Convincing a preschool teacher to let me be the snack coordinator, with the goal to eliminate processed foods, artificial colors, and artificial preservatives was an easy sale. Ms. Susan was well-versed in artificial colors and preservatives increasing hyperactivity/ADHD behaviours. The grain-elimination, however, was a new, maybe extreme idea for her:
“Can’t you just give me the name of a cracker or bread we can use with a spread?”
“Well… just think about it…the kids get toast, cereal, or a donut for breakfast; a sandwich on bread for lunch with pretzels; and something like macaroni, spaghetti, rice, or corn for dinner. For a snack, they get a granola bar or a cracker. They get enough grains at home! They don’t need more at school! Let me take care of the snacks so you don’t have to think about it. I’ll tailor it to our classroom needs.”
And it was done: from MD to SN (snack cooridinator).
My official duties:
- Make up a monthly snack calendar to send out to parents so they can see what their kids will be eating and can trace reactions if need be.
- Make up an assignment list of items for parents to bring in and get it out to parents.
- Gather ingredients as they come in and store them at my home.
- Prepare snack nightly to send in to preschool the next day (I actually prepare the morning and afternoon sessions’ snacks).
- Get snack into school.
- Gather lists of any food intolerances, religious/ethical restrictions, special food concerns (We have a Hindi family, a Jewish family, a radish allergy, a shellfish allergy, high fructose corn syrup intolerance, mild corn and egg intolerances, and GAPS/SCD restrictions–luckily NO nut issues!!!)
- Gather birthdays and work schedule around these.
- Give demonstrations/talks to the children and/or to the parents once monthly.
And for all of this, I get free tuition for my oldest two on Friday afternoons. And peace of mind knowing what my kids are eating. I must be a control freak. For sure.
The teacher has yet to see a cracker, but she is excited about the snack program now. And parents tell me their kids no longer share their vegetables. They eat them all up. If you’re finding snacks on here that are working for you, you may be interested in “Alphabet Snacks.”
(The cream cheese is yogurt with the whey dripped out and some vanilla and honey or maple syrup added.)
2. Fruit Leathers
3. Cut bananas
(I dip the ends in diluted lemon juice and they don’t turn brown, even overnight.)
3. Dixie cup fresh fruit and vegetables
4. Dried pears and bananas
(I have the parents bring in the fruit, and I dry it in my dehydrator. My kids get in on the action and cut the bananas for me.)
5. Carrots arranged in shapes
(Could do a flower or a sun or a planet with some minor additions)
(I sliced it into small slices. Parents brought me zucchini until it was the only vegetable in my fridge.)
7. Vegetable platter
(Yes, those are beets. They did eat them. They were also from somebody’s local garden at the school)
(I love this day. Just send in some canned applesauce. The apples came from the teacher’s tree.)
(I know. The chocolate chips aren’t really SCD legal. Or a whole food. But they are a treat. Would have been easier with a larger food processor. I’m still hanging on to the smaller, reliable one we got as a wedding gift 15 years ago. I’ve found really old appliances work best and don’t part with them ’til all their parts have been replaced!)
10. Fruit kabobs
(This one is Halloween, but I have done several others. Sometimes I just lay them on a platter. Easier)
11. Trail mix
(Just made with whatever nuts, dried fruits, seeds the parents bring in and a sprinkle of coconut)
12. Apples smeared with nutbutter
(I do these the night before. I dip them in ascorbic acid found with canning supplies. Lemon juice makes them a bit sour.)
13. Frozen fruit
(Another easy day!)
14. Almond flour chocolate chip cookies
(Another infraction with the chocolate chips for SCDers. I used a version of The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook by Elana Amsterdam. I substituted coconut oil for grapeseed oil and honey for agave.)
You may see our modified version here, but Elana’s book is a must-have, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.
15. Celery with nutbutter
16. Apples with honey for a dip
17. Pitted dates with “nutbutter” of choice (shown topped with a pistachio)
(I start with a plain, unsweetened, unsalted “nutbutter” and add a little salt and honey to taste)
18. Celery and baby carrots on bamboo sticks
(I watched video footage of the class the day this was served. They ate them like they were candy. Not kidding.)
19. “Wheat is a treat” day
(Native American Indian teepees/tipis)
(cut into slices, place on a coffee filter, and serve on a platter or make into bars)
We cannot have meat as a snack due to some of our children’s religious backgrounds. And we have a mild egg intolerance and dairy intolerance. But if we didn’t, boiled eggs would be fun. Or beef jerky. Or cheese cut out into shapes. And so on and so on.
A few tools of the trade:
Skewers of different lenghts, various decorative toothpicks, non-breakable trays, a piping bag for nutbutters, a styrofoam ring for fruit arrangements, small cookie cutters
What you feed yourself and your children DOES make a difference in your health and some very “nuisance” health issues (such as constipation, sinus issues, chronic cough, hyperactivity, dry eyes, eczema, etc). And nuisance health issues can lead to larger health issues in the long-run. Food is a drug. Take only what you need and what benefits you. Let me know of any questions you have about our snack program. Or suggestions!