Parents are hiding their snacks so their kids don’t steal them

As a parent, getting alone time with your snacks takes some effort. Maybe not quite this much effort, but close.
As a parent, getting alone time with your snacks takes some effort. Maybe not quite this much effort, but close.
Photo: Kristina Williamson (Getty Images)

One of the most pervasive changes COVID-19 has wrought is how much (or how little) time we’re spending with our friends, families, loved ones, and acquaintances. With the exception of hermits (who probably don’t get what the big deal is) all of our normal patterns of interaction have been obliterated, and that’s particularly true for parents who are now constantly at home with their children. Facing an onslaught of demands and the rapid depletion of whatever snack foods might be in the house, parents are now doing everything in their power to find a minute, a second, alone, not only to have one moment of peace but to snack in solitude, free from partners or little ones breathing down their neck. And, as it turns out, the car is a great place to do that.

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Wasa, a Swedish company that makes a wide variety of traditional crackers you’ve likely already tried (or read about in our story on Swedish cuisine), recently commissioned a study from the public relations firm Zeno Group to examine how the pandemic has impacted snack consumption among parents. Data were gathered from an online poll of 1,000 parents (n=1,000) in the U.S. between July 2 and July 6, and the findings had a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points.

Wasa’s poll—which unfortunately is not public-facing—unsurprisingly found that snack consumption is up: 57% of survey respondents said that they’re snacking more now than they were at the start of the pandemic, while 66% reported that they are now so busy it’s hard to prioritize healthy eating. And the results continue on like that, occasionally sprinkled with interesting nuggets, such as 3:47 PM being the exact time parents prefer to have a snack, and 24% of respondents reporting the perfect place to snack is in bed (which seems more to me like a symptom of depression than a true snack location preference). Until, suddenly, at the very, very end of the report, Wasa reveals the following:

Even with sharing going on, parents still like to keep somethings just for themselves. And sometimes that means hiding the best snacks from the kids, because 85% of parents agree if they eat a snack in front of their kids, their kids will want to eat too.

To keep the best snacks to themselves, 79% of parents say they have hidden or disguised a snack to keep their kids from eating it. Among those that have hidden snacks, the most popular hiding spaces are: Top Shelf (51%), In My Bedroom (48%), In My Car (28%), Disguised As Another Snack (21%)

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This is amazing, and should absolutely have been the centerpiece of the report. A whopping “79% of parents say they have hidden or disguised a snack to keep their kids from eating it”, and that is nothing short of incredible. If you’re reading this and are a parent, are you hiding snacks from your kids and eating them alone in your car? And more importantly, are you disguising your good snacks as other, lesser snacks, and if so, how are you carrying out that deception? Inquiring minds want to know!

Jacob Dean is a food and travel writer and psychologist based in New York. He likes beer, less traveled airports, and is allergic to grasshoppers (the insect, not the mixed drink.)

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DISCUSSION

itzbezzy
flying wombat

i don’t have any kids to hide snacks from, but i have been known from time to time to hide the last bit of nutella or string cheese from my significant other by putting it in the vegetable drawer in the fridge. he would never venture in there, so if i want it for later, it’s safe.