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We asked parents for practical tips on how to reduce treat foods. Here’s what they said…

Children are not allowed to take snacks from the cupboard themselves. They have to ask for it and I decide if they can have one.”

I tell them you’re not getting it…end of discussion…and they don’t ask for it anymore…you have to be firm.”

They get snacks and unhealthy foods everywhere (friends, grandparents, neighbours)…the one place you as a parent can have total control is the house.”

I give mine a choice of money for small sweets now or they can save it for loom bands at the weekend…and I stick with the consequences so if one goes for sweets and one saves the money…only one is getting bands at the weekend…of course now they almost always save it.”

Whenever you are challenged with a request saying ‘can I have’ whatever, have an alternative you can offer them.”

Alternatives can be anything. They’re always looking for something or they always NEED something as they put it…so use that. So whenever they say, ‘I need more loom bands or a new game, I say well if you’re good for x amount of time you can get it, or you can save your weekly treat money for that’.


  • Offer alternatives and make your children feel like they’re choosing
  • Don’t buy treats so they are not in the house
  • Defer or delay giving it to them (not until you clean your room or not until Friday)
  • Only give it to them as rewards for good behaviour
  • Give them smaller portions (half a bag of crisps in a bowl rather than a whole portion out of the pack)
  • Have defined treat days/times, for example, only on Fridays or at the weekend or only after their activity or after school
  • Make sure you follow through
  • Keep at it and don’t give in
  • Be consistent

© The Food Safety Promotion Board