MinCamp Task #10 – Encourage independent snacking

Today’s task is to identify three healthy snacks your kids can either prepare or serve themselves. Obviously the particulars of this task will depend on your kids’ ages and dietary requirements. Adjust as necessary to fit your family’s circumstances. The point is to plant the seeds of kitchen competence in your children, no matter how simply you begin.

What you’ll need

  • An array of healthy snack options
  • Small reusable containers your kids can easily open

What to do now

  1. Brainstorm snack ideas. Quiz your kids for ideas. Think in terms of balancing out the day’s nutrition. Individual servings of fruit, cut veggies, crackers with cheese or nut butter, hummus, hard-boiled eggs, a half sandwich, yogurt cups…all good. We prefer to distinguish between snacks and treats; snacks are mini-meals; treats are treats.
  2. Choose three snacks and think about how to make them kid-accessible. If your kids are young, this may mean preparing the snack yourself and storing it in individual portions at kid-height in the refrigerator or pantry. Older kids can peel and or cut fruit and veggies, cube cheese, and make simple sandwiches.
  3. Store kid-friendly utensils, plates, bowls and cups on a low shelf or drawer in the kitchen.The more kids can help themselves, the more competent (and confident) they will become.
  4. Show your kid where to find the snacks and (if need be) how to prepare them. The amount of time this step takes will vary. As with assigning chores, sometimes there’s a learning curve…and some resistance, especially if kids are unaccustomed to serving themselves. Stay positive and remind your kids that you’re not backing away or refusing to help, you’re teaching them real-life, grownup skills.
  5. Sit back and watch how it plays out. How are things going after the first few days? After the first week? Adjust the snacks, the packaging, and the presentation as necessary to move toward the eventual goal of independent snacking and cleanup. Trial and error is your friend. You’re in this for the long haul.


Ha ha, asking a two year old what they want to eat is almost impossible.  Right now ALL he wants are hot dogs, nuggets, oranges and cheese.

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