Still at Home All Day?
Get a handle on snacking
Get a handle on snacking
Establishing and breaking habits can be tricky work. Establishing good habits such as daily prayer or daily Mass takes discipline, planning and prayer. Breaking bad habits requires the same. For many of us, the pandemic has changed our habits, perhaps some good and some not so good. For those with children learning from home, extra screen time, less activity and constant access to snacks may be causing some dietary challenges.
Family snack conference: Before making any positive change, talk about the “why” and lay out the expectation.
Plan and place: Make a flexible schedule for the times and places snacks and meals will happen. Stepping away from the screen to snack makes it an intentional act instead of mindless eating. Proper healthy meals and consistent meal times lead to full bellies and less snacking.
Packaging and presentation: Have the kids help prepare, portion and package serving-sized snacks. Eating from the box or carton makes it too easy to over-snack, so prepare grab-and-go snacks in kid-sized portions for the win. Pairing a protein with the snack is more satisfying. Pears and cheese, apples and peanut butter or carrots and hummus have more staying power than packaged sugary or starchy snacks.
Do instead of list: If the motivation to snack is really boredom, stress, fatigue or procrastination, the art of diversion is a helpful tool for tackling this bad habit. Make a list of things to do instead of snacking: go outside and shoot free throws, pray for three people, do a puzzle, take a walk or make a card for someone sick or lonely.
Move first: Come up with an age-appropriate list of physical activities that come before snack time, and make them fun. Include siblings if possible, and move with them, because one thing our kids are missing right now is human interaction and playing with friends – so think of it as home recess.
The big two: Sleep and hydration. Make sure there is a solid bedtime and wake-up schedule; kids need predictable, consistent schedules. That call for a snack is often mistaken for the body’s call for hydration. Make sure kids are drinking plenty of water; not just sports drinks or other sugary liquids. Chug before you chew is a great plan.
Remember, discipline, planning and prayer are the keys to breaking bad habits and establishing good ones. And Lent presents a focused opportunity to do so. Pray for the Holy Spirit’s help in modeling these behaviors as parents and helping your children connect them to the sacrificial aspects of Lent, especially fasting. You will be better-nourished – both physically and spiritually.
Sheri Wohlfert is a Catholic school teacher, speaker, writer and founder of Joyful Words Ministries. Sheri blogs at www.joyfulwords.org.