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Treats provide on average 20% of the calories in childrens’ diets, and it should be a lot less than that. If you think it’s time to start making changes check out our 10 tips for getting started.

10 tips for getting started

  1. Think of this as a long-term solution rather than a quick fix
  2. Decide on your family’s goal – use our treats diary to see how many treats your children eat and then decide where you would like to be

  3. Start gradually and don’t make too many strict rules at once. Cut down on treat foods, but don’t ban them as this only makes them more appealing
  4. Let your child know what the limits are – how often and how much, and explain why you are making these new rules
  5. Be firm and stick to the limits as best as you can
  6. Avoid having fatty and sugary snack foods or drinks freely available
  7. Say no in the supermarket – If they’re not in the house, they can’t be eaten
  8. Tell your family and friends that you’re making changes so they know about the new routine
  9. Practise what you preach. Children are more likely to learn from how you behave rather than from what you tell them. If your child sees you eating an apple as a snack and enjoying it, they will be tempted to try one
  10. Incentivise your children to make the changes using non-food rewards. For younger children, our treats reward chart might help.

   the amount of treats kids eat per week








When dealing with requests for treat foods

  • Be firm but fair, consistent and calm
  • Use informative tones. Try to say no without getting cross
  • Use positive language, e.g. "have a banana" instead of "you can’t have crisps". Focus on the behaviour you want rather than what you don’t want them to do
  • If they say they are hungry between mealtimes, offer them something nutritious like fruit, yoghurt or popcorn


© The Food Safety Promotion Board