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It didn't take me long to get back to my favorite subject...SNACKS!!!

Snacks are a CRITICAL part of our kiddos' days and usually commence the moment that bell rings, they get into your car, or step off that bus. So what can we feed them so they can ingest a few solid nutrients, make it through after-school care or practice, or just make it to dinner without a meltdown or hanger attack?!

Again, let me paint a realistic picture here at our abode...we snack on PLENTY of goldfish, cheez-its, and other not as nutrient-dense foods. So we are not looking down on you from our vegetable, fruit, and protein-only tower! :-) Those snacks can be great and 100% incorporated into a balanced diet. Our goal is to have them as the sideshow and not on the main stage at all times.

Most of us and our kids are BUSY and snacks need to be convenient and quick. just did a very thorough post on how to choose snack/protein bars for your kiddos. She highlights the top ingredients (and amounts) to look for-- protein, sugar content, and fiber, and the WHYs. Check out her post and follow her for some excellent tips and tricks on feeding a healthy family!

If you have time to prep, homemade smoothies can be a crowd pleaser! A general template could look something like this...

Other great on-the-go snacks could include...

Head out this weekend and stock those pantries, freezers, purses, backpacks, car consoles, and any other place you can stash a snack!

Perfect timing for this post as August is Kids Eat Right Month!

Packing lunch is not for the faint of heart....esp if you have multiple kiddos, dietary restrictions, etc. BUT, it is an excellent way to set your student up to have a great afternoon filled with stable energy. AND, packing does NOT have to be an elaborate chore!

Below are a few quick and easy lunches that are jammed with flavor-filled foods that can supply growing bodies and brains with the nutrients they need.

Also, a few things to note...

These are STAGED and Camera-ready. Remember--Instagram is a highlight reel. Usually, they are thrown into the LunchBots, not sliced, fluffed, or fanned! :-) That being said, sometimes presentations can help kiddos try new things and eat their fruit and veg. So, play around with it and see what happens! These LunchBot lunch containers are pricey but have lasted for YEARS and are well worth the cost if you are avid lunch packers!

My kids are big kids and may eat and need more or less than your kiddos. Please use this post for WHAT foods to offer and not how much to offer.

Also, these examples have tons of fruit and veg - maybe more than you have offered before. That's okay!! Start small! When you are introducing new foods...offer a very little amount--a bite to a few bites--so it's not overwhelming or intimidating! :-)

Lastly, remember a few posts back, when we talked about meeting yourself where you are at?! That rule applies HERE! Maybe you need to offer small amounts of new foods. Maybe packing lunch once a week is where you start. Maybe you introduce some of the new foods at dinner and see how they go over in that setting first. Maybe you have your older kiddos help pack lunches so you can just handle the littles. Start at a realistic spot and do what you can!

We are here to cheer you on and hold your hand if you need us! Let us know how we can help!

Have you been chipping away at a new behavior this Summer? Maybe if you remember a few posts back, we talked about one of our favorite behavior change theories called the Stages of Change. And one thing we mentioned is that you can move forward and backward in these stages!

Things that can make us regress or relapse to a previous stage are usually called triggers, but we want to take this in a positive direction and view them as opportunities. So....why are we bringing this up right before we begin school again?! That is because transitions can be common triggers. And, if we recognize this in advance we may be able to prevent it from happening. ALTHOUGH, I would like to be clear and restate that regression is VERY NORMAL and can be a very valuable opportunity for us to take a step back, reevaluate our motivation for change, identify barriers that we need to overcome (triggers) and develop a new plan of action to get us to the finish line.

For today's purposes, we are going to focus on ways to try and prevent this regression by taking a figurative step back. These new routines we are about to embark on can rattle us a bit (maybe in a good way). Sure, we do them every year. But each year is different and if you're in the middle of trying to change a behavior, any change in your current routine could become a barrier. So what are some steps we can take in this relapse prevention plan?! Essentially, we are doing the same things we would if we had regressed...but we are practicing in a proactive manner, not in a reactive manner.

1. Reflection - Take some time BEFORE these new routines begin and reflect on what has really worked over these last weeks or months and how did you make it work? Check in and see how changing this behavior has added to your life and the benefits you have felt because of the change.

2. Reassess and Reformulate - Reassess all triggers/barriers that you have encountered and generate new ways to address them (in case they come up again) AND assess how you will handle potential new barriers.

3. Reaffirm - Is your motivation for change the same? If not, what is it now and why? If it is the same, is it as strong as it was in the beginning? If not, how can you strengthen it?

As we head into this last week (or last few weeks) of Summer, let's all take some time to preserve all of the hard work we have been putting into changing our health behaviors for the better! Let's try to incorporate these new behaviors into these new routines!

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