What could possibly grind your gears more than chaperoning picky eaters while running errands on a tight schedule?
If you’re a busy parent, a babysitter, or a family member that periodically chips in when called upon, then you’ve experienced this recipe for disaster firsthand.
That’s why we’re here to make a stand against the tyranny of the on-the-go picky eater by providing you with a pantry’s worth of edible ammunition.
Here are 8 snack-strategies that will prove irresistible even to the most particular of palates.
1. Find the Secret Sauce
This is more of a rule of thumb than a recipe, but it’s essential nonetheless. Even the most difficult eaters fancy at least one sauce, all you need to do is find out what that sauce is and have some on hand at all times.
And, if they dig the sauce, they’ll most likely dig into (with a pick-ease perhaps?) whatever’s drenched in the sauce. Assorted vegetables like carrots, cherry tomatoes, and broccoli florets are perfect sauce scoopers that will have your picky eater feasting in no time at all. But most importantly, this strategy is ideal for when you’re on the move and need to provide nutritious sustenance to your picky eater(s).
2. Peanut Butter and… Celery?
This winning combination provides your little loved ones with fiber, protein, and enough calories (a medium-sized stalk with 1-3 scoops of smooth peanut butter) to keep tummies full until meal time.
If you pride yourself on staying prepared in times of potential snack-time crisis, keep a designated jar of peanut butter in your vehicle. Pack separate snack baggies or small to medium sized tupperware containers with celery in your fridge so you can grab one when you’re in a hurry. Celery and peanut butter is staple of healthy snack-foods for good reason. It’s convenient, fits into a plethora of scenarios, and is affordable.
And if you need/want a healthy substitute for peanut butter, hummus is your best bet. It comes in a multitude of flavors and contains much less sugar and fat.
3. Fruit Chips – The Best of Both Worlds
Kids become savvy when it comes to swapping healthy snacks for ones that are salt-laden and fat-infused. The fact of the matter is that picky eaters will opt-in for the snack that tastes the best, which oftentimes happens to be one that’s detrimental to their health. The best way to circumvent this issue is to create healthy snacks that taste just as good as their evil-twins.
A prime example of this healthy switcheroo is apple chips. Their as easy to make as they are to say. Simple extract the cores of a few apples, slice them thin, coat with them with cinnamon (or jell-o powder if you’re feeling creative) and bake them at 200 degrees for four to seven hours.
4. Trail Mix is the Snack of Champions
If you’re looking for a more wholesome and hearty snack, trail-mix is your best bet. Trail-mix works well in time-crunches and in busy lifestyles because it can be portioned out and kept fresh in the freezer. It also happens to be the most flexible snack option because you can bring your picky eater into the decision making process. Present them with 10 possible trail mix ingredients and let them chew on each one until they reach hard and fast decisions about what they like and dislike. Once you’ve discovered the golden ratio of ingredients, bulk-buy them and ration out trail-mix bags for the foreseeable future. (Bonus: If you have extra apple chips, throw some in your trail-mix for good measure!)
5. Gamify Snack TimeIf your picky eaters give you a hard-time about snack-time, it’s time you reframed it to look more appealing to them. You can easily transform snack-time into a game that both delights your kids while feeding them.
If your snack of the day happens to be fruit salad, turn it into a competition to see who can make the most beautiful fruit kabobs using toothpicks.
If you packed some delicious and nutritious trail-mix, ask your kiddos to think about their favorite animal and then pretend to be that animal it enjoys its midday meal.
The second you activate a child’s imagination and aim it at the task at hand, snack-time quickly morphs into an enjoyable activity for them to engage in rather than a chore to be carried out.
6. Give Your Snacks Custom Names
This strategy is similar to the gamification route we explored above. Change the perception of something in order to change the thing being perceived. While this strategy requires you to dip your snacks into a bowl of imagination, the results may just surprise you.
This strategy is already being used by snack-venders to entice big appetites. Pirates Booty, Gushers, and Animal Crackers immediately come to mind. The names add an extra element of story or intrigue to each snack, allowing the imaginations of consumers to color in the lines.
7. Roll-Ups > Sandwiches
If you’re stuck in the vicious cycle of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and don’t know how to stop the spiral, roll-ups will quickly become your favorite snack option. Roll-ups are easy to make, can be easily made into bite-sized morsels, and don’t require you to cut off the crust!
Simply select a type of tortilla, lay down your condiments of choice followed by some cheese, meat, veggies strips, etc, and voila, you’ve created a snacker’s dream!
8. Frozen Grapes – The Show Stopper
This is a recent, and monumental, discovery. It’s so plain, so obvious, and so incredibly effective. Store your grapes in your freezer and, once thoroughly frozen, spear a few of them onto kabob sticks and call them home-made grape popsicles!
Your kids will promptly forget that they’re merely munching on frozen grapes on a stick and be forever grateful that you allowed them to eat (drumroll please) dessert before dinner! You can extend this strategy to include all of the fruit-groups to create vibrant, techni-colored frozen-fruit kabobs.
Now that you’re armed with these strategies, nothing can stop you quelling the appetites and preferences of your picky eaters!
Do you have something else in mind? Maybe a strategy or recipe that’s been a staple in your personal repertoire? We want to hear from you! Please share your brilliance below.