Health & Family

Make snacks easy-open for preschoolers

Are you already tired of sending in class snacks or packing lunches?

If you're resorting to convenience, consider the flip side: In a matter of minutes, try to pry 14 foil lids off individual-serving containers of fruit. Warning: Each cup will be ready to spurt juice on your clothes when the seals are finally broken.

Then wrestle with 14 individual, sealed tight packs of string cheese for a hungry preschool class. When kids move into “lunch bunch” at preschool and the chaos of the school cafeteria, they need to be able to open their food and drinks on their own.

What's convenient for families to pack is tricky for little fingers to open. For example poking a straw into a juice packet without spilling requires strong fine-motor skills and focus that many little ones do not have. Even a bag of pretzels can be a wrestling match unless mom or dad cuts a starting nick in the top corner of the bag.

Plus many kids will only have about 15 or 20 minutes to eat. Know whether your child can open a cheese or yogurt stick before tossing it in his lunch box.

Practice at home will make your child more skilled and confident. Or better yet, choose healthier food options and go green, using smaller, reusable containers.

To avoid disposables, try: