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’.
Find more tips and hacks like this one in my Quick Healthy Meals Ultimate Guide (101 Tips, Recipes, and Strategies)!
Years later & I am still loving this idea Beth!!!!
Yay! It’s so simple, but they love it so much 🙂
I call that a Bits ‘n’ Pieces meal. It gets cheers and happy hollers here too. I use brightly colored little melamine bowls on top of a large red square plate for each child. I especially like to do it during summer, when berries are in season and we have CSA veg arriving by truckload each week.
Your comment made me super excited for summer produce this year! Mmmm! 🙂 🙂 🙂
What a great idea! I might put dip, hummus or something like that, in one of them.
I’d need to add cherry tomatoes and diced bell peppers to our trays, but I will have to give this a try! Thanks
Another presentation that works great… an ice cube tray and a toothpick to spear their food with (of course they need to be old enough to safely use a toothpick to spear their food).
Emily @ Live Renewed
I have to name the movie – Sound of Music!! Love that one – we watch it regularly at our house! oh, and love the idea of snack tray too – I’ve done that with my kids and it’s definitely a hit – I need to remember to do it more often! 🙂
how old are you kids? mine is 18 months, and i don’t think he’d care much at this age. when did they first start to enjoy this?
Great idea! I should do this for my kids… shared on my FB page!!
So trying this with my daughter’s red heart-shaped cupcake pan. Oh, snap.
My kids also LOVE this (and I use love carefully:) and you are right, there is something magical about it….maybe I should try liver sometime!! It’s great how it instantly turns a meal into something special:). My kids like frozen peas too, way more than cooked!
My kids love the snack tray, too! Haven’t had one in awhile, must dig it out 🙂 (And I think that’s my favourite part of the Sound of Music, stuck in my head now – thanks!) Bless you, Beth!
Mindy @ Creating Naturally
LOVE this idea! Pinning and will most definitely be trying this out with my 2 yr old 🙂
Kelly @ The Nourishing Home
What a great post! I am totally going to try this! I’ve found one trick with my kids is that if I put just about anything in a tortilla wrap and cut it in rounds (like sushi rolls) they magically get excited to eat it. LOL! Thanks for sharing this wonderful idea! Will definitely be sharing this tomorrow. Blessings, sweet sister! 🙂 Kelly
Jill's Home Remedies
How cool! Will definitely have to try this! 🙂