Mental Health

Kids snacks: 4 ways to get out of the packaged snack food rut

Does your child only seem to want packaged snack foods? The cute, colorful package – who can resist a hand-held package just the right size for a child’s hand? You are not alone. Kids gravitate to packages. As a pediatric dietitian, I get asked about snacks all the time. Parents and caregivers want to know how they can get their kids to move past packaged snacks. Let’s talk about kids snacks and how to get out of the packaged snack food rut, without totally taking those foods away.

Here are a 4 things you can do to start moving away from those packages while continuing to normalize and include those foods at meal and snack times.

Kids Snacks: 4 ways to get out of the packaged snack food rut

1. Take the food out of the bag. Sounds simple, right? But by taking the snack food out of the bag, we are not making it the “special” food it appears to be. We can put it on a plate with other foods to normalize the snack and start moving away from the package.

2. Serve these foods at other times than snack time. We often get so stuck in snack vs mealtime foods. Serve their favorite packaged snack with a meal instead of at snack time. Serve the food with breakfast, lunch or dinner.

3. Remember to follow the division of responsibility: you decide on what’s on the menu, they decide how much. What this means is we don’t need to give into every demand for a snack. In this post I talk about how we can respond to kids and their snack demands

4. Keep serving these snacks so your child can form a healthy relationship with them. Don’t remove these foods completely or make them off limits. Remember, when we start to completely restrict certain foods we are demonizing those foods – we want our kids to know how to handle these foods, so keep serving them.

There you have it. 4 ways to get out of the packaged snack food rut. Ready for more tips to make eating easier with your kids? Download my free guide, 4 steps to help your child try new foods for my best strategies to get more smiles at mealtimes.