September 26, 2009 Off

Back to School Snack Box Help

By in Parenting

With a new school year beginning, parents of kindergartners and younger children will soon be faced with the task of supplying snacks for some sort of activity at school. In the case of you kindergartner, the “snack box” is a largish tub that has a lid. Each week, it goes home with a different child who brings it back on Friday full of snacks for the entire class. We were the 6th family on the list, so I asked my daughter what kinds of snacks had been brought in previously to get an idea of what to send it. I was surprised to hear that I’d be up against some pretty stiff competition.

According to my daughter, previous snack box goodies had included cookies, chips, candy bars and chocolate bars. At first I was skeptical of this report, but a call to the teacher confirmed her report.

To say the least, I was amazed. I understand that not all parents are aware of the growing obestity problem among today’s youth because it doesn’t effect them, but even I wouldn’t allow my kid to eat these kind of “snacks” on a daily basis. It simply doesn’t matter if you have an overweight child or not – all of these products made from refined sugars are not good for kids. Sure, they’re alright every once in a while, but not on a daily basis.

So what can you do? How can you convice the other parents of the class that they should be sending in healthier snacks? Better yet, how do you send healthier snacks? You can’t make things at home anymore because of the potential for food born illnesses, so any snacks that get sent in for other children than your own need to be store bought. And, they need to be the kind of thing that kids will eat…which might be the hardest part of it all.

So, what I did was simple and seems to be something that other parents like. I got in touch with some other mothers in the class and brainstormed some ideas with them after sharing my concerns. One of my other children attended a weight loss camp a couple years ago, so I had a good number of ideas when we sat down to develop a plan. The hardest part was figuring out how to “scale” the snacks for an entire classroom, but with a group of adults, we were more than able to figure it out. Once we had some ideas ironed out, we printed out a take home sheet that we gave to the teacher who then distributed it to the rest of the parents. Of course the teacher was on our side – she had been battling sugar snacks for years! Would you want to have 20 or so kids hopped up on sugar under your responsibility?

Here are some of the things we came up with. Some of these ideas won’t work if there are children in the class with peanut allergies, so make sure you check with your child’s teacher.

1) Yogurt covered raisins, cashews, and soy nuts mixed together like a trail mix

2) Strawberries and Cream: Sliced strawberries (or unsweetened frozen strawberries) and plain vanilla yogurt. For service, call a local restaurant and ask them if they’d be willing to donate some small “take out” containers that the kids can use and check with your local deli or ice cream shop to see if they’ll donate some small tester spoons.

3) Sugar or Toffee coated nuts and grapes. (Yes, there is some sugar involved here, but the proteins, vitamins, and Omega 3 in the nuts far outweighs the sugar).

4) Turkey and cheese rollups (these are essentially a piece of turkey from the deli rolled together with a small piece of mild cheese)

Keep in mind that these are snacks – not meals. They may not seem like a lot of food, but we’re talking about 5-8 year olds here that have small stomachs, right? Let’s keep it that way.

On another note, I mentioned above that some of the snack ideas I had came from when my older child attended a weight loss camp. If you have a child that struggles with weight issues, it is especially important that you do your part to make sure that “snack time” is a healthy time of the day. And, if you really need some help, know that there are a lot of excellent weight loss camps for kids out there.

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