This is a sponsored post, brought to you by Australian Bananas.
School Holiday Snacking
If the school year has not finished for your family already, the end is only days away and for parents this means many, many hours of time that need to be filled to keep children busy over the next 6 – 8 weeks. At this time of year there is always plenty of food around and one of the issues with this is that boredom, spending more time at home and extra screen time can result in plenty of extra eating. While snacking is an important way busy growing children get all the calories and nutrients they require for optimal growth and development, it is possible to snack too often, especially when there are plenty of treat style foods lying around. So here are some easy ways to tackle school holiday snacking the right way these holidays -
1. Have set meal times
Children, especially primary school aged children respond well to rules and routines. For this reason, maintaining meal time structure even during the holiday period will help to naturally control food intake and limit snacking. This means breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. Planning snacks in advance and even getting kids involved in preparing them, is a great activity to keep kids occupied. Some child friendly snacks that kids can get involved in preparing include banana bread or muffins, banana pops and banana bites (see recipes below).
2. Factor in treats
Throughout the holiday period, there are mountains of treats waiting to be consumed – the chocolates, lollies, stockings and leftovers that are exceptionally tempting especially for little people. In order to avoid a complete sugar overload, a fun way to manage your child’s treats this festive period is to factor in a one treat per day rule. Here children have control over what they are consuming, but parents remain in control of the volumes.
3. Not in front of a screen
Eating meals and snacks in front of a screen is a recipe for disaster when it comes to mindless munching, which can lead to overeating long term. For this reason even though it is a holiday time, always encourage children to stop what they are doing to sit and enjoy their meals and snacks at a table without distraction. This makes each eating time an occasion, distinguishing it from other activities and is an opportunity for conversation and fun at the table.
4. Always carry a healthy snack with you
When you are out and about, things can go off track nutritionally when you find yourself with hungry kids and no options other than processed snack foods for them to munch on. If you make a concerted effort to always leave the house with a healthy snack on hand – a banana, protein-based snack bar or some cut up vegetables, it will be much easier to keep your family’s healthy eating on track.
5. Make food fun
Enjoying good quality food with friends and family is one of life’s most simple pleasures. Often busy lives mean that meal times become a constant battle. When we keep in mind that sitting down to enjoy a meal or snack together should be a fun and pleasurable time, it takes away some of the stress associated with eating. Get kids involved in making their food, plan fun meals in advance and take time out each day to enjoy one another’s company. This ways kids learn that there are certain types of foods we eat at certain times, and have the opportunity to learn good eating habits from their parents in a relaxed environment.
2 large bananas, mashed
1 cup rolled oats, raw
1 cup pitted dates, chopped
1 cup coconut, shredded (for rolling)
1. Combine the mashed banana with the oats and dates in a blender for 1 minute.
2. Place the mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes, or until firm.
3. Roll the mixture into small-sized balls in your hands.
4. Coat the balls in shredded coconut and store in the fridge.
2 x 170g tubs of Chobani Greek or Coconut Yoghurt
24 dark chocolate bits
6 small bananas cut in halves
1. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
2. Dip each banana in yoghurt and add 2 eyes using dark chocolate bits.
3. Place in the freezer to set for around 1 hour.
2 cups self-raising flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2/3 cup caster sugar or low sugar alternative such as Baking Blend
1 cup low fat milk
1 tablespoon light olive oil
2 bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon pure vanilla essence
1. Mix flour, bicarbonate of soda, sugar in a bowl with mashed banana, vanilla, eggs, milk and oil.
2. Spoon into loaf tin and bake at 180°C for ~50-60 minutes until cooked through.
Susie is currently a brand ambassador for Australian Bananas. To learn more about the partnership, click here.