Snack Wars – Tips For Healthy Eating

by Jamie Lieberman

At a recent BBQ, I glanced over and saw my twenty month old son eating a handful of potato chips. Since I prefer that he eat healthier foods, I intervened and took them away (wondering who on earth gave them to him). Another mother made a comment under her breath that a little bit of junk food wouldn’t kill him (mystery solved as to how he got those chips).

Snack Wars - Healthy Eating on the Go

Kill him? Probably not. But, while he is little, I am trying to instill good eating habits that he can hopefully apply in the future – apparently, a lofty goal. Never one to shy away from a challenge, I have come up with some strategies to keep my son’s food options healthy.

  • Read labels. Sounds like a no brainer, but take a lesson from me, read all labels. Recently I discovered the “whole wheat” healthy bread I bought contained high fructose corn syrup, which is not something I want my son to eat if I can help it.
  • Write it down. Keep a running list of healthy options that you can always fall back on. When you are in a rush, you won’t need to think about it, taking the stress out of snack time.
  • Take a stand. This one is, by far, the toughest one to implement. It requires you to say no when a very kind stranger offers your child a cookie. Or another mother offers a snack at a play date that you would prefer your little one avoid. It takes a lot of finesse to avoid hurting another person’s feelings, but I find that a simple “thank you so much for the offer, but my son cannot eat X” works beautifully.
  • Bring your own. I now carry a myriad of snacks so I can offer my son an alternative if other kids are eating something I would prefer he not eat. This strategy is a win/win. He gets to eat a snack he loves and I get to control what it is. He doesn’t even know the difference!

Your Turn: How do you help your little one eat healthy?

Jamie is a mom, wife, lawyer, professor and writer. These days, you can find her either writing for her website, playing with her son or teaching writing at Seton Hall School of Law.

Email Author    |    Website About Jamie Lieberman

Jamie is an intern for 5 Minutes for Mom. She is also a co-founder and writer for twohappymamas. When she is not playing with her son or teaching, you can also find her on Twitter or on Facebook.

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Bonnie Way June 30, 2013 at 6:09 pm

Great tips! I’d also suggest finding a mom with goals similar to yours. Our neighbour is vegan and she’s introduced my daughters to some very healthy snacks – like tofu sesame sticks and asparagus (yes, she had my three-year-old, who admittedly loves all green vegetables, eating asparagus like it was candy).


2 Susan July 1, 2013 at 12:51 am

I totally agree Bonnie about how helpful the influence of other healthy families can be. When Julia was 2 years old, she started eating california sushi rolls with a friend and ever since she has loved sushi.


3 Karla July 2, 2013 at 8:09 pm

To avoid giving in to the temptation of eating unhealthy snacks, it is definitely better to bring your own snacks.


4 Ned July 3, 2013 at 4:55 am

taking a stand can be so tough… but sometimes you just got to say no!


5 Jamie July 4, 2013 at 8:38 pm

So true! That is the hardest thing for me.


6 lizzy July 4, 2013 at 9:16 am

I usually have healthier snacks in my purse when my kids get hungry. What they put in their body now stays with them.


7 Michelle July 4, 2013 at 10:20 am

Wow dont you love it when other people comment on your kids eating habits ha ! always having fruit on hand, veggies washed and cut up at all times with dips like hummus, yogurt, granola bars in your purse, and if there has to be chips involved at least baked options are good!


8 Jamie July 4, 2013 at 8:40 pm

Great ideas! It always surprises me when other people make comments, but I just try to smile and ignore it. Better to take the high road!


9 Josh Brancek July 5, 2013 at 2:09 am

Wow, some of these snacks look so tasty!!!!


10 Tammy S July 6, 2013 at 10:35 am

Great tips. I really like the write it down. I am the Queen of lists. I keep all kinds of lists on my phone so I have them in a crunch. This would be a great way to help me out.


11 Anne Lehnick July 7, 2013 at 12:18 pm

I don’t think I’ve ended up with someone giving my littles ones a snack I don’t want them to have. That’s not cool. We usually eat at home so we are the ones making the choices for the kids. I buy lots of fruit because I can’t get them to eat too many vegetables. If we have an indulgent snack like ice cream, we are careful about the portion sizes.


12 Mary Dailey July 9, 2013 at 6:21 pm

If you introduce children to healthy snacks early, they will have a better chance because they won’t really like gooey stuff later since they won’t be used to them. Save the cake for birthdays.


13 Lina July 9, 2013 at 10:28 pm

Great tips- especially about having a list of healthy snacks! I often forget some of the foods we always have around the house that are simple and healthy – those should be my first choice to reach for!


14 Earlene Blosser July 11, 2013 at 5:23 pm

These tips are really helpful. I really like the last one saying “bring your own”. I believe that if you really want to eat healthy you need to make snacks for yourself.


15 Christine Derrel July 17, 2013 at 1:40 am

I always try to stay away from sugar rich foods, as they are high in calories!!!


16 Ana Gaze July 25, 2013 at 3:24 pm

Yes! Nice Post! I always bring my snacks too! I have two little daughters and I really wish they start from now on to eat healthier things!


17 Sahil February 17, 2014 at 12:35 pm

Thanks for a great snack recipe, the best part is snack is with less calories.


18 Lara Darlington June 5, 2014 at 11:14 pm

Our little one is still a bit young to be going to parties, but I’ve seen so many other moms (including my sister) have to deal with this one. I think setting a great example is one of the most important things you can do as a parent, to model behavior and teach your children to stand up for what’s important.

So whilst you are right a little something every now and again isn’t going to cause any long term damage, the principle is important. Its a delicate balance and one that I think will always be challenging.


19 bua an hoan hao June 9, 2014 at 3:30 am

thanks! I really like the write it down


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