by Katie Virk
Soon after announcing my pregnancy I received my first baby gift. I was so excited, would it be cute little booties, a fluffy blanket, an adorably soft onesie? Nope, it was snack pots. Bizarre and disappointing.
Fast forward to present day and I realise the true genius of the snack pot gift; snacks are the secret to parenting success. Hallelujah for bad day reviving, 5 minutes peace giving, tantrum averting glorious little pots of sanity.
1. Always pack snacks
Toddler hunger is proportional neither to the quantity nor the recency of the last meal. So even if your kid polished off an entire roast ox 2 minutes ago you’re still gonna want to pack snacks for that 5 minute walk to the library.
2. Snacks don't have to be on time
In terms of nutritional value there is nothing sacred about meal times. You want your child to eat three well balanced meals a day, they have other ideas. Luckily their intestines have no idea if those little cubes of cheese, peanut butter sandwiches or pieces of broccoli are arriving bang on 12 o’clock lunchtime or 2 hours later – it’s all good stuff, no matter what the clock says.
3. You don't need to pay extra
There’s nothing special about ‘toddler snacks,’ (the ones that come in small packets next to the baby food… The ones you have to remortgage your house to buy). They are just normal food in smaller packets with marketing on them to trick you into paying 4 or 5 times the price for the same thing.
4. Rethink what a snack looks like
Kids are not born with an innate knowledge of what our society considers ‘snack’ foods. If I give my 18 month old a pot of cold peas and tell him it’s a snack, he merrily tucks in believing this is an entirely normal snack. You make the rules.
5. Organic isn't always best
Organic does not automatically equal healthy. An organic gingerbread man in a friendly looking toddler packet has the same nutritional value as a regular ginger biscuit. (There are of course other environmental reasons to consider organic).
6. Don't mess with veg!
Vegetables are healthiest in their whole form, the more you modify them the more health benefits you lose. There is nothing healthy about veggie stick type crisps, their nutritional content is nigh on identical to ready salted crisps.
7. Be kind to yourself
You don’t have to be winning the snack game every day. Sometimes you just need a break and ready-made shop bought snacks are a godsend. Being a mum is hard and you don’t have to be a martyr at the alter of healthy eating. Be kind to yourself and other mums, we’re all doing our best and want the best for our kids.