The Snack Debate

Friday already, wow the week went fast!

The run in the wind I had planned for yesterday didn’t happen. I realized as I stepped outside that I may actually risk getting blown into a bush or into traffic therefore I opted for the gym in my community. Elliptical machine it was. Oh well. I will attempt to get outside this morning but the wind is still blowing and the temperature I believe is around 20 degrees. Not ideal but we will see…

As I mentioned the other morning, my son only wants the snacks the other kids are bringing into school. During our visit to Target last night, he started the interrogation:

“Why can’t you buy me Capri Sun? Why don’t we have regular Lay’s chips? Why can’t I bring in a big bag of Doritos? Fruit Gushers? Fruit Snacks? Oreo’s?”

Does anyone notice a trend to his questions? It appears to me that it is a brand issue rather than being all about the actual snack.

The Capri Sun debate:

Asking for the Capri Sun really hurt my feelings. Why? Sit yourselves down for this one. In my pantry nice and neatly organized into 3 rows is Juicy Juice Fruitifuls. I am extremely proud to have purchased considering how I tend to NOT by the conventional brands due to the poor nutritional content. However, Juicy Juice Fruitifuls is lower in calorie than most juice boxes and the ingredients list is minimal and acceptable according to Cookie ChRUNicle standards.

juicy juice

So why isn’t that good enough? Probably because he sees another brand that someone in his class is drinking.

Peer Pressure starts young.

Oreos? I buy the Joe’s Joe’s from Trader Joe’s on occasion. Doritos? Lay’s? On any given day I have 7 different types of chips from Trader Joe’s in my pantry. 

Clearly this isn’t good enough right now given the phase he is in.

As I tried to explain myself to my 9 year old, I quickly stopped mid-sentence realizing he cannot appreciate the time and energy I spend seeking out the highest quality, lowest calorie, nutrient dense snack and grocery items to purchase to make healthy balanced meals.

I regrouped with a plan.

I asked him to show me in the grocery aisles exactly what it is he would like to buy to have in our house.

His eyes lit up and he dragged me first to the chip aisle and picked up a tub of bright orange Cheese Balls.

cheese balls

As I cringed, I asked him to read me the ingredients. As he was reading (many words that he could not pronounce at all) I asked the following questions:

  1. What is that ingredient you just tried to pronounce? His reply, “I don’t know”.
  2. Why haven’t you read “cheese” as an ingredient yet if this is a “cheese ball”? His reply, “Oh that’s a good question”.
  3. Yellow #5? Did you know that they colored the cheese balls to make them that color? His reply, “Oh, um no. I thought it was from cheese.”

I did not need to ask anymore questions. He put the tub of balls down and moved on.

He grabbed a jumbo sized bag of chips and started reading the ingredients. Once again, he came across words like partially hydrogenated this, that and the other thing, corn syrups and solids and liquids and so on.

He was completely turned off by what he was reading and was actually enjoying this little adventure.

Someone in the aisle with us saw what we were doing and said to him, “If you cannot pronounce it, don’t know what it is, you do not want to eat it!”

I was willing to compromise and let him pick a new snack to school. As I have said, I do believe in balance and not completely depriving our kids (or ourselves).

We settled upon the snack size bags of Nabisco Mini Lorna Doone cookies, Animal Crackers (ah the childhood memories!) and Teddy Grahams.

animal crackers

Not terrible when you compare them to the rest of the choices (especially the tub of cheese balls!).

He left the aisle satisfied and I left drained and somewhat worried that peer pressure is infringing on my meal planning.


Anyone else have this issue with their kids? Do you succumb and buy all the conventional brands or do you seek out “healthier” versions?


Author: The Cookie ChRUNicles

Hi! I'm Meredith. Join me while I run and cook my way through single motherhood. It is always an adventure trying to teach my 12 year old son the benefits of an active lifestyle combined with healthy eating while of course, still leaving room for dessert.

5 thoughts on “The Snack Debate”

  1. I love that cover photo by the way. It makes me want to drop everything and run for the sweets! I hate that food companies are allowed to make their brands look so appealing, especially to children. McDonald’s is the worst and other fast food chains as well!

    1. I know, right! I never noticed how affected by marketing my son was until he starting rattling off and picking out brand name foods in Target. He never seemed to care. As for McDonalds, I haven’t taken him there in easily 5 years. When he was little I did buy the occasional happy meal but that stopped a long time ago when the teeny little burger or 4 chicken nuggets barely made a dent in his appetite. I taught him to realize and understand the importance of eating foods that make you full not leave you hungry. Thank goodness that theory worked as I would not want to be satisfying a growing boy’s appetite with value meals.

  2. I love your approach of talking sensibly to your child. Obviously the dialog has a positive effect. I wonder how he’d respond if you could find photos on the web of factories making hydrogenated oils. I’d bet he wouldn’t want to eat that!

    I look forward to reading more of your posts.

    1. Thanks, that is a great idea! I will absolutely look for the photos and if I find them, show them to him. In fact, I may have him to do the google searching! Will keep you posted on the findings and his reaction.

  3. Hi, I too appreciated your approach with your kid. My 10 year old outgrew McDonald’s happy meals some 5 years back when I came up with my own version of a mean, crisp,man-sized chicken fillet. Her two older siblings ( 16 and 17 ) also quit chips and fast food at about the same age . I made it my mission to have a home-made version that’s 10 times tastier, healthier and more filling but looks similar to their favorite brands, and then have them judge for themselves which tastes better. I guess it paid off because they would rather hang out at home, never mind if 1 kilo of spaghetti is gone in less than 24 hours. A friend also concedes to a multi grain chip brand as long as the dip is his homemade healthy mayo with basil. So hang in there!

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