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Introducing a Snack Station

You probably already know that snacks are important part of a healthy diet as eating every 2-3 hours helps keep your blood sugar levels from going on a roller coaster ride, keeps you feeling full & satisfied and provides a steady stream of vital nutrients to your body.

This is particularly the case for children, which is one of the reasons a snack station is such a great idea.

A snack station is an area that is set up so that your children can prepare and eat snacks independently. It is a fantastic way to foster independence and encourage eating healthy snacks.

The great thing about the snack station is not only does it help your child eat healthily but they also learn how to handle food, about portion sizes, how to spread and cut, how to set the table and clear up afterwards and how to pour drinks and wipe up spills. It also frees up your time too because they no longer need waiting on hand and foot!

You can still maintain control over the amount your children eat buy rationing the snack portions and if you are worried about them eating too close to meal time you can close the snack station 30 minutes or an hour beforehand.

The snack station should have everything your child needs to prepare and present their snack. Chopping board, plate or bowl, utensils, cup, napkin, cloth for spills etc. It should be situated in or near the kitchen and at a height where the child can reach everything themselves. Some snack items are best kept in the fridge, in that case you can draw or write a small menu for your child to choose from. Then you just take out what they need when they need it.

Some children will raid the snack station as soon as it is ‘open’. If you think your child is likely to do that then explain that this is all the food that is available and if they get hungry later it is too bad. A couple of hours later if they complain of being hungry explain the situation again and offer them a drink but don’t refill the snack station.

It might take them a few attempts but eventually they will start to regulate themselves. As they get older you can place more trust with them and stop rationing the snack portions allowing them to choose the portion size and the snacks themselves.

Toddlers will enjoy the challenge of peeling a banana and slicing it themselves, peeling satsuma or boiled eggs will also help your child’s fine motor skills. As they get bigger they can try spreading or threading food onto a skewer, all this will lead onto skills they can later use in the kitchen. You can get creative with your snacks to match a theme that you are studying, all yellow food, a snack from a specific country or a snack involving counting maybe!

Healthy Snack Ideas

  • Crunchy and Creamy – Apple wedges or celery sticks with raw nut or seed butter (tahini, almond, sunflower, etc…)
  • Crudités – Crunchy veggie sticks (like cucumber, celery, pepper, carrot, etc) in plastic bags to be combined with hummus
  • Trail Mix – mix together raw nuts, and dried cranberries or raisons (over 3s)
  • Fruit and Nut – Seasonal fruit with sliced almonds on top
  • Olives – a handful of pitted olives (any kind)
  • Rice crackers –top with almond butter and strawberries
  • Hardboiled eggs – boil them ahead of time, they can keep in the fridge for up to a week (peeling is good for their finger skills too).
  • Dried fruit – apricots, figs, prunes etc
  • Cut up fresh fruit – apples, strawberries, grapes, whatever is in season, chop it up and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days

Why not set up your own snack station and let us know in the comment section what your child’s favourite self prepared snack is.

Jo Ebisujima is a Brit living in Japan. She loves creating for children and helping parents to organize themselves and their children so that they can spend more quality time together. She writes about her work at My Organized Chaos. She can also be found at her personal blog jojoebi designs where she shares about her everyday life, Montessori, crafting, and raising a bilingual child in Japan.




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