Snack Hacks to Prevent Kids From Plowing Through Food (& Get Them Moving)

The only word that’s spoken in our house more than “corona” lately is the word “snack”. I’ve got 4 teens at home and no matter how clever I get with the hiding places; they find anything that can be construed in any way as a snack. This in addition to three square meals they get (albeit at odd hours given our lack of concept of time these days.)

So.

We are cooped up.

We are antsy.

We are on top of each other.

And we are stress eating. The kids can’t see their friends. Their worlds have been upended. They are still getting the hang of ‘distant learning” (which as far as I’m concerned, can take a flying leap. The world is on fire, I just want to know that they feel safe at home and optimistic about the future, not whether they can calculate the angle of a pizza wedge) and time as we knew it has ceased to exist. This makes them (and me) want to eat sugary, fatty, comforting snacks.

But we all want to be able to fit out of our front door when this mayhem is all over, so I had to get creative in order to keep the consumption at bay. My solution? Tie snacking to physically exerting activities. Make them move for it. Move for food!

Some of my friends have suggested using treats to motivate their kids to help with chores, to read and to do some basic math. (If there are 6 cookies and mom stress eats one every 10 minutes, how many will be left for the kids after one hour?) These are wonderful suggestions and I’ll be implementing them for sure, but I’ve got to get my teens off the Xbox and moving. So, without further ado, I present to you my physical fitness snack hacks:

Snack football: You’ve heard of flag football. Well, this is similar. Attach a lightweight snack to the end of a crepe paper streamer and tuck into the waistband of your leggings. Place 6-8 such streamers around your waist and start running. The kids will move like never before. You want some potato chips? You’re going to have to tear them off of my lightning fast body!

Climbing for snacks: Place the object of their desire at the top of the highest staircase in your house and tell the kids to take their marks. In the mood for Oreos? Ok, you can have some, after you race each other up and down 5 flights of stairs. 4 times. If you live in a single-story residence you can make this into either a relay race or a race where they have to run between two designated items (e.g.: fridge and couch) as many times as you say before they can earn the snack. First to finish gets first dibs.

Treasure hunts: Have a hankering for some candy? Ok, let’s have a Skittles treasure hunt around the backyard or the house if the weather isn’t cooperating. Use your brains AND your body to find the pre-portioned candy cups. (You didn’t think I was going to give you a whole bag, did you?) Make sure you keep a list of where you hid the candies so that all are found, lest you find an anthill somewhere in your backyard in the spring.

Frankly, we all get some movement in this way so it’s a win win!

Posted by The Mom Who Knew Too Much on Sunday, March 29, 2020

These ideas get kids engaged physically as well as mentally and teach them that the best things in life are worth hustling for. Look, we are in this for the foreseeable future and so I might as well find ways to entertain myself while also making them work for what they want. I’m sure these skills will serve them better in the new world that awaits them than all of those online math lessons ever will.

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