Married 17 years to my accountant, keyboard playing husband. Mother to one clever 13 year old boy and two brilliant girls age 10 and 6. My third appendage is my laptop as I manage and edit my online lifestyle magazine for Southern Utah and my food blog -- Pantry Eats. I love to write about parenting, food, exploring and home and garden. I am also a gardener, a semi-decent cook (I learned to cook so late in life) a voracious reader and, like all moms, an accomplished chauffeur.

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The Summer Snacking Dilemma & Some Rules

I am slightly freaking out at what I refer to as the snacking dilemma. Summer is here and I have found myself stocking up on junk food out of pure panic. I admit it! I am not proud of it. But let’s get real. When you have a teenage boy in your house (and all his friends) you are not going to be making a healthy awesome snack and lunch everyday for those boys. And they have a way of eating. Plus, I work part time from home and keeping the house clean, 3 kids occupied (and not just in front of the TV or video games) all summer takes every ounce of my time. I do not have time to pretend like I can spend hours in the kitchen stocking it with homemade granola bars or pre-cut celery.

I also have two daughters and guess what? Their friends are going to be here all summer too. But I do have to set some boundaries, because I do not have a limitless budget and I do not think kids should graze on food from sun up to sun down. And so while I admit to buying things like crackers and popcorn chicken nuggets and frozen pizzas and Hot Pockets and lots and lots of those nasty frozen popsicle bag things . . .  aah the list goes on, I also make some rules. Or at least I am trying. But I admit I could use some advice. Just don’t tell me to make a snack shaped like a snail or a flower or something cutesy. I am way past that stage in my life. My kids have to fend for themselves for lunches and snacks. And honestly there comes a point when you can’t control what your kids eat all the time. I pretend like I don’t know what my son eats everyday for lunch during the school year. But I have a pretty good idea and it is horrifying. I mean sometimes he eats 3 corn dogs at home. I have to remind him to add some fruit or veggies to the plate. I am sure he ignores me when I walk out of the room.

But here is my game plan for snacking and eating rules in the summer as the Mom to kids ages 8, 11 and 15.

There will be meal times. 42-15533748

Breakfast needs to be eaten before 9:30 a.m. (not at noon, even if that is when you roll out of bed teenage boy).

There is no afternoon snack after 4:30 or you skip dinner. I don’t cook for people that decided to make themselves a snack/supper at 5 p.m. because they were hungry. That is rude and disrespectful to me when I make a good meal for dinner.

There is only one afternoon snack. We do not eat nonstop from 1 to 4:30.

You can have a small healthy snack in the morning if it is fruit or veggies or cheese or something. We are not doing cookies and candy at 10 a.m.

Each kid must have an activity each week that involves fitness — dancing, tennis, walking, soccer.

Time must be spent outside each day moving.

I will keep things like mini carrots, blackberries, cheese, apples in the fridge at all times.

Kids will help cook dinner once a week so they learn how to prepare more than frozen pizzas, popcorn chicken and boxed mac and cheese.

Kids MUST CLEAN UP their own messes or I will throw away all the junk food.

What are your summer food rules?

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Comments (3)

  1. Amanda 05/27/2013 at 1:14 pm

    I like your rules. I think I’ll print them and hang them in the kitchen. I particularly like the consequences for snacking after 4:30.

  2. Julie 06/03/2013 at 7:56 am

    Hi Rachelle, I love all your ideas! One thing I do is wash all my fruits and veggies when I get home from the grocery store. Then I store them in open containers or easy access containers so they are easy to grab. I have found if it’s complicated no one will eat it.

    • Rachelle Hughes 06/03/2013 at 12:16 pm

      Thanks Julie. That is a great idea. I do that with strawberries and they are gone in moments. I love how healthy strawberries are too.