Your kid loves Cheez-its. Goldfish crackers. Cheetos. What are you supposed to do? Deprive them entirely? Or, is there a way to offer healthier snack cracker alternatives (and yet equivalents!) instead?
LOVE IT FOODS: Annie's cheese squares crackers, Babybel cheese
LIKE IT FOODS: strawberries, waffle squares (without syrup)
LEARNING IT: peas, half of banana
Offer Healthier Snack Cracker Alternatives
Our next door neighbors are the sweetest, most loving "adopted grandparents" that we could ask for, especially since our girls don't have any grandparents in town. They invite our oldest daughter over to give their dog a treat and then of course, they offer Claire a treat too. Claire's most favorite choice at their house are Cheez-Its. She is a sucker for buttery, flaky, cheesy crackers. Who can blame her? They taste delicious.
As the nutritional gatekeeper for our family, I know I have to pick food options beyond just the basis of how good they taste. That's the difference between being a grandparent and a parent; am I right?
We don't get away with offering seemingly innocent snack options everyday. Instead of them being occasional treats to enjoy when Grandma and Grandpas, unhealthy snack options in our homes can create a craving that you can't close the pantry door on.
That's why I try to be a bit more particular about what processed food options we have available to offer. I know the items my daughter loves to eat next door. I also know I have to be a bit more intentional about having healthier alternatives in our own home because I don't want her eating Cheez-Its everyday. Even being a real-food advocate for most meals and snacks, I understand the reality that kids are going to crave snack crackers anyways and instead of the real foods we put before them. That's why our job isn't to make these foods so off limits that they become the forbidden fruit. Instead, we need to teach kids what it means to find healthier alternatives and how to snack responsibility. We aren't justifying a halo effect on processed foods, nor pretending they're as healthy as real foods that are closer to their natural states. Instead, it is about more creating a more conscious shopper in us and more mindful snackers in our kids.
When purchasing snack foods, consider these healthier snack cracker alternatives:
Buy Annie's Homegrown Cheese Squares in place of Cheez-it crackers
Buy Annie's Homegrown Whole Wheat Cheese Bunnies in place of traditional Goldfish
Buy Beanitos White Bean Mac n Cheese Crunch in place of Cheetos