Why Snack B is better than Snack A (for more reasons than you think!)
You might be thinking Snack A and Snack B are basically the same: Breadsticks and Dairylea. Throw in an apple from the fruit bowl with the Dunkers and there’d be no difference! True – but there are lots more reasons why it’s better to give your child Snack B than Snack A!
Reason #1 : It’s not in a packet!
The more you give your child a snack in a packet (crisps, fruit Yoyo, cereal bar…), the more they come to believe: FOOD THAT TASTES THE BEST = FOOD THAT’S IN A PACKET! They hear that crackle of the packet and their ears prick up – in anticipation of the ‘hit’ of saltiness or sweetness on the tongue that these snacks so often deliver! This really does make it harder to get your child to eat ‘real’ food. I know it’s more of a faff to give them Snack B than Snack A – and a snack in a packet once in a while is fine – but the rest of the time it’s totally worth the preparation of serving a snack on a plate (or in a tub if you’re going out and about). Instead of buying Dunkers, for example, buy a tub of Dairylea spread and a box of breadsticks and use them up bit by bit.
Reason #2 : Then there’s the apple
The apple slices are obviously a healthy addition to the breadsticks and Dairylea. But what if you have a child who won’t eat apple – what would be the point of putting that on the plate too? Remember, regular ‘exposure’ to a food – having it on their plate – is the first vital step. It makes a child familiar and comfortable with a food and gradually receptive to the idea of eating it. (It only need be tiny amounts at first to avoid wastage.) The first time, your child might complain and take the apple slices off the plate, the next time leave them on the plate but ignore them, another time play with them (Dip one in the Dairylea? Poke a breadstick through the middle of one…?) … and then finally take a lick or a nibble (as long as there’s never any pressure or encouragement to do so from you!) until they are eventually eating the apple of their own accord.
Reason #3 : You can tinker with it!
Rather than giving them the same ‘ready-made’ snacks out of packets over and over again, you can tinker and vary the snack you serve as much as you like – widening your child’s exposure to lots of different foods. Instead of apple, serve raspberries or slices of cucumber? Instead of breadsticks, serve Twiglets or rice cakes? Instead of Dairylea, serve Philadelphia or cubes of Cheddar? It can be an ever-changing smorgasbord of two or three things: One or two of their ‘reliable’ foods so there is always enough there for them to eat – plus one ‘wild card’!
Reason #4 : You can control the portion!
A whole packet of crisps or Snack a Jacks, for example, is actually quite a lot to give a two or three year old in one go. After all, they’re ‘empty’ calories with very little nutrition. Why let the manufacturer decide how much your child gets? Take a handful out of the packet (saving the rest for another day) and serve them on a plate with a rolled-up slice of ham and a cherry tomato for instance.
Reason #5 : It’s good presentation!
Making the effort to arrange the snack on a plate with a blob of Dairylea in a little dish and an apple cut into in slices makes the snack more of a ‘thing’. It gently conveys to your child a feeling of care, nurture, interest and respect around food and eating that is missing from the packet snack grabbed from the cupboard!
Do you have a child who wants to graze on snacks all day rather than eat at mealtimes? Read this to find out what to do!