally). Everything begins to blend and mush. It becomes very important to create boundaries and schedule time for each.
From 2:30-5, it is about my children. Why 5? Because then it is back to work. ;-)
So back on topic: the after school snack madness. Let's give this muffin tray snack thing a try. It was 2:30. I had 15 minutes before I headed out to get the boys from school. I opened the refrigerator, scanned the pantry and put it all together.
As always and as I try to teach all of my Gaia Fitters, I thought in categories.
Carbohydrate: Fruits, Veggies
Healthy Fat: Nuts, Seeds, Guacamole, Olives, Nut Butters, Hummus
Protein: Turkey, Eggs, Bacon, Pepperoni, Cheese, Yogurt (high quality, nitrate free), Smoothie
Then For the Kids:
Treat or Snack: Gold Fish, Crackers, Chocolate, Homemade Cookie or Muffin, Bars, Popcorn
For 2 days, it has been amazing. They never quite finished everything. It is 1 muffin Tray for 2 boys ages 6 and 8. If I see it close to being finished, the next thing I do is open their lunch bags. What have they not finished? I am not a fan of wasting food especially good food.
In order for the concept to be a success, it is important to cover all the categories. Give them the macro and micro nutrients they need to feel full, satisfied and keep their energy!
There has been a lot less begging in between snack time and dinner time which is around 6 or 6:30. And they know, if they are still hungry, they go to the refrigerator (and I also keep the snack tray out all the way until dinner with any of the leftovers.)
I am realists. I know this might get old and I will have to work in some other ideas. I will also have to keep the variety going so they don't get bored. I will meet each of those days as they come and try to pre-plan for them. Until then, I will work on mastering the beautiful muffin tray.
Cheers to healthy after school snacks!
As I come up with different variations, I will post here!