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Managing food that should be treats

Treat food are foods high in sugar, fat and salt.


  1. Cut down on treat foods, but don't ban them. Banning them makes them more appealing.
  2. Shopping is a danger time – just buy treats sometimes and don’t have a supply at home. If they’re not in the house, they can’t be eaten.   
  3. Keep the sweets cupboard or cookie jar out of sight – and out of mind.
  4. Tell family and friends you’re making changes so they know about the new routine.
  5. When you have sugary foods, eat them with a meal. It’s better for their teeth and means they won’t fill up on treats between meals
  6. Say the kitchen is closed when mealtimes are over, but allow them access to healthy snacks such as fruit, chopped vegetables and water and then send them off to play.
  7. In the long run, it's kinder to say no – don’t be afraid to say it!
  8. Praise them and offer non-food treats, like a game of football, a trip to the playground or disco-dancing at home.
  9. Limit the amount of treats by:
    • Getting into the habit of having them every second day or less
    • Keeping portions small – choose mini or snack versions
    • Offering healthy alternatives, such as water instead of sugary drinks or juice and fruit instead of sweets or chocolate.

2 chocolate bars

- Keep treats exactly that – treats! Not every day and not always food!

How many calories do treat foods contain?

showing treats and calories

Image from FSAI Healthy Eating Guidelines.

Typical serving.



a shouting young boy speech bubble about treat foods a stick boy waving

managing treats that should be treats:

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© The Food Safety Promotion Board