Systems, routines, and healthy habits make everything easier and simplify what goes on in your home and in life.  Ashley joins us today from Veggies & Virtue to share her system for setting up a successful meal and snack schedule for your kids and family.  If your kids are always requesting snacks and you feel overwhelmed when it comes to feeding and meal time, this episode is for you.



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Episode 60 - Simplifying Snacks and Meal Time with Easy Systems & Solutions from Ashley Smith of Veggies & Virtue





Full Episode Transcription (not edited):

Speaker 1 (00:01):

Systems routines and healthy habits make everything easier and simplify what goes on in your home and in your life. Ashley joins us today from veggies and virtues to share her system for setting up a successful meal and snack schedule for your kids and family. If your kids are always requesting snacks and you feel overwhelmed when it comes to feeding and meal to I’m, this episode is for you. Hey moms, welcome to the intentional edit podcast. Do you wanna stop feeling overwhelmed and finally get your home organized. Do you find yourself up late at night, worrying about how you are going to get everything done and not drop the ball? You are wondering where to start and what to do. There is never enough time in the day. The aisles of laundry are building up and it’s already time for after school activities, homework, snacks, and carpool.

Speaker 1 (00:46):

Again, I’m Lauren. I too want an organized, clean home where my family can make long lasting memories and be present in the moment feeling like there’s never enough time to complete all the daily tasks is exhausting simplicity all around a healthy meal on the table at dinnertime and a family that contributes to the chores really is attainable. Stop telling yourself that you have to do it all, or it will never get done, or that picky eaters will never allow for a complain free dinner. In this podcast, you will learn exactly how to declutter implement systems and maximize routines that remove the overwhelming unorganized parts of life. Bringing simplicity to your life and home. Come on. It’s time to create a life you love.

Speaker 1 (01:35):

We have a special guest joining us today. Ashley is a registered dietician mom of three, and the owner of veggies and virtue. She helps busy moms with meal plan meal prep and with meal times by sharing simple meal and snack ideas. I especially love that her systems are not overwhelming and fit a fit for mom life. Ashley mentions that the feeding advice she gives is evidence based and yet grace laced. I love that her new podcast is the veggies and virtue podcast and is already ranked in the top two person across the world. So you’ll want to be sure to check that one out. I am excited to have Ashley joining us right now. Hi, Ashley. Welcome to the intentional edit podcast. I’m thrilled to have you here today.

Speaker 2 (02:15):

Thanks so much for having me.

Speaker 1 (02:17):

You share tons of good ideas and strategies on your podcast, and I love that you have the knowledge and the schooling as a dietician behind what you share and that you combine that with real life mom struggles to give actionable solutions to the busy moms. Can you share with us a little about when or how you realized that there was a large need for the kind of strategies you share to help moms and families that are in the messy middle of really figuring out how to deal with feeding issues and what to do around snack?

Speaker 2 (02:46):

Yeah, absolutely. Well, first of all, thanks for having me. I am excited to get to be on your show today and chat with your community as a dietician, professionally trained. I knew how to like coach and teach parents in a very professional setting, but then once I had my own child and then now three kids later, I think I just realized that the application of kind of what is best practice is so much trickier and so much more of an art than just the science of nutrition. And so I think where the need for this really came about is I thought, oh, I have all this education and training eating my own kids will be really easy. And then I’ll be able to like show people it is possible. And then I realize this often feels really impossible. And so I think for me being very much in that messy middle myself, a lot of my own systems and strategies have just come through trying to do the evidence based best practice with my own kids. And because none of my own kids are adventurous eaters in and of themselves. I’ve had to really kind of, you know, find that dance with them of like what actually works to maintain the feeding approaches that I know I want to foster in my home. And yet what’s a realistic way to do it when you’re tired or, you know, you have a short fuse or your house is going crazy, or, you know, you’re in the middle of sleepless nights or busy schedules, or it might be

Speaker 1 (04:01):

For sure, it’s one thing to read something in a textbook and understand what we think it’s supposed to be. But you have like the whole trial and error down of what you learned. And then you’ve used these things with your own kids. And of course your clients too.

Speaker 2 (04:16):

Yes. Yes.

Speaker 1 (04:18):

As people that have a lot of going on and just like the busy life, when we have young kids at home, you’re pulled in so many different directions, it’s common to toss a bag of pirates booty or veggie sticks or something like that at your kids when you’re running around and maybe some fruit snacks a little bit later. Why is this not a good idea? And do you have any suggestions for better options or alternatives to not getting in these situations frequently?

Speaker 2 (04:43):

Yeah, absolutely. I think, you know, there’s a few angles. We could come at this from, and one of which being, when we look at our kids’ stomachs, they’re not that big and they’re going to fill up pretty quick. And so it’s really easy for us to just kind of hand them the easiest package stack that we know satisfies them in terms of their take buds and what they enjoy. So things like the pirate booty or the fruit snacks or things like that. But one thing nutritionally that is going to keep having them come back for more snacks, there is that these are more refined snacks, so they’re not having the protein, the fat or the fiber that’s gonna help keep kids full longer. And so when we give them some of these packaged to acts, package, stacks are not in and of themselves. And, you know, I don’t think any food is a bad thing, but they’re not a bad option necessarily, but when we just kind of hand one and then hand another and then hand another, it kind of repeats this process for our kids to keep grazing because they never, even though they might like the taste of it, they’re not truly like fueled and satisfied in a way that like keeps them full for little bit longer.

Speaker 2 (05:43):

I think, you know, helping families get into a little bit more of a routine so that they are, you know, having more of a meal and snack routine so that the options that they’re offering are helping kind of bridge that gap between meals or in snack times rather than kind of just a snack being something that just kind of pacifies a kid for a little while when we look at aren’t a good idea. One of the reasons is because it’s not filling them up. As I mentioned, another one that I think has often missed is a lot of families struggle with their kids, love snacks, but won’t eat at meals. And we think of, kind of is dichotomy between the foods that we offer it as snacks versus what we’re offering at meals. And I don’t think any adult would be a verse two. You know, we would probably rather fill up on pirate, boot and fruit snacks too, at times, you know, as kids that understandably sounds better to them to have pirate boot and fruit snacks, as many as they’re allowed to have, and then to skip the grilled chicken and roasted broccoli and baked potatoes like, you know, for kids, it’s just kinda like, I’d rather fill up at snack than at meal.

Speaker 2 (06:42):

And so as parents, we kind of categorize foods into this is a snack food, or this is something we offer at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and that can perpetuate some additional feeding challenges because then our kids only wanna grades or only wanna snack and aren’t eating. So kind of the second reason I see some of those snack options being problematic in terms of some of the ways that we can eliminate situations like this, or, you know, come up with strategies to offer some other alternatives. I know you’re big on systems as well. And you know, obviously an expert in helping families get their house in order. And so one of my go is just having like a snack drawer in the fridge. I prefer to do it in the fridge. Even if I’m putting pirate boot packages in there or fruit snack packages in there, they can be chilled.

Speaker 2 (07:27):

They’re not gonna go bad that way, just to neutralize that we’re not autopiloting to the pantry because there’s often less fresh nutritionally, dense options. Typically our kids are not reaching for it. The foods that have the protein, the fat and the fiber, if they’re going to the pantry, they’re going for the foods like the fruit snacks, the pirate booty, I think whether you choose to have a little snack section in the pantry that has a variety of a lot of different snack choices, or as I mentioned, you know, shifting it to the fridge in ours, we cleared out what was like the meat and cheese door and just decided to at the snack drawer. And so it’s like right at eye level, the kids know if you need a snack. And if I’m like, my hands are tied up rather than like thrown an apple sauce, pack pouch at ’em, which, you know, I have definitely done as well and said, I can say, go get a snack.

Speaker 2 (08:12):

And they know exactly where, I mean, they know what I mean. And they know I’ve said, you know, this is a time that we can eat, go get something. And those are already kind of like pre-approved stack options. And then you can kind of start helping coach them through different choices to make. And, you know, as you restock the drawer, you can automatically kind of reinforce them variety. But I think if families can get in the habit of, we all need quick and easy things to grab, but we need them ready to grab when we need them. And so if we don’t prepare either or a section in our fridge or a spot in the pantry that kind of already has the, these are pre-approved snack for school that, you know, meet the criteria of net free or whatever it may be, or, um, you know, these are snacks that are available in the fridge that are ready to grab just as easily as a freak snack or a pirate booty that can really, you know, help set families up.

Speaker 2 (09:00):

So I think they need to think through like, how can I make this as easy as possible? Because even if I make things like, um, you know, muffins on the weekend or something, if they’re like in a container, not with everything else, well, either one forget about them or two, just that 30 extra seconds of grabbing one, putting it in a bag can kind of be a barrier in comparison to something like those quick snacks you mentioned. I think if families can just kind of walk themselves through the steps and then neutralize all the foods being offered. So whether you’re reaching to grab a pirate boot, reaching in to grab a pack of carrots, reaching into grab a pre-made muffin, all the options are right there and, um, you know, easily accessible, equally convenient. And I think that can really help families as well.

Speaker 1 (09:43):

Okay. I love all of this. You gave us such good information right there. One of the things that I do with my clients a lot is similar to what you’re suggesting, where we set up these snack stations or these go-to what locations. And I love that it’s in the fridge and that’s contributing to the healthier choices, but one thing that, that I’ve done with some clients where they’re trying to get their kids to pack lunches on their own is having these bins or drawers and then putting a number one or a number two. So they know you can have one of these a day or, or one of the items from this goes into your lunch. And two of the items from this goes into your lunch. So then you’re kind of balancing out and they’re not only picking the veggies or they’re getting the different things. So that’s great to hear from you that this strategy is something that works from a nutrition standpoint as well.

Speaker 2 (10:34):

Yes, absolutely. And I think it too, it, it helps kind of neutralize, you know, I often in a snack drawer help parents and families look, if in your snack drawer, do you have things that have protein that have fat that have fiber? So if you’re encouraging your child to take two different things at any given time, you’re probably hitting at least two of the three different categories. It’s great to have fruit and veggies in there, but a fruit and veggie, you know, having just fruit and veggies at a snack and just the fiber that they provide is only going to help fill our kids for so long, which is the same problem with some of those other snacks. You know, if we can start just neutralizing all those foods, but also seeing nutritionally what they’re offering us, it kind of helps equip kids to realize, oh, I can put this with this and helps me stay full longer without, you know, making them feel like restricted or like certain foods or know allowed or not allowed for, you know, other various reasons.

Speaker 1 (11:21):

Yes, that’s great tips. As you know, and you kind of mentioned this, my focus is on simplicity and the examples you just gave us are truly simple things that you can implement in really a short amount of time, but can change your life going for forward. I love creating systems, maximizing routines and anything that really simplifies home and life. When the stages of life are constantly changing and babies and kids are growing and what they eat and what they do and what they need changes rapidly. There’s a lot of adjustment and modifications that need to be made in all areas of life. Sometimes this can feel overwhelming or even a little chaotic. When I work with moms, there’s often stress around mealtime, the messy kitchen, feeling like the kids are constantly wanting food or, or asking for snacks, but finishing anything, obviously systems and routines around this would be helpful, but it’s hard to know where to start and what to do. I heard some of your ideas like with the snack drawer, and I’ve heard other things on your podcast that really help parents simplify meal and snack time. Can you share the benefits of having a set meal or maybe a set snack time or maybe even both and why that’s important?

Speaker 2 (12:38):

Yeah, absolutely. So I think, you know, if we’re looking at a set time, it doesn’t necessarily need to be, it happens this exact time every day because life happens. And as moms, we all know things often we’re late for more things that we’re probably on time for. And so I think the real goal here would be to have set routines and set, like have built in flexibility, but also have a clear routine so that your child understands there are times when meals and snacks happen because oftentimes when there is not some sort of routine in place, or there’s not some sort of structure around that, that’s when a lot of the feeding challenges that I see as a diet really come into play. So when it’s kind of like, well, we just, they kind of eat whenever they tell me they’re hungry or they won’t eat when I do tell them at the time to eat or something like that.

Speaker 2 (13:24):

So I think if families can get set into a routine around the course of their day and, you know, wake times, depending on the age of the child or, uh, you know, the school hours or school activities and things like that, and just kind of find when those pockets are, and then to begin to set some structure into when the meals and snacks fall around their daily schedule, that can really help kind of be the initial place. And then additionally, some of the benefits with that is, as I was mentioning before, we wanna make sure that, you know, meals so obviously are offering nutrition for our kids to help fuel them throughout their day. But those snacks are also supposed to kind of be mid checkpoints between those meals. So, you know, rather than just being kind of filler foods, we can see those as many meals that help get them to the next meal.

Speaker 2 (14:10):

So with those tiny chemies that we were talking about before, they’re not probably gonna be able to go six to eight hours in between mean a given meal, you know, from the time they leave the home to lunch, or if they have an early lunch at school, like I know my daughters do, it’s a long time until they come home in the afternoon. And so we need to be strategic when we think, when we look at this schedule and we look at when are they eating? Okay. If they breakfast at seven and then their lunch at school is at 10, those are more set firm time. So that’s because that’s life. And we have to, you know, operate on a little bit of a schedule. But then when we look at like the routine for the afternoon, we may be looking at, they’ve gone a long time since they’ve had a meal or a snack.

Speaker 2 (14:46):

So when we’re looking at it’s been three, four hours, something like that, we can begin to think more intentionally and strategically about what foods we’re offering, because we know one they’re going to be hungrier. So they’re gonna be more inclined to eat the foods that we’re offering. And two, we need to know how long are they gonna go until the next eating opportunity? And so sometimes something like a pirate, we might be all they need because you know, they’re, they’re gonna eat again in an hour. If you know, it’s a late afternoon snack. And then dinner’s short, like short to come after that. Sometimes we know kids need to make it through ballet and then traffic and coming home and homework, and it’s gonna be four hours. And we need to think, okay, we need to bulk up this snack. This snack needs to be a, you know, more dense snack to fill the, for a little bit longer.

Speaker 2 (15:32):

And so I think when we look at our schedule and the structure our days have, and we look at like, what will our kid need to help fuel themselves during this time? That’s where we can really use it most effectively to begin kind of working backwards in what foods we’re offering, how big of a snack are we offering? How are we expecting that they’re even gonna have an appetite? And yet that’s when we’re offering them these new foods that even if they were hungry, they probably didn’t even really want, or are we saying, oh, they’re really hungry at this time. Maybe this is a time I can begin offering some more variety rather than giving them the foods like a pirate boot or a freak snack, going back to the initial examples that they don’t even really need an appetite necessarily to even want to eat.

Speaker 1 (16:12):

Okay. And really individualizing for your kids, because your example was perfect with the early lunch. I remember my daughter having a lunch, like not even two hours after she got to school. And then there was this big chunk of time before pickup, you know, that was one year, but you could have two or three kids in the same school with different lunch times. One of them might be eating right before they come home. And the other one ate early in the day. So even what they want in terms of, to be full is totally different when you’re offering that snack after school.

Speaker 2 (16:43):

Yes, absolutely. But I think that’s where, as we were talking about the consolidation of like having set meals and snacks, that’s where for my daughters, they do eat two hours apart. And so I can see that a little bit in their appetite, you know, when they come home in the afternoons, but that’s where it’s, this is the set time that we’re gonna sit and we’re gonna gather, and we’re gonna have this snack and I’m gonna do what I can to kind of optimize the things that are offered then. But there’s a, there’s a set end point, you know, we’re gonna either go on and do homework or after school activities or move on and just play outside or take the dog for walk, whatever it may be. But there’s a transition out of that because it’s so easy. And I hear from so many families that after school from like three to five is just endless, crazy.

Speaker 2 (17:25):

And then it’s five and you know, mom or dad’s making dinner and the kid has no appetite because they’ve been eating for so long after school because they are so hungry. So I think families need to look at like, this is the window. This is our eating opportunity. And again, this is not a mindset of like restriction or limiting our kids. It’s just optimization of the time you have, we don’t want our kids thinking about what they’re gonna eat next the whole time. We want them to eat when they have the chance and then go on and do all the other exciting things their afternoon has for them without it disrupting dinner later. And so I think for families to realize it’s okay for some kids to need two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and an apple and a string cheese after school. And for one kid to say, I’m good with just an apple that’s okay. But make sure to consolidate those times so that it still works for your whole family and your whole family’s routine, even if everyone’s kind of appetites or, you know, different eating opportunities during the day have varied in the time.

Speaker 1 (18:19):

So it sounds like a little bit of planning and being intentional will really go a long way with this idea and this whole overall concept. Tell us more about your five CS of setting up meal and snack schedules.

Speaker 2 (18:33):

Yeah. So this was one of my first episodes that I did on my podcast when I launched. And I think that’s because when we look at the feeding role for parents and the kind of feeding foundation that I walk parents through is the parents role is what, when and where food is offered. And a child gets to decide if weather and how much they eat, when what and where that food is offered. Oftentimes as parents, we can think we need to start with what, and we just fixate on what do I even feed my kid? And we just think like, that’s the golden ticket, or often we are missing that the win, like the actual feeding structure or the schedule is one of those key components that we really, we need to lay nail down. So what I share in that episode, I, with the five C’s is first to consolidate.

Speaker 2 (19:16):

So if you have found that your child’s grazing throughout the day, or like we talked about wanting snacks all afternoon, or, you know, depending on when they’re eating, we wanted to start to consolidate. So there’s, you know, three meals and two to three snacks. And again, snacks can just be seen as mini meals, especially with young kids who may have the same appetite size at a meal as a snack. You know, you can just say it’s six meals a day if you want, and they’re just mini meals. That’s fine too. But I think if we can consolidate them into little windows of eating opportunities, consolidation, I think is the first key, um, that’ll help families, you know, get in into that routine. Uh, the second C would be consistency because often the first few days are not the most fun for anyone, not for your kid and not for the parent.

Speaker 2 (20:00):

And so we can just kinda wanna be like, this is crazy. This dietician lady is cuckoo. She must never have been around kids, or at least my kid I’m, and this, my kid’s losing it. Well, just like anything in parenting our need to see that consistency. I mean, my kids never took to a sleep routine or a nap routine or any sort of disciplinary or boundary routine. The first day I tried it. I mean, you know, and eight years in, and some of these things, I’m like, oh my goodness, we’re still working on this routine eight years later. And so, you know, I think if as parents, we can kind of mentally carve out two weeks and just say for behavior change to happen, we need to kinda help retrain our family to work in this routine and to work on just being consistent for about two weeks.

Speaker 2 (20:41):

And things will start to get a little easier as you consolidate and you’re consistent in that consolidation. But then piggybacking off of this would be kind of like the third and the fourth seat being as the parent, you need to stay calm. And fourth, we need to communicate with our kids, particularly. I know some of the moms listening may have older kids. And so we can’t just like pull a fast one on them, the way that we maybe can with toddlers when they kind of have no idea what’s going on anyways while consist and see, I think is beneficial in any area of parenting. If we can stay calm and just kind of expect some of that pushback and yet like continue to go back to, we’re gonna be consistent, we’re gonna stay calm. And yet we’re also gonna communicate these changes to our kid.

Speaker 2 (21:20):

We’re also gonna make sure they understand, like, I think it’s totally fine to say, Hey, I’ve been noticing X, Y, Z. Hasn’t really, really been working for our family. And it may be the afternoons. I had this conversation with my kids earlier in this school year. Hey, you know what, the afternoons haven’t really been working that well for us, here’s why I feel like they’re not working and I could outline. And it wasn’t just food related. You know, it was just kind of the transition from school to home and things, but it’s okay to say, so we’re gonna start doing things a little differently and just spell it out for ’em very simply, you know, they don’t wanna hear you give this big, long saga and nutritionally speaking. I hear a lot of parents kind of dig theirself in a pit more than they need to because they don’t know what to say.

Speaker 2 (21:56):

And then they fumble in their words and they try and say too much. And then their kids, like, I don’t even know what you’re trying to tell me. And so I think for parents to just kind of come at it, make sure that, you know, your family has aligned with your spouse. If you guys have already communicated about this, the two of you you’re on the same page and you can just present it to your kids to kind of let them know what to expect in terms of what’s different because particularly if you’re older kids and you’ve always felt like fed them this way for 10 years. And then all of a sudden you’re like, Hey, we’re doing things differently. It is going to come out a little bit outta left field for them. So I think to go into it, communicate to them, and then the fifth C would just be do so with confidence, you can always pivot.

Speaker 2 (22:35):

You will continue to learn and grow. I’m a dietician. I have education and experience professionally and personally, and yet I’m still constantly pivoting how I’m doing things. But the biggest thing with our kids is that we’re just approaching this pattern and approach with confide and we’re doing it, knowing that we love them and we’re trying to do the best for them and the best for our family. And so go confidently towards it and then just continue to take in the things that happen as data for if, and whether you need to kind of pivot the plan. But I just would caution parents, you know, going back to that consistency, don’t pivot too soon. Like the first day they throw a fit over not getting pirate boot when they ask for it, don’t pivot on the spot. You have to be consistent. You have to stick with it.

Speaker 2 (23:14):

And if you afterwards reflect, I wish I would’ve handled that differently. I do the same thing. I mean, that’s just part of learning and motherhood and, you know, as growing in relationship with our kids and we can say, okay, that didn’t really work this time. What do I wanna do differently next time? But in the moment, you know, stay consistent and be clear and confident in that thing, in whatever, you know, you’ve communicated to your kids so that they don’t see that you’re just kind of sitting there flailing in the wind wishy washing and what you’re trying to do. You wanna show them, I’m confident that this is gonna work and that this is gonna help bless our family. This is the approach we’re going with. And then just, you know, take whatever feedback you get or, um, as just data on how you kind of can move forward.

Speaker 1 (23:54):

These five CS, I feel like I should just listen back to this episode, write them all down and use them for so many things in life, because as you were explaining it, I was like, I can see what this totally works.

Speaker 2 (24:06):

Yes. Yeah. It’s it is episode four. It’s one of the first ones for my episode or for my podcast. But yeah, I think, you know, as I was walking through it, so many of the things do parallel, the exact same things we have to do in other areas of parenting. But often we can think feeding is, is different or, you know, because feeding, we can kind of immediate results that we often base our behaviors off of what happens in the here and now rather than in the big picture. So that’s where I’m always helping, trying to help parents translate. What is the evidence based prac, best practice, long term, big picture for raising kids who have really healthy relationships with food. And yet let’s boil this down to the day to day and what we need to do to stay consistent to those practices, and yet apply them to, you know, the chaos and erratic nature. That is our every day.

Speaker 1 (24:54):

Of course, one thing that stood out to me in this solution that you’ve come up with is the process seems to be adaptable for all ages and stages when it comes to feeding and really other areas life too. Even if it seems like you started late, there’s always hope or, and there’s always a modification that can be made to make these things work for your family. Is there anything that you would suggest specifically relating to older kids? Cuz you mentioned the older kids a few times, you can’t just sneak something by them. You really do have to have the communication and all of that, but is there anything specific that work with works with the older kids?

Speaker 2 (25:32):

I think that’s a great point because a lot of families that I work with just kind of have this shame and guilt of, oh, I kind of missed my window. I wish I, you know, the number of people that I hear say, I wish I would’ve known this when my kids are younger. And I, I talk, I mean, I’ve talked to parents even whose kids are in college and they’re like, what do I do now? I miss my chance. They’re not even under my roof anymore. And truly, I mean, we know this as moms and as women, even as adults, we’re learning and we’re growing in our own relationships with food. So we can constantly make positive changes for our family regardless of the age and stage of our kids. But to highlight older kids specifically, I think a few things that I as parents, we need to remember from like a cognitive and developmental perspective is, you know, they’re not our little babies anymore.

Speaker 2 (26:14):

They have minds that think for themselves, they’re gonna have their own ideas and opinions about food. They become much more concrete and rational, which can sometimes be a good thing. And sometimes it can create some challenges. You know, we can’t chew, chew a little fork to them and make them think it’s a true and they’re gonna eat it anymore like that. We have missed that window, but that’s okay because, you know, while kids might be more into like magical thinking when they’re younger and imagination and things like that, as kids get older, they’re much more curious and inquisitive and you know, they might look at it a little bit more like a scientist and be, you know, willing to engage in the process. And so some of these things that might seem intimidating to do with younger kids where everything, you know, takes twice as long and we have to worry about like safety and things like that.

Speaker 2 (26:56):

Older kids can really, you know, they can read, they can find recipes. They often know how to use devices to kind of look up menus or different things. And so I think to engage them in that process, as I talked about the five CS, when you’re communicating, there’s going to be extra communication that has to happen with older kids so that you can acknowledge. I see you, I hear you. And I want to know what is important to you. You know, let’s plan a meal. Maybe they help you cook one dinner week or maybe they just give their input. And every family member gets to pick their favorite dinner for the week. They kind of give their feedback on that. Um, so they know that like they are a part of this process. Cause I think with younger kids, it’s kind of like, let’s just stay short and simple in what we’re reinforcing to them.

Speaker 2 (27:38):

But with older kids, we need to show like I value your input. I value your ideas. I know that you could get involved in the kitchen with me. You could get involved in meal planning or grocery shopping or finding new recipes or, you know, you saw this viral video shared on, you know, that feta pasta thing that was really big for a little while. I don’t know if you ever saw that one. Yes. You know, like our kids might find like that kind of stuff, like really intriguing where we maybe wouldn’t think to offer it to ’em. And so I, in terms of, you know, getting our kids involved that can be really helpful. And then with the schedule component, it’s just helping our kids learn how to kind of schedule their day accordingly. So from like a feeding perspective, we can get them really involved and need to communicate with them.

Speaker 2 (28:19):

But when we hone in more specifically to like the schedule, I think where we need to focus on with them is helping them learn that life skill of this is your calendar. This is your practice schedule. This is the homework you have. This is the, you know, social activities that you have set. So what are you going to do to prepare and pack a snack and walking them through? What kind of snack do you pack? How does that snack make you feel? Does that keep you full until you get home? You know, if you get outta school at two and you at home until eight, does that keep you full until you get home for dinner or you find yourself going to the vending machine and just walking through these things with them because they are at a life stage where they’re developing a lot more competence to do some of these things on the, on their own, but we can walk them through this window so that when they do get out on their own, they can, they know how to these life skills on their own. And so I think if parents can just kind of walk through the process with them, communicate with their kids, find areas of opportunity in the process. Um, that can be a really valuable time with older kids.

Speaker 1 (29:19):

So as they’re older, you’re, you’re modeling what to do. You’re still guiding them, but you’re really not only you zoning in on the nutrition aspect of it, your teaching responsibility and independence and so much ties together and goes into lifelong good choices and life skills.

Speaker 2 (29:38):

Yes, exactly. And I think, you know, as we talk about older kids, sometimes it’s like we almost get into such a routine when our kids are young, that we never hand off the Baton in any of the areas. We’re just so used to making their breakfast and packing their lunches and doing the dinners and doing grocery shopping and meal planning and all the things that as they get older, we forget to start equipping them in some of these life skills. And so then when our kids are going to college, really, do they even know how to make anything beyond a bowl of cereal? I mean, we can kind of almost miss that window. And so, you know, normally between like six to 11 is when you can start to kind of incorporate them more in this because they don’t see it as like a, like if they’re more clear on the boundaries and the feeding relationship and things, you can kind of start having them do certain things with you and like involve them in the kitchen or in meal planning and things like that.

Speaker 2 (30:25):

But normally by around the time of like 12 or middle school and beyond, we can start to hand over some of those things and say, you need to pack a snack. Okay. What would be a good snack option let’s review? Or like you said, with your bins, and I know you’re awesome with like zones and things like that, helping them understand this is why we have zone so that you can be independent and autonomous in practicing some of these life skills while you still have, you know, the help of parents. Um, but so they get in the routine of it. So it’s just a lot more familiar once they get out on their own and have to figure it out themselves.

Speaker 1 (30:55):

And there’s all these cool cooking shows and like even teenagers with YouTube channels for cooking easy meals. When, and when you really think about it, cooking is so hands on, like anything in the kitchen with food is so hands on, even young kids really can take an interest in these things. And it takes a little bit of patience or a lot of patience on the parents’ part, having your kids help with preparing meals and dinner that can open up some doors for them where you might not have thought of that before, but it definitely, you have to be patient because things do take a lot longer.

Speaker 2 (31:32):

Yes. And I think too, you know, when you look at older kids, just the relationship building aspect of it, you know, it’s just, it’s kind of like that time in the car with a parent, you know, like with your kid or your, you can either have a great time to other, it can be kinda awkward, but I think when you sit in the kitchen and you’re preparing a meal and you’re engaging together and especially if it’s one that they found or they saw a cooking show on and they’re excited about, it’s just a fun opportunity to connect that isn’t necessarily in the hustle and bust of actually eating the meal. But when you have the capacity, you know, to have that time together in the kitchen, it can kind of spur on a other, you know, experiences or opportunities together.

Speaker 1 (32:07):

Absolutely. You have given us such valuable information today and it really applies to every family. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with the listeners, where can they find you and how can they connect with you?

Speaker 2 (32:20):

Yeah. Well, thank you very much for having me. It was fun to get to chat with you. Uh, let, like I said, I’m Ashley from, at veggies and I also have the veggies and virtue podcast and I’m at veggies and virtue on pretty much all social media platforms. So I’d love to connect with anyone on any of those places.

Speaker 1 (32:36):

Perfect. I do have one last question to wrap it up that I ask all guests. It’s just for fun. If you could eliminate one dreaded task around the house and have someone else do that for you, what would that be? And then what is something that you don’t mind doing?

Speaker 2 (32:55):

Fun’s probably pretty easy for me. I am not a laundry person. I do not like laundry at all. I mean, I’ve found ways to do it because it’s just a necessary evil, but I, I could probably use your help a lot in that area since no one’s offering to come do all of our laundry for us. But the one thing I don’t mind doing, I mean, I could clean out a fridge and reorganize it every week without it being, you know, any sort of a big ask. So I would glad trade someone to do my laundry. If I could just clean a fridge. That’s definitely what I don’t mind at all.

Speaker 1 (33:23):

I will totally agree with you about the fridge because there’s something so satisfying when those glass shelves are sparkling and everything’s lined up in, in order.

Speaker 2 (33:32):

Yes, absolutely.

Speaker 1 (33:34):

Well, Ashley, I can’t thank you enough for visiting with me today and sharing your tips and strategies for implement the five CS of setting up meal and snack time successfully and all the other amazing things that you shared with us.

Speaker 2 (33:46):

Thank you so much for having me.

Speaker 1 (33:48):

There are a lot of busy moms that can take this information and start making these positive changes in their homes this week. Thanks to all of our listeners for joining us. I’ll meet you back here next week for another episode of the intentional edit podcast. Thank you for listening to the intentional edit podcast. If you found today’s episode valuable, tell your friends about it by taking a screenshot, sharing it on social and tagging me at intentional edit. I’ll be back soon with another episode in the meantime, find and be sure to follow intentional edit on social platforms like its Graham Pinterest and Facebook to ensure you catch future episodes, click the subscribe or follow button. Now I am grateful for a five star rating and review from you. Be sure to let me know what you liked about this episode and what you want me to cover in the future.




Episode 60 - Simplifying Snacks and Meal Time with Easy Systems & Solutions from Ashley Smith of Veggies & Virtue



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lauren - intentional edit

Lauren is the founder of Intentional Edit, a home organization and lifestyle company focused on consciously editing to create efficient and organized spaces.  Lauren believes that a functional home that looks and feels good has a positive influence on all aspects of life.  Creating systems that allow for the home to function more efficiently, therefore, eliminating most of the clutter and chaos is her priority.  While trends come and go organization is always in style!


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