When I wrote about packing as much nutrition into my kids’ foods [here!], I completely forgot to mention SNACKS.
Snacks are so, so important for kids. I read once that at least 25 percent of a child’s calories should come from snacks. I can’t find that statistic to verify it (so maybe it isn’t true?) but the point remains: kids need lots of snacks. (Which is something you already know if you’ve been around any kid for any amount of time.) [Here’s some good research and thoughts about kids and snacking.]
Because my kids have, ahem, selective palates, it’s important to make sure every bite counts — which means healthy snacks — and it’s hard to find pack-able snacks that aren’t just empty carbs or full of sugar.
Recently I discovered Gerber Lil’ Beanies, which are exactly the kind of snack I love to see my kid reaching for. The very first ingredient is navy beans, and they have 2 grams of protein, 1 gram of fiber, less than on gram of sugar per serving, and no GMOs or dyes.
Plus, they’re free of most allergens, so I can send them to preschool.
Ahem, speaking of preschool.
Since my big kids started school Thomas and I have new freedom to go wherever we want three days a week, and so far we’ve used that time to go Target almost every single school day. I promise, I had legit reasons. Once I had some returns. Once I got caught in a rain storm and needed new clothes for my freezing-cold and sopping-wet baby. And, ok, I’ll admit — once I went because I wanted to get an iced coffee make some impulse purchases.
Don’t tell the big kids. If they find out I’m taking secret trips to their favorite place, I’m ruined.
Thomas loves Target, too — big red balls out front, and great snacks inside. What’s not to love?
Since the big kids aren’t with us he doesn’t have to share. Win-win.
The first thing we do (after a portiat with the balls outside) is head to the snack aisle for Lil’ Beanies. There are two flavors — original and white-cheddar broccoli. We always get both because original is Thomas’s favorite and the white cheddar & broccoli is Mary Virginia’s favorite.
Lil’ beanies, also great for making towers.
This particular time we went to Target, Thomas had spent the morning strapped into the carseat and then the stroller. When I put him in the front of the cart he screamed, so I decided to let him sit in the big part. He was thrilled, and sat and enjoyed his little picnic for a while.
Of course, when I say “a while” I mean that about five minutes into our trip he started smashing his snack into the cart and trying to stand up, so I put him in the front of the cart.
When I pick up the big kids, I hide the Target bags. Because that is a tantrum that I do not have time for.
The big kids like Lil’ Beanies, too. They’re great for snacks, of course, but also a great addition to a healthy lunch.
You can get Lil’ Beanies at your local Target, I’m sure you’ve been meaning to swing by there anyway, right?
Psst — Have you heard of ibotta? You can use the ibotta app to earn cash back at stores you already shop at, like Target. Get the iBotta rebate for Lil’ Beanies ($0.75 rebate) through October 7.