When my daughter was two, I picked her up from Sunday School and discovered her munching on Cheez-It crackers. I have since found myself to be hesitant to put my 4-year old in activities due to the snacks that are served. She is delighted by seaweed, kale, and cashew dip, so I haven’t wanted to shift her palate to prefer processed foods.
I started volunteering at Sunday School at church in the winter and bringing a snack for her to eat as a substitute. At age three, she was diligent about getting her snack from her cubbie and eating the provided snack when it was fresh fruits or veggies. She started camp this week and she has been doing the same.
I’m impressed that it has been such an easy and graceful process. Although the staff are aware she is on a special diet, she has been taking responsibility on her own.
Here are some tips that have helped make the process easy and not feel like deprivation:
- I explained in a positive way that I like her to eat the healthiest foods possible, so I pack a really good snack for her.
- I make sure she is excited about the snack I’m packing for her before we leave for camp.
- I check-in with her after camp to find out how things went, praising her for her choice but not acting controlling.
- I make sure she knows where her snack is stored and that it is a place she can access. At church for example, we had a problem with her bag getting covered up by coats in the winter time and her not finding the snack.
- I have called ahead before enrolling her in programs to inquire if they are supportive of her bringing her own food. Some preschools that I spoke with for example were not supportive.