How to Manage Pre-Dinner Snacks

Written By Amber Hodges, June 2021

Instagram: @amberhodges22

I don’t know about you, but raising three boys hit my bank account hard when it came to the grocery budget. They. Never. Stop. Eating. After school was the worst, because they came home ready to eat, and my pantry turned into a revolving door while I was trying to prep dinner.  Kids wanting to eat everything in sight, and demanding assistance to reach what they were after. The whole thing was enraging, and one day I was sure I was about to lose my mind.  Something had to change, or we were going to need a second mortgage on our house, and I was going to need to be admitted to the psychiatric unit. I implemented the concept of the snack tray, and we’ve never looked back.  

The snack tray is just a veggie tray with each compartment filled with different snacks. The rules are as follows: 

  • Nothing in the snack tray is refilled — once it’s gone, it’s gone.
  • Nothing else in the house is to be eaten — your snacks are out, and when it’s gone the frenzy is finished.
  • Everyone shares — no need to be ravenous, there is plenty to go around.

The snack tray eliminated all of the demands for specific treats that they couldn’t reach in the pantry, saved my grocery budget because the endless eating ceased, and gave them something to eat while still leaving them hungry for dinner. I try to balance the tray with healthy snacks AND snacks they beg for, like Oreos. Below you’ll find some ideas of things to fill the snack tray with:

Goldfish crackers


Veggie straws






String cheese



Mini marshmallows

Chocolate chips

Dried fruit



Fruit snacks




Sweet Peppers and ranch dip


Pizza pockets

Chicken nuggets

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