Thursday, August 22, 2013

Creating a Snack Station

        Eating is such a routine and natural thing... so why is it that I get so irritated when the kids ask for snacks? Anyone who has spent time with my children, know that Piper's favorite word is "' 'nack". It seems each time they beg for food our minds go into overload with all the questions:
-What do we have?  -Is that even good for them?  -Do we have anything?  -Didn't they just eat?  -Is there enough for everyone?  -Didn't I just buy a bunch of snacks?

    The general problem is not knowing what you have on hand. (Seems to be the problem with dinner too!!) Then when you think of something, you offer it and get turned up noses. I only have two kids (and a third that seems to live here), but I decided that I'd come up with a snack station to rid me of all this irritation. So here you go.

This is what my snack stations looks like: dry and cold


What you need:
snack size ziplocks
big container(s) or baskets to store pre-bagged snacks
  -I got mine at the dollar store.
small containers for things that won't work in bags
...and lots of snacks!

     I opened my cupboards and took out anything considered "snack worthy". I made up a batch of jello, added my own canned pears, and poured into 1/2c. containers. Then I mixed up some of the things into trail mix like concoctions. What you choose to use for snacks will obviously depend on your kids likes, and your health/allergy preferences. The amount of snacks you have ready will vary as well. How often will you be able to replenish the snack bins? How many kids and snacks do you hand out in a day?

     I might have gone a little overboard to start mine up, but I didn't want to have to add a lot right after starting this whole idea. I figure each time I go shopping I'll have a couple new things to portion and add. I DO have a bigger bin with extra portions made up of certain things, that didn't fit into the bins e.g. one bag of popped popcorn gave me nine portioned bags. If you think it might take a while to go through your snack supply, it might be a good idea to date some items. I decided to make a few "healthy" options that stay in the fridge, and I have dates on those.

     Once you have the snacks bagged up, you'll want to come up with a system (at least something basic). For my youngest, I have set times for her to have snack. She gets to pick ONE bag, but from the bin that I choose. After school, each kid gets to choose ONE snack, usually from all the choices. When the bag is gone, snack is done. I think it's important to teach our kids that a snack is not meant to "fill you up". It's simply nutrition to keep you going until the next meal.

     I thought I'd also mention that when it come to drinks in our house, I have some basic guidelines that make things easier (for me AND the kids). We have milk with breakfast and lunch, and juice with dinner. Any other time we have water, and everyone has their own water bottle. -I'm not washing 25 cups a day. ...and if you look in the picture, I found these nifty water bottles that have snack cups that attach to the bottom of the water bottle!! We haven't left a snack cup outside yet, and with color coded bottles/cups, they are better about reusing the cups. Anything making less dishes for Mom is a win in this house.

    Here's some ideas to start your mommy gears turning:
Salty: Chips, Tortilla Chips, Crackers, Pretzels, Goldfish
Sweet: Graham Crackers, Animal Crackers, Cereals, Dried Fruit
Frozen Yogurt Tubes, Sliced Apples (spray with sprite to keep from browning), Cherry Tomatoes, Pepperoni, Cheese, Jello, Canned Fruits, Carrots, Celery, Olives, Cubed Ham
Trail Mix Ideas: 
-Cheerios, Peanuts, Raisins, Craisins
-Goldfish, Corn Nuts, Pumpkin Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Peanuts

     Now gather your snacks that you know are hiding in your cupboards, and get it together! Help us out with any other good snack ideas I missed.

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