The Snackbox Technique - Enjoying healthy snacks without grazing all day

We all know how useful snacks are for keeping kids happy, but get into the habit of too many snacks and you'll have mealtime battles on your hands. Here's how to guard against your child grazing all day long

If you let your child snack throughout the day you’re setting yourself up for mealtime mayhem when they refuse to eat a proper dinner. And it doesn’t take a nutritionist to tell you that kids cannot live on snacks alone.

Some families use snacks as a way of distracting their children so they can focus on other things, from work to a bit of quiet time alone. But this can end up as a vicious circle: constant snacking puts kids off their main meals, and the fact they haven’t eaten properly means they're whining for more snacks an hour later. 

The Supernanny snackbox technique helps find the middle ground by offering a limited choice of nutritional snacks throughout the day. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Boxing match

Get your child to decorate an empty box (it can be an old shoe box or a plastic storage box) any way they like – use paint, glitter glue, paper and fabric scraps etc for them to get creative.

Step 2: Snack selection

Involve your child in choosing a selection of snacks. Keep the snacks healthy - your child will enjoy the reward ritual of the snackbox as much as the snacks themselves, so they don't need to be full of sugar. Put a selection of two or three snacks (or more, depending on how filling they are and how old your child is) in the box, and give your child control over when he eats them.

Step 3: Snack attack strategy

Use the snackbox throughout the day and allow your child to choose when to take something out, except during the hour before mealtimes. Each time your child chooses a snack make it clear that once they’re all gone he won’t get any more – eventually he’ll learn to pace himself.

Step 4: Stand firm

Once the snacks are gone for the day, don’t replace them. Refill the box together the next day.

Related links

Healthy snacks for kids! Supernanny expert nutritionist Yvonne Wake explains how you can give your child enjoyable snacks without resorting to too much sugar or fat....

Lunchbox tips! Do you worry about what to put in your child's lunchbox each day? Fear no longer! Supernanny expert nutritionist Yvonne Wake offers her suggestions.....

Cooking with children - quick and easy recipes: Looking for some healthy, delicious food to make which won't take all night? Supernanny's expert nutritionist Yvonne Wake has a treat for you.

Hidden Nasties - food facts you need to know. We all want to feed our kids the best, but how can you really know what's in the food we eat? Supernanny's Nutritionist Yvonne Wake blasts the myths about salt, sugar and fat.

The Snack Jar: Supernanny’s methods are a combination of practical experience and expert advice, giving you the support and confidence to be at your best when your kids need you most. The Snack Jar Technique is used to limit a child’s snacking, and so encourage her to eat a balanced diet at mealtimes…

Supernanny Guide to Healthy Eating. If it feels like your child is eating all the wrong foods - or not eating at all - these Supernanny tips could help.

Related Advice