Snack (not so) mixed

As a mom, I’m always looking for healthy after school snacks for my son.

On occasion, I’ll make snack mix.  Typically I’ll try to keep it healthy, using raw nuts, dried fruit and maybe some whole grain cereal, but the favorite in our house is one called Banana Split.  It has almonds, craisins, banana chips, dried pineapple, mini marshmallows and chocolate chips. (Obviously this one doesn’t live on the “healthy” list, but it could be worse.)  I can’t take credit for the recipe or its name.  I actually adopted it from one that we bought in the cafe at the Arboretum over the summer.  I altered the ingredients a little. Theirs had peanuts and the crunchy little marshmallows similar to those in Lucky Charms cereal but since I’m not a huge fan of salted peanuts and because I was trying to make it a little healthier, I opted for raw Almonds and for the life of me I can’t find crunchy marshmallows anywhere, so I used minis in its place.  They work just fine and the combination is far better for us than the alternative, a real banana split!

Banana Split Snack "Mix"

Here’s the thing that cracks me up…  when I make a batch of snack mix, I’m careful to have equal parts of all of the ingredients so you get the full “banana split effect” with every bite. But… when my son eats snack mix, it’s no longer what I would classify as a mix.  He divides everything up into little piles separating out each item and then eats the individual piles.  He starts with the things that rank lower on the list (almonds and craisins) first and works his way up to his favorites.  All I can do is laugh.

Although I don’t remember having snack mix as a kid, I do remember wanting everything separated on my plate as though they each had their own “personal space”.   I would get really upset if say, my peas, migrated from one area of my plate to another or got in the “personal space” of my potatoes. And god forbid if my potatoes touched my salad.  That was a catastrophe.  But, the sky would come crashing down, I would completely lose it, burst into tears and have a complete meltdown if my mom would make the horrible mistake of mixing it all together thinking it would taste better.  Yes, I know, not one of my finer moments.  Thankfully my son’s food separation comes nowhere near that.

Anyway, as I watched him strategically sorting today, it got me wondering… why is it that kids can be so particular about food when they are younger? What makes them want to have everything separate and at what point in life does that transition to “normalcy”?  And what makes them (or any of us) like sweet over salty or vise-verse?  Hmmm… I might have to look into this.  If anyone knows the answer, please pass it on.

In the mean time, I’ll continue my search for healthy snacks (mixed or not) in hopes of raising a healthy, non-finicky eater.


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