The Snack Zone
There was always one sure-fire way to drive my mom crazy. It made her nuts when one of her children, most likely it was me, would stand in front of the open refrigerator and stare blankly at all the food. "Just hurry and pick something!" she would say. That was always followed by the comment, "But there's nothing to eat." Even though there was plenty of food.
Does this scenario sound familiar? Now that I have children of my own I can see why this drove my mom batty. If you are suffering from the same problem at your house, a simple remedy is establishing a "Snack Zone." When hungry kids burst into the kitchen, they don't want to take the time to melon ball a cantaloupe. They want to grab something easy and available. And if there isn't anything easily available you hear the comment, "But there's nothing to eat." (Why do I suddenly feel like I am writing about my husband?)
It's a good idea to have a few things prepared in advance, whether you do it, the kids do it, or you all do it together. Designate one shelf of the refrigerator and/or pantry as the "snack shelf," with the understanding that anything that's on that shelf is okay to eat without having to ask permission first. Then stock the shelf with several choices so the children won't complain about the snacks being "boring" and you won't need to worry about them overloading on junk. Make sure to include variety on the snack shelf -- at least one thing from each food group.
As soon as my first daughter was able to walk, I established a cupboard in the kitchen as being hers. This was her Snack Zone. She soon figured out that whenever she needed a snack, she was free to choose one from her cupboard. I filled it with boxed raisins, whole grain crackers, dried fruits, and applesauce cups. I would even occasionally slip a small bag of M&M's in. Not only did this Snack Zone turn into a great hiding place for her toys, but it also helped her feel independent.
* DVO welcomes your kitchen hints and cooking or nutrition questions! Email us and we'll post your hints and Q/A's in upcoming newsletters! *