“Help Yourself” Basket
I’m not a big fan of snacking but Ned is.
We needed a compromise.
I provide him with regular meals of breakfast, a fruit morning tea, lunch and dinner.
But in between, he can go to his ‘Help Yourself’ basket.
I keep a plastic basket at his eye level. Each night before I go to bed, and also when I return from food shopping, I add healthy snacks in here. He can choose whatever he likes from here to eat whenever he is hungry until an hour before dinner. Once it hits 4.30pm, there are no more snacks. It’s almost dinner time.
This has worked wonders. I make sure the basket is filled with a variety of things both sweet (such as fruit and yoghurt) and savoury (such as cheese, sandwiches, containers with deli meat like ham and salami and cherry tomatoes.) I also keep a filled water bottle in the door.
It stops the nagging, “Mum, I’m hungry” or “Mum, I need a drink” and teaches them a little bit about independence and helping themselves and healthy food choices too.
Of course, the “Help Yourself” basket should never replace the daily shared meals at the table such as breakfast or dinner (the conversation there is priceless!) but as a time-saving tool for busy parents, it is priceless.