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The Return to School Snack Battle

by Marlena from Wisconsin

Summers are such carefree times, where it’s hard to stick to a schedule when there’s all sorts of fun activities taking place: barbecues, family reunions, days at the beach, fairs… the list goes on.

And it’s hard to keep kids on a consistent eating schedule too (plus, I am not about to deny them some fair food). But returning to school can mean the return of routine as well, and getting back into making good choices and sticking with healthy habits. My personal battle with my two boys, ages 2 and 4, is all about snacks. They want to come home from school and eat a whole mess of… junk. As a working mom, it can be hard to keep up with all of the homemade options out there, so I do sacrifice some things for the sake of convenience, but I also try to find healthy options.

I will purchase the organic fruit pouches and have them available in a designated “snack space.” The kids know that they can grab anything from their snack bins, and then I can oversee what’s available to them as well. Fruit and nut mixes, granola bars, and individual snack packs of crackers are just some things they can eat while I get dinner together. I try to keep dinner as close to when we get home as possible as well, so there’s less of an availability for snacking. I meal prep as much as possible so it can be popped in the oven or heated quickly.

Fall is a great time for crock pot recipes, casseroles, and soups that can all be made ahead of time.

Another favorite part of fall is the return of football! My oldest has been exposed to many Packer parties and always asks when they are on. My go-to game day meals are more of a charcuterie style, which allows them to sample different types of snacks but not be committed to a whole meal of something if they do not like it. I prefer to arrange sliced meats, cheeses, and fruits on a tray and let them pick. WIC benefits help with fruits, veggies, and cheese to make it cost-effective as well. I personally like dried fruits, but will also cut up apples, grapes, celery, and carrots. I find that if you passively have the options available, your children are much more likely to at least try it as opposed to giving them ONLY that option. And if it’s available during a relaxed setting (unless your favorite team is losing), the kids are more likely to give it a go. Whatever is left over gets divided up for snacks and lunches throughout the week or can be used in recipes. Carrots and celery can get chopped up for soups!

One of my favorite summer snacks that transitions to fall is pinwheels. I take the whole wheat tortillas (WIC approved) and spread cream cheese on them. Then I layer sliced deli meat, sliced cheese (WIC approved), and finely chopped WIC veggies like spinach, carrots, and tomatoes and roll it all up. Slice them for fun, bite-sized snacks!

And now that my kids are becoming more and more communicative about their likes and dislikes, I prefer to give them options, within reason. I may ask them if they want spaghetti or Mac-n-cheese for dinner, so it feels like they have a say in what they’re eating. Don’t worry… the spaghetti sauce has zucchini, squash, mushrooms, and onions blended in, and I add cooked broccoli and cauliflower to the mac-n-cheese. Finding creative ways to get veggies to your kids is a nice “sneaky” tactic, but I do like to show them that they can also be fun to eat on their own. Even if they say they don’t like it one day, I won’t completely remove it from the house. We all have days where we don’t want to eat carrots and celery, but keeping it as an option shows that it doesn’t just “go away” if they say they don’t like something. I also freeze as much as I can… just about anything can get tossed into a soup!


This blog was written by one of our guest bloggers, Marlena.

About Marlena. . .

My name is Marlena and I am a mother of two boys, ages 2 and 4. Our house is a constant sea of monster trucks and construction toys, but I love watching the creativity that comes with them creating elaborate stories about their toys. My husband and I got married in January and bought our first house in February, so our summer was spent doing lots of landscaping and outdoor projects. Fall is my favorite time of year to get cozy with some game day food, doggie snuggles, and a good book.

Check out Marlena's other blog posts:


Want more snack and meal inspiration? Check out our lesson category titled Planning Simple Meals And Snacks for more great ideas at

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