Monday, December 12, 2011

Hungry, Hungry Hippos

This has been one of those weeks, when no matter what I feed my kids, in 10 minutes they are "starving" and need something to eat. I feel like I'm playing a giant game of hungry, hungry hippos on my dining room table whenever I sit food in front of them. And when all the marbles are gone, instead of a winner, I have three whiners, who all want more food! (spoken tongue in cheek of course.) Add to this my EBF (extended breast feeding) toddler thinks that she needs to nurse around the clock again, we were down to only before nap/bedtime, and I'm hungry all the time. She must be ready for a growth spurt or something.

I usually offer them carrot sticks, apples or bananas. Sometimes crackers, pretzels or cheddar bunnies. I recently purchased 20# of apples through our buying club, so they've had all the apples they care to eat fresh. And the bananas are usually all gone by this late in the pay cycle. Once the fresh 'naners are gone, I usually have a reserve of frozen ones for making smoothies with, but alas, those are depleted as well! I really need to do some stocking up!

So I'm down to the last resort~bake something. I do like to bake, I really do, it's the cleaning up part that I loathe. So after I put the kids down for nap time, I flip through my cookbook looking for some sort of drop, no-bake cookie that I can make more "healthier" and hope that it works out! And hopefully something that doesn't take an hour to do. Here's what I ended up with:

Puffed Rice & Peanut Butter No-Bakes
1/3 cup Honey (instead of nasty corn syrup)
2 Tbsp Sucanat, Rapadura  (natural, dried can juice with no refining/bleaching)
Bring to a good roiling boil.
Then add:
1/2 cup Peanut butter, raw/unsweetened
1/4 tsp Vanilla
2 cups Puffed Rice Cereal (our local stores carry a 'whole grain' brand that's only $1 per bag.) or you could use a crisp rice cereal as well.
Stir together, then drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper to set up.
makes apx 16 cookies.
Small batch? Yep, on purpose. If I make it any larger, then I tend to eat way more than I should! So I try to keep the batch sizes small to compensate for my lack of willpower.
Slightly sweet with the rich taste of peanut butter. Yummy!

Once in a while we have a purely decadent 'treat' that has no nutritional value what so ever, but those are pretty rare here! We strive to eat healthier at home, and limit our eating out, so our treats need to be extra special and healthy too. Our main reason for our diet is health, we want the best health possible of course! But also we limit our "junk food" and eating out for financial reasons.

Eating out is one of those areas where money just vanishes, quickly. We usually budget eating out 2 times per month, or once per pay period. Sometimes we go over, sometime we don't go at all. Being the stay at home mom that I am, I'm always looking for ways to cut back on expenses while still providing delicious foods for our family. Eating out is a real temptation to me. Not having to clean up that mess! As you all are aware, the prices at the grocery store just keep going up. I'm finding that my regular purchases are costing more and thus need to cut back on those comfort food meals and stick to more "beans and cornbread" meals. Cutting back on the expensive foods, like meats, and offering more fillers, like veggies and starches. Also trimming portions = more 'snacking' in between meals. So I struggle to find healthy, inexpensive snacks to help the kids make it dinner.

I would love to hear your healthy snack ideas and how you cope with your"Hungry, Hungry Hippos"!


  1. We've been making homemade oven-baked french fries, either "normal" potatoes (like russet, yellow or red) or sweet potatoes! It does take a little while to cut them up thin, but it's worth it. Baked them in a 450 degree oven for about fifteen minutes, sprinkle a little salt on them & YUMMY! I have a 3 year old and I've found that if you cut just about anything up into little sticks, it's more FUN to eat. Well, except for bananas. Those get made into little circles with a dab of peanut butter and a raisin on top.

  2. What great ideas you have, Brandi! My snacks are usually fruit or cereal, but my five year old loves helping in the kitchen, so I try to include him more in making snacks and so forth.

    And I love the idea of three year olds eating anything in the shape of a stick, Carolyn!

  3. One of my go-to snacks is pretzels (sticks or minis) and hummus. My kids love that. We also do graham crackers for a less sugary something sweet.

    But I hear you on the hungry-all-the-time whine! I think my two boys are growing again, which means they are starving. Over the summer, it was hard to keep my four kids fed, they were all so hungry!

  4. Sarah, my toddler loves hummus, but I can't get my other two to eat it! Wish I could because it's good stuff!