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4 Quick Ideas to Help Your Child Stop Snacking!

Updated on September 21, 2013

Children have ferocious appetites caused by energy used thinking during school and playing hard during recess.

The best part is that as a parent, you have all the controlling power and techniques right at your finger tips. Helping your child choose healthy snacks and preparing sit-down meals are ways to get your children on track with good eating habits.


1. Have dinner ready when the children come home from school.

Obviously, not everyone has a job where they can stop working at 2:30 p.m. every day and make dinner for their children.

In most situations today, children are placed in after-school programs where they are given refreshments after school.

However, where my children go to school, there are at least 100 or more parents waiting outside of the school yard every single day at 3:30 p.m. to pick up their children. So to those parents that are home earlier in the day, if at all possible, prepare meals ahead of time.

When Johnny comes marching home, put on a pot of his favorite home-cooked beef stew, Chef-Boy-R-Dee, or mac & cheese meal. It doesn't have to be homemade. If your child likes canned beef-a-roni, that will be sufficient enough!

The point is to have a sufficient meal that is filling enough to count as dinner without the child divulging in endless snacks.

Why have it ready and waiting? Because it will eliminate the need for snacks after school and will hold your child over through the night.

2. Snack ideas for later in the evening.

If your child is still hungry after having an early dinner after school, there are a few ways to calm cravings and keep your child from overloading on Doritos, Cheese Puffs, or little green snack things that you don't recognize and aren't sure if they came from the pantry or under the sofa cushion.

  • Make microwaveable or homemade popcorn. Children love popcorn. I think it's probably one of the biggest treats besides boxed candy or ring pops.
  • Put leftover popcorn in baggies and keep in pantry or cabinet for school snacks or just because.
  • Children love cereal. Cereal is another filling treat if it's not of a very sugary variety and helps keep little tummies satisfied into morning.
  • Granola bars, peanut butter crackers, marshmallow crispy treats and honey pretzel sticks are all convenient snacks to keep on hand in case your young one gets the munchies well into after-dinner hours.

3. Plan ahead for the grocery store.

The last thing you want to do is get trapped in an aisle at the grocery store between someone who abandoned their cart in the middle of the aisle and someone cornering you in the aisle un-shelving sale macaroni by the case!

Moms, dads, and caretakers are busy.

Start with a list. Write down the meals that you would like to plan out for the week.

Then make a coordinating list of items you will need to make those meals as well as healthy snacks for your children to enjoy in between your stellar dinner creations!

  • Keep a magnetized shopping list notepad on the refrigerator.
  • Jot down any products you run out of during the week so you'll know to pick them up on the next shopping trip.
  • Keep a white board on the refrigerator so that your children can list any snacks they would prefer in their lunches or for weekend afternoons. (This eliminates unnecessary interruptions to let you know what they want when you are in the middle of stuffing a roasting chicken or have your arm half way down the drain during a clogged sink incident.)
  • Get in the habit of noting what condiments or ordinary food items you stock in your refrigerator or pantry on the shopping list when you run out, so you will never forget it at the store! Nothing is worse than forgetting the ketchup when you are planning hamburgers or hot dogs for dinner!

Once you are at the grocery store, try to keep your time efficient by memorizing the product placement in the store. It helps to not have to back track every time you forget the peanut butter in aisle 25 when you are already back to aisle 5 picking out boxed fruit snacks.

Plan ahead so that your time isn't wasted at the grocery store and can be spent doing more important things. Also, make sure that you select your children's snacks appropriately. Many teachers in school nowadays forbid guilty little pleasures in the classroom such as Little Debbie pastry snacks. So if your child's teacher confiscated Mikey's brownie bites, select some carrot sticks or apple slices to pack for snack. The oatmeal cream pies can wait for the lunch room when the child is not in the teacher's presence!

4. Plan easy cook meals or prepare them the night before.

If it's not possible to have a homemade meal on the dinner table after school each day, to simplify your schedule, try to make some dishes ahead of time that can be frozen for later in the week. Or, even prepare them the night before.

I've been known to start my day extra early on occasion when the children will have an afternoon filled with fun and I have no time during the day to cook.

Planning ahead of easy meals takes guesswork out of "what's for dinner?"

Here are a few tips on planning quick meals for after school hunger control:

Easy tossed salad with chicken
Start with boneless/skinless chicken breasts.
Roll chicken breasts in bread crumbs.
Place on cookie sheet and bake 30 minutes at 400 degrees.
Slice and layer over salad greens.
Children can dip the chicken slices in barbecue sauce or ranch dressing if they don't like eating it over lettuce.
Child-friendly Taco Bar
Brown ground beef or turkey, add taco seasoning.
Heat taco shells.
Set up bowls of chopped lettuce, tomatoes, and shredded cheese.
Children can assemble their own tacos.
Serve with rice and beans for a filling experience.
Easy Chicken Pot Pie
Have ready two frozen pie crusts, cream of chicken soup, frozen mixed vegetables, pre-cooked chicken breast.
Place one pie crust in a pie dish.
In a separate bowl, mix cream soup, frozen vegetables, and pre-cooked chicken.
Add mixed ingredients to pie dish.
Place second pie crust over top.
Bake until browned (about an hour) at 350 degrees.
This dish works well with leftover baked chicken.

Chicken Pot Pie


What do you do to curb snack attack at your home?

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Chinese Proverb

Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man how to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.


Opting out of homemade and stopping at a drive-thru, Subway, or pizza palace are all fine alternatives!

When asking my own children, "what do you like about homemade meals", they responded..."when have you ever made a homemade meal?"

This was particularly amusing to me because I cook every day! They just don't see me because they are at school when I make dinner. Also, on weekends, most of the time they are at play dates or out doing something other than sitting at home so they don't often watch what I'm doing in the kitchen.

So then I asked them, "do you like coming home to a homemade meal from school?". They responded, "sometimes". What do they mean sometimes?

My son said he likes take-out. My daughter said if she had a preference she would choose "shrimp with cocktail sauce and burgers".

Anyway, have fun with all of your creative concoctions whether it be hoagies from your favorite sub shop or a homemade batch of chicken noodle soup.

Some families prefer to have meal time together at the dinner table which is perfectly understandable. With the fast pace of today's world, it's not that I don't want to have dinner with my entire family, which I often do, but the children don't necessarily want to sit at the table with the adults when they have homework to catch up on after school. A suggestion for families that wait to eat together is you could also prepare homemade snack trays such as cheese and crackers, fresh fruit, vegetables and dip, homemade popcorn, or lettuce wraps ready to hold over hearty appetites. While the children are doing homework on a full stomach, my husband and I catch up on the day's events over a homemade meal that we can both enjoy with each other's company.

Any opportunity for children to eat a meal rather than a bag of chips is an attempt to create healthy eating habits.

They will hardly be able to contain their excitement!

the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported Author:  MOs810
the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported Author: MOs810 | Source


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    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Hi VioletteRose, those are all fantastic suggestions. Thank you for your input here. My daughter will eat broccoli if I melt cheese over it. She also likes celery cut up in strips with peanut butter. Sweet potatoes are very nutritious.

    • VioletteRose profile image

      VioletteRose 4 years ago from Chicago

      Great suggestions, my son loves bread with peanut butter, cheese or just plain butter. So I usually use wholegrain bread with any of those spreads as an easy snack when needed. I also give him fresh fruits and roasted nuts which he likes. However, I do not have much success with vegetables, other than sneaking them into his food. He loves sweet potatoes though. I allow him to have the fries and other stuff occasionally, chocolates are his favorite than the fries.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Wetnose, LOL, well, I didn't say my eating habits were great! :D

      My son used to grab bags by the dozen and munch away. He became addicted to the bright neon orange stuff on Cheetos. I had to find a different way.

    • wetnosedogs profile image

      wetnosedogs 4 years ago from Alabama


      Fantastic hub.

      I found this a bit late and you and the hubbers who commented with all the delicious foods has just plain made me hungry! It all sounds so good!

      I won't offer my awful eating habits. This hub and the comments is just too great!

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Hi Annart! Thank you so much for commenting. That's the other thing I forgot to mention. My children go through a lot of water. We have single servings of flavored sugar-free drink pouches that go in the water too. Whenever we leave the house, we bring water and healthy snacks with us for the car ride.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 4 years ago from SW England

      This is such a sensible, practical hub, useful to every Mum (& grandma!) everywhere! It's common sense but so many don't think about it. Earlier meals, healthier snacks and useful recipes as well. I keep carrot sticks and the like in water in the fridge when my two little grandchildren are here for the day or longer. Brilliant!

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Hi Benjamin! Yes, salad is also a great idea. My children are more interested in the dressing, but they will eat their greens. :D

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Hi Joe! That does sound good, gooey caramel apples. Candied apples are one of my favorite childhood treats.

    • profile image

      Benjamin Chege 4 years ago

      Hi CraftytotheCore, beautiful hub. Having dinner ready is my first priority in keeping my child from requesting for unhealthy foods like french fries. You know when children have dinner in time, they are unable to eat too much junk. I also make some healthy snacks and encourage them to eat fruits and salad. Nice read.

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Hi, Brandi!

      You are such a prolific and versatile writer. What a wonderful mind you have! Thank you so much for triggering warm reminiscences of my children asking for apple slices and caramel; peanut butter and raisins on celery sticks (ants on a log); and gummy bears. I miss those days so much!

      Aloha, my talented friend!


    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      My daughter likes pretzels dipped in cream cheese too. My grandmother forbid me to cook. I didn't learn how until I was a mom after 30.

      I eat dinner with my husband around 5-6. If I eat any earlier, I would be hungry around 9 p.m. But my kids go to bed early, so it works out great!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      My brother and I would come home from school and make noodles with milk and butter or fried baloney sandwiches. My brother's favorite thing to make was a chicken cutlet sandwich. We ate late, too - 8:00. I still eat late. I've never been a 5:00 or 6:00 dinner person. That's just too early for me! (Celery is good stuffed with cream cheese, too)

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Those are wonderful ideas! Celery with peanut butter was one of my favorites as a child. When I was growing up, there were no snacks. An occasional Debbie cream pie. Dinner was at 7 p.m. Oh boy I can still remember the stomach growling! LOL

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Crafty, my son is now 21 but when he was little, I'd give him celery sticks stuffed with peanut butter or saltines with deli American cheese on top, or the old stand by PB&J. He also loved munching on carrot sticks. I'd keep Kix and Cheerios in the house and pistachios. I didn't buy chips back then, but I would buy pretzels, Cheezits and Gogurt. He didn't really develop a taste for junk food until he got older.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Thank you EP! My daughter has gotten very creative with sandwich making. She loves fresh veggies. Carrot shreds with lettuce on a whole wheat sandwich are some of her creations.

    • epbooks profile image

      Elizabeth Parker 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I don't have children, but you've listed great ideas. I love the cereal options. There are a lot of cereals out there thta are healthy and taste pretty good too! Nice job on this!

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Thank you Billy! I love chicken pot pie too. This one is pretty easy to make especially if I have leftover roasted chicken.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Those days are gone for me but your suggestions are excellent. We always ate an early dinner when I was raising my son alone. He went to the same school I taught at, and we would get home about 4:30 and eat immediately.

      Thanks for leaving a picture of chicken pot pie...that is one of my weaknesses...I love chicken pot pie! :)

      Have a great weekend B!

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Hi DDE! My son loves potato chips. He would eat them by the ton if I let him. I finally had to figure out a way to get him to stop snacking. By having dinner ready after school, it fills him up enough to where he is satisfied until the next morning.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      A wonderful idea here for snack time, sometimes children eat away right before bedtime and most parents don't realize how unhealthy that can be you have created a helpful, interesting and a useful hub indeed.