This post is sponsored by Sunsweet. Thank you, Sunsweet!
My kids watch everything. In this case, I’m not talking about TV or screens, but the world around them. They miss nothing, and they remember evvvverything. For me, this is one of the hardest things about being a parent. I knew that I’d have to teach my children and mold them and all that parent stuff, but they pay attention to every tiny thing I do, even when I think they aren’t. “Hey Mom, you said a bad word!” “Hey Mom, how come you’re wearing the same shirt you wore yesterday?” STOP WATCHING ME, YOU MONKEYS!
One thing I’ve been really trying to working on lately is modeling good snacking habits. We have nice square meals here, but snacking is where we have a tendency to go off the rails. Especially me…I can easily put away an entire bag of pretzels, or a box of girl scout cookies. It’s not that I don’t want to snack healthy, it’s just that pretzels and cookies are so simple. I don’t have to prepare them, they just sit in my cabinet, taunting me. “Eat us! Eat us! Eat us at the same time and satisfy your salty and sweet cravings!” My food is really good at peer pressure.
Anyway, of course my kids always catch me stuffing my face with junk, which makes it a lot harder to insist on them eating an apple or yogurt when they want something between meals. “Mo-om, how come you’re eating cookies but we have to eat yogurt?!” Telling them, “because I’m a grown up and I do what I want,” doesn’t exactly go over well. And then there’s that whole “modeling good behavior” thing. If I want them to eat well, I have to eat well, too.
For me, this meant doing something that I’m still not very good at — preparing food in advance. It makes eating healthy more convenient, but yet I still struggle with it. Advance planning is not my specialty! I started small at first…and I kind of cheated. I stocked up on the new Sunsweet Fruit Packs (only 60 calories!) and reached for one of those whenever I had the urge for something sweet. Plus, bonus, they’re nutritious, a good source of fiber, and they help strengthen my old lady bones! But I’m one of those people who really likes crunchy, salty snacks, too, and prunes are definitely neither of those things.
One afternoon when I was positively desperate for something crunchy, I dug through my cabinets to see what we had. Inspiration struck when I came across some granola — I could make my own trail mix! I put a few things, like pretzels, Sunsweet diced prunes, and granola into a little bowl and nibbled out of it all day while I worked. It satisfied my salty/sweet/crunchy cravings perfectly.
Unsurprisingly, my kids were like, “What’s that? What are you eating? Can we have some?” and before I knew it, my yummy trail mix was gone. Seriously, the best way to get children to try something is to put it on your own plate. Even James, who is going through a picky phase, loved it. A miracle to be sure.
Now, I make trail mix in huge batches at the beginning of the week, and when the kids are hungry they just scoop a cupful into a bowl.
Our current favorite trail mix has rice chex, pretzel sticks, Sunsweet diced prunes, granola clusters, and chocolate-covered sunflower seeds. It’s so yummy and it travels well — Annie even asked to bring a bag along on our flight to Orlando! I’m not gonna lie, I was proud that she asked for trail mix instead of candy. She’s making good food choices! I did that!
I (try) to eat right because I have two young kids who watch and copy everything I do. Well, almost everything. I’m still waiting for them to start cleaning along with me without being asked!