Business Insider Edition

A blogger shared the genius fridge hack she uses to get her kids to eat healthy snacks, and it's going viral

Talia Lakritz , Business Insider US
 Sep 22, 2019, 03:58 PM
Sarah Hornung's "self-serve" fridge hack in action.
  • Sarah Hornung works as a school administrator, is the mother of two boys, and writes a blog called The Eager Teacher about personal and professional organisation.
  • Her recent post about organising her fridge with accessible "self-serve" snacks for her kids went viral.
  • She says healthy self-serve snack options teach her kids independence, prevent meltdowns and arguments over what they want to eat, and make her life easier.
  • For more stories go to

With toddlers, every snack time can be a battle. But one mom has found that encouraging independence through a genius fridge hack has helped avoid arguments and foster her kids' independence.

Sarah Hornung is a former teacher who works as a school administrator in Buffalo, New York. She's also the mother of two boys with another child on the way, and writes a blog called The Eager Teacher about personal and professional organisation. When she shared a photo of how she organises her fridge around kid-friendly "self-serve" snacks, the post was shared over 68,000 times.

The concept is simple: prepare a variety of healthy snacks in advance so that they're completely ready to eat, stock them in containers on low refrigerator shelves, and allow kids to help themselves.

Hornung realised that having easily-accessible snacks ready to go could make evenings in her house easier for everyone.

"My kids will come home from daycare or school and they're starving," she said. "They melt down, and I'm trying to make dinner, so I would get them home and try to start scrambling to cut up cucumbers and it would be too late. By the time I would actually be able to wash the grapes or whatever it is, they would already be melting down and I'd be throwing Goldfish at them. I realised I need to be ahead of the game."

Hornung buys snacks like cheese sticks and yogurt in bulk and rotates in different seasonal fruits and vegetables. It takes a little bit of extra time to prepare and organise everything in advance, but Hornung finds that it's worth the effort.

Preparing the self-serve snacks in advance saves time and prevents arguments.

"It seems to have taken off because every parent is looking for anything to make their life easier but also have healthy options in the house," she said. "Yes, you can go out and buy pre-packaged bags of crackers and cookies and snacks, but if you want things to be convenient and fresh and healthy, you do have to put in a little bit of prep time. That's something that I commit to every week because it makes our life easier."

Some commenters on her post asked if making snacks "self-serve" would allow kids to overindulge or burn through the stocked items too quickly. Hornung hasn't found that to be the case.

"They eat when they're hungry and they stop when they're not because it's accessible, so it doesn't feel off-limits," she said. "These are the options and you know these are always the options, and it removes the back-and-forth negotiating that toddlers are known for doing."

It's not just her kids who benefit from the prepared snacks - Hornung herself finds it helpful for making healthy choices.

"When you are that hungry or that busy, you truly need grab-and-go. I even saw some people commenting 'I'm 30 and I would still need this to be able to be successful,'" she said. "I can't tell you how much produce we used to waste because I had good intentions and I'd buy it. But ultimately if I don't wash it and have it ready to go, no one's going to eat it, including myself. It's not just for kids, but for everybody."

Receive a daily email with all our latest news: click here.

Also from Business Insider South Africa:

  • Indicators
  • JSE Indexes

Get the best of our site delivered to your inbox every day.

Sign Up