There is a sweet little trick I discovered a few years ago. I don’t remember where I first learned it. Somewhere in internet land, I’m sure. It’s a brilliant idea that carries magical powers to increase the excitement over healthy snacks by at least 74.3 percent. Minimum. It’s true – I’ve tested it. The secret? It’s called a Snack Tray, and here is the complicated magical potion:
Step 1) Get a muffin tin out of your cupboard.
Step 2) Fill it with a variety of healthy snack foods.
Step 3) Present it to your children
Step 4) Go prepare your acceptance speech for your Mother-of-the-Year award.
Sounds tough, eh? Don’t worry, I have confidence in you. I have confidence in sunshine, I have confidence in rain. I have confidence that spring will come again! BESIDES WHAT YOU SEE I HAVE CONFIDENCE IN MEEEEEEE! (<—name that movie).
Whew, this idea really inspires me with excitement, can you tell?
Honestly though – I am not exaggerating when I say that my kids *literally* cheer when I mention A Snack Tray. They are 74.3 percent more likely to eat everything in it than if I served it on a regular ol’ plate. I don’t pretend to understand it. Sometimes you just gotta believe in the magic.
I’ve done a ginormous variety of Snack Tray fillers over the years. Here are our usual favourites:
- Banana, apple, orange, kiwi, grapes, melon…
- Nuts (cashews are the fave around here)
- Dried fruit
- Crackers & cheese
- Air-popped popcorn (with butter and sea salt, of course)
- Carrot sticks (my kids actually love raw carrots – they eat them every day)
- Cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes, sugar snap peas
- Ants on a log (PB & raisins on celery sticks)
- Small hunks of cold cooked meat
- Jerky (we made our own once before and it was amaaaaazing)
- Hummus (beside the crackers)
- Berries, frozen or fresh
- Frozen peas (my weird kids love ’em!)
- Hard-boiled eggs cut into halves
- Cut up bite size pieces of these healthy homemade granola bars
It can get pretty darn creative, but to be honest our snack trays most often consist of a quarter or a half filled with popcorn, and the rest with fruits and veggies. If I have cold cooked meat (meatballs, chicken breast, deli meat, etc), I’ll throw that in too, since I like to have lots of protein and healthy fats in our diet as much as possible.
PS. A decently filled snack tray TOTALLY can count as lunch. Just sayin’.