An Indiana mom-of-three has shared an ingenious “snack hack” for coaxing kids cooped up at home—without nagging—to go easy on the snacks, whether during school closures or after classes. The hack has spread like wildfire on social media.
“It’s frustrating when you know they aren’t hungry and they’re just eating out of boredom,” mom Jen Hallstrom, 31, told Today Parents. To curtail the constant snack attacks, Hallstrom devised a way to put her kids—Karley, 11, Wyatt, 7, and Millie, 2—in charge of their own cravings.
Each of Hallstrom’s children were given their own colored basket, in which the savvy mom puts their snacks for the day every single morning. Each child is then tasked with spacing out their snacks—with fruit being a firm favorite—as they see fit.
Hallstrom first shared her hack on Facebook in spring of 2020, during the lockdown.
“When those snacks are gone they don’t get any more,” she explained in the now-viral post. “It makes them stop and think, ‘Do I really need a snack?’”
Hallstrom, to save on washing up, also designates a drinking cup to each of her kids in the morning, which she puts in their basket beside their snacks. Her eldest kids, she said, have responded “extremely well” to the system. Her toddler, however, can sometimes be found scouring the cupboards for extra treats.
Hallstrom’s hack, while massively well-received, didn’t escape the critics. Responding to concerns about her kids’ diets as a whole, the mom added to her post.
“I didn’t think I had to say this but my children eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner,” she clarified. “They are well-fed and I don’t starve them.
“Also in no way, shape, or form am I fat shaming my children,” she added, “I just don’t have the luxury of spending $400 on just snacks for a week.”
As the pandemic impelled many people to work from home, Hallstrom’s hack found an alternate audience in adults wanting to control their own habit of boredom-eating. Thirty-five-year-old mom-of-three Erin Merryn, of Illinois, praised the hack for being a life-changer. “It solved one of my biggest frustrations,” she claimed, speaking to Today
Snack hack guru Hallstrom also runs a Christian mommy blog, The Jen Life, where she shares more of her tips and tricks for happy, healthy parenting.