When I was pregnant with Demi, I read the book Bringing Up Bébé* (which I highly recommend!) and promptly decided that my child wouldn’t snack. We just wouldn’t do it! You can take a moment to laugh at me. (Really, I’m serious.) Then I actually had a child and my philosophy changed. Imagine that, right? *affiliate link
What I liked about the no-snacking rule is that it means kids show up to meals hungry and ready to eat! They’re eating proper meals because they aren’t snacking on crackers all day, every day. It was appealing to me. But not necessarily entirely realistic. I think if an entire culture doesn’t snack it might be plausible, but when my kid sees someone pull out a snack at the park, she’s ready for one too.
So, I’ve adjusted the French ideal to fit our American reality in a way that still promotes meal times over snacks, but leaves room for some snacking fun, too. Plain and simple, everyone is more receptive to foods when they are hungry.
During the week, when Demi’s at preschool, she eats an afternoon snack around 3pm (fruit, yogurt, cheese, hummus, crackers, granola bars, etc.), so I’ve made a conscious decision that she’s fine without any other snacks until dinner at 5:30-6pm. If she is hungry when we’re getting dinner ready, I offer vegetables.
(As with anything kid-related, there are exceptions to the rules, so sometimes she eats cheese and crackers, or chips.)
Here’s my philosophy. I break the snacks between lunch and dinner into two categories: afternoon snacks (see above) and pre-dinner snacks. Pre-dinner snacks are limited to vegetables (a trick I learned from Family Doctor Sarah Fox).
Because in the division of responsibility philosophy, I decide what, when, and where she eats. If it’s past afternoon snack and not quite dinner, the option is vegetables (you could also include fruits, though Demi eats fruit at breakfast, lunch, and often times snack, so I focus on veggies). Also, I’m certainly not always perfect on this, and plenty of days we have crackers, but I’ve found this black-and-white approach makes it a lot easier for me to not give into the snack requests.
The great thing about the veggies-only rule is that raw veggies are easy to prep ahead of time and an enticing dip makes them all the more fun to eat. So today I wanted to share our favorite veggie dip with you. It’s super easy to make and the base is greek yogurt, so you’re getting a little dose of protein along with your veggies.
As for the veggies, you can go as simple or as complicated as you want.
I wanted pretty vegetable pictures (vain, I know), so this isn’t necessarily what I would put out on a spread on a daily basis. Some days it’s baby carrots straight from the bag. Some days it’s a variety of vegetables, along with some root vegetable chips or crackers, and some nuts. Do what works for you in the moment! I don’t like baby carrots as much as whole ones, but the convenience factor can NOT be beat, so now they have a standard spot in our veggie drawer.
As always, I’d love to know your thoughts and feelings on this. If it would work for your family…or if you think I’m totally crazy!
- 1 cup plain greek yogurt (I use full fat)
- 2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 Tablespoon dried dill
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic or onion
- 1 teaspoon celery seeds
- salt to taste
- Stir together all ingredients.
- Chill for at least 30 minutes so that flavors meld.
I love hearing from you guys when you make recipes you’ve found here so let me know what you think, or tag me on social media (@anutritionisteats or #anutritionisteats) so I can see your creations!