Healthy snacks and happy kids. (Actually, happy everyone.)

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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When I pick up the big kids, I hide the Target bags. Because that is a tantrum that I do not have time for.

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The big kids like Lil’ Beanies, too. They’re great for snacks, of course, but also a great addition to a healthy lunch.

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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.


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