Fruit, Veggie, Cheese or Yogurt: Smart Snacks Make a Difference

Geek Culture

“Fruit, veggies, cheese, or yogurt.” That’s our stock phrase (nearly) each night when the kids ask for a snack between dinner and bedtime. They’ve gotten to the point that as soon as they ask, they repeat the familiar phrase. Here’s why…

Photo by Russ NeumeierPhoto by Russ Neumeier

Photo by Russ Neumeier

A couple years ago we found that our kids would pick at the food we gave them for dinner and then fill their bellies on junk food… sometimes only 10-15 minutes after dinner.

We love our kids. We let them have pretty much what they want for breakfast each morning (cereal, oatmeal, bagels, cinnamon toast…). I pack their lunches for their day at school (with 1-2 times per week where they choose the hot lunch provided by the school – but I ask, what part, exactly, of the chicken does a chicken-ring-thing come from?). Most of the time they take a sack lunch – a sandwich, a fruit, a veggie, and something fun like chips, cookies, or cupcakes.

Once home from school, they get to choose their snack — Pringles, Cheetos, chips, snack crackers, ice cream, etc.

At dinner, we try to have healthy meals most nights – although with a bunch of kids going bunches of directions any given night we do opt for the occasional fast-food run or frozen pizza.

But after dinner, it’s pretty consistent — fruit, veggie, cheese, yogurt. The kids will ask for popcorn (that’s a grain). The kids will ask for mac-n-cheese (that’s pasta, also made from grain and covered in a cheese food product). They’ll try to ask for cheese-flavored chips (a bit more difficult except the veggie has been deep fried and covered in artificial flavorings and colorings first…)

Before you label me a curmudgeon, hear me out (and re-read the past several paragraphs)

  • Our kids get a pretty good choice when it comes to their snacks.
  • And when I make their sandwiches for lunch they have a choice (often 2 or 3).
  • And when they get a veggie in their lunch they get a choice (often 3 or 4).
  • And when they get a fruit in their lunch they get a choice (often 1 or 2).

And at night they get a choice — fruit, veggie, cheese, or yogurt.

Why? We want them exposed to lots of fruits and veggies before they leave our house. No, we can’t make them eat what we send in their lunches, and we know they’ll do their own thing off at college and beyond – and then likely return to what they know:

Fruit, veggie, cheese or yogurt.

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