Registered Dietitian Melanie Douglass explains what makes a great “summer snack box”.
The shocking truth is that anything put into a snack box in advance will be 100% better than grabbing a fast food meal, a thick shake, a smoothie, oversized bakery items, etc. A drive through snack or meal can have 2 – 4 times the calories, fat, sugar and sodium as simple snacks packed from home.
The average fast-food kids meal is 600 calories, 25 grams of fat, and 30 grams of sugar. A simple snack from a snack box is often 100 – 200 calories and 0 – 5 grams of fat.
The point is to have something on hand to tide over the family until you can get home for a decent meal.
Tips for creating the perfect snack box
Let the kids help shop for the snack foods
i. With a few guidelines in place of course! Take the kids to the store and tell them you are shopping for a car snack pack and that they can each pick out one food item to add to the pack.
Let the kids help pack the box
ii. When kids get to help they are more inclined to want to eat those foods… they’ll think the box is fun if they have a hand in it.
Keep it simple.
iii. Make a good snack box like once a month – it takes a little bit of time up front, but you’ll reap the benefits all month long!
iv. The foods can be super simple:
1. Granola bars
2. Dried fruit
3. Baked chips
4. Graham crackers
5. Seeds or nuts
6. Dry cereal
7. Popped popcorn
8. Beef jerky
Keep it in the car!
v. The snack box is even more fun if the foods inside are unique and special… i.e. not found in the house all the time. If the “special” granola bars are only in the car snack box, kids are more likely to eat it and enjoy it (that’s right, without complaining)
Use a lunch box for perishable foods and same day snacks
vi. Cold foods like string cheese, yogurt and fruit are more fun when toted around in a fun lunch box. Let the kids pack it and tote it – they’ll think it’s more fun and be more accepting of the healthy foods.
Melanie had more tips in her book, “Tip a Day Guide to Healthy Living” which can be found in bookstores throughout the state. You can find more on her website, www.tipadayguide.com.