Snack Attack!

Snack Attack! May 16, 2012

This week (and let’s face it, this season in general!), we have a lot of commitments outside the house which are going to interrupt our meal times and require my children to have a hearty, healthy snack which might substitute for lunch or dinner and get them through a concert, ballet rehearsal or long day of sports.  To avoid the temptation to hit Chik-fil-A on a daily basis, I thought I would set up a snack plan.

I don’t usually buy a lot of prepared foods, so a quick grab and go snack in our family can be difficult, but yesterday I went to the grocery store to pick up some things for snacks.  I bought graham crackers, granola bars, cheddar bunnies, cookies, basically a lot of food in boxes.  Boy, was I surprised when I got to the check out — a week worth of snacks for our family of six children cost almost as much as a regular weeks groceries!  Now, since some of these are meal replacements, I will spend less on groceries, but still, I can’t spend that much every week all summer!

My little kids were begging for the snacks that they know are in the pantry, but I don’t want them snacking all the time and also I don’t want them eating all of this expensive, prepared food when we are at home!

Also, my big children complain that when a snack comes out — cheddar bunnies, for example, the littles eat so much, so fast, that the ones actually doing the activity don’t get enough to eat.
We need a plan.

Well, providentially, I just happened to see a well organized pantry snack bin pinned on BMama’s pinterest board this morning which has given me hope and some new ideas.  I am not putting up the picture here, because I am still not really clear on pinterest and copyright, so you will have to use your imagination.

Here is what went in my bin:

POPCORN.  Why didn’t I think of that? Now, we have an air popper, so I can make popcorn in no time, it is healthy and cheap!  I popped 1/3 cup of popcorn this morning and put it into 6 little baggies.  Next, I took a my box of Newman’s Ginger-Os, and placed the cookies, 3 at a time, into 6 baggies.  NEXT TIME I WILL JUST BAKE A BATCH OF COOKIES! I divided up the cheddar bunnies into bags as well, and one box was more than enough for 6 bags.  I put a two handfuls of raw almonds into each of six bags.  I opened a box of granola bars and put them in.  I put the leftover Easter candy in.  Now, we have a bin of snacks. I added 6 small tupperware type containers, empty.

Then, I made a “Pack-a-Snack” chart and put it in on the fridge.  It says that your snack bag should contain:

1- fruit or vegetable (there are cut up cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, baby carrots, and berries prepped in the fridge, or you can grab an apple, pear or orange slices.  This goes into one of the tupperwares)

1-protein (string cheese, sliced cheddar, small yogurt, almonds or peanut butter sandwich)

1-bottle of water (in a reusable bottle)

2-bags from the snack bin

Because of the way that I divided up the snacks, the prepared food that I bought is going to last about twice as long as I expected and be mixed in with some healthier foods that we would eat at home.  From now on, when someone brings us baked goods, I am going to repackage and add them to the snack bin.  I am also going to try at least once a week to have one of the kids bake something (cookies, banana bread) that can be a snack bin addition.

When the baby is born, we will have a few desperate weeks where the snacks will be prebagged chips from Sam’s club, but I consider that an alternative form of “hired help”.  In the meantime, I can do a little bit of homemade to stretch the snack budget and also, by preportioning the snacks and creating a little meal menus, I make sure that my kids don’t turn orange from a steady diet of junkfood on busy days!

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  • Kellie “Red”

    I just realized that baked goods can go a LONG way towards healthy snacking. I make VERY healthy GF banana bread (mostly almond and brown rice flour and only 2 T of honey for sweetner!). This has eggs in it and is a very hearty bread. I bake one loaf and sliced up it serves as either lunch or dinner. I have a similar recipe for pumpkin muffins. The key seems to be using a high protein flour.

    I am also able to buy a large bag of already washed a sliced green beans at my grocery store. Combine these with carrots and some nuts, and it’s a meal.

    Finally, I purchase kind bars by the full package, and these are a very healthy granola bar option (also GF). Can you tell going GF has made me rethink purchased snacks. It is hard for us to just hit a fast food place so I simply purchase some quick go to stuff like this (peanut butter crackers are another great one!) and then we are set when the schedule gets busy.

  • I love kind bars, but for some reason my kids won’t eat them. They are often my go to meal when pregnant and busy. I buy them in large packs on Amazon.

  • JMB

    I buy 2 doz mini bagels at the bagel shop on Sunday, and use them throughout the week for snacks. You can put butter, cream cheese or peanut butter on them.

  • BMM

    Are you able/willing to share the GF banana bread and pumpkin muffins recipes? Sound great!

  • Juris Mater

    Are kind bars basically trail mix in bar form?

  • maryalice

    More or less. They taste amazing, though. Trail mix would be a great addition to our snack basket, as would some fun cereals that they don’t usually get to have, like Life, in little bags.

    I realized that I need to buy more reusable bags because we are going through way too many ziplocks.

    What do you pack for school lunch?

  • Kate e

    My guys like pita chips and little containers of hummus (big container scooped into the littlest ziploc ones). Also they are oddly crazy about hard boiled eggs and you can make a dozen at a time (j likes his with crazy salt). Ditto mini bagels. Applesauce (can scoop into the ziploc tubs again from a big jar or homemade). Also they like to dip pretzels, carrots, etc in sunbutter which is good if you have nut allergen friends you are worried about.

  • maryalice

    I’ll have to investigate sun butter, eliminating nut allergens was a problem recently for choir snack — no dairy, no nuts allowed.

  • Kellie “Red”

    BMM–Here is my banana bread recipe–
    3 bananas
    3 eggs
    1 T vanilla
    1 T Honey
    1/4 cup butter or other oil
    2 cups GF flour (I use Pamela’s Baking Mix ordered in bulk from amazon. You can use a mixture of almond/rice/tapioca/potato/amaranth flour).
    1/2 t salt
    2-3 teaspoons of baking powder (depending upon what flours you use and your preference)

    Mix wet ingredients together for 3 minutes in mixer. Briefly mix in dry ingredients. Pour into greased bread pan. Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10-20 minutes, remove from pan and slice.

  • Kellie “Red”

    Here is my Pumpkin Muffin Recipe–

    8 T butter, melted
    4 eggs
    1/2 cup to 3/4 cup sugar (to taste)
    1/2 t cloves
    1 t salt
    1 t ginger
    2 t cinnamon
    2 cups pumpkin puree (I buy an organic canned pumpkin puree at my supermarket)
    2 2/3 cups Pamela’s Baking Flour Mix (I purchase in bulk on Amazon)
    2 t baking powder

    Mix all wet ingredients and spices. Mix in flour and baking powder. Scoop into 24 muffin cups (use a liner). Bake for approx. 30 minutes at 375 or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. My kids LOVE these.

  • Kellie “Red”

    I just did, see below comments. Enjoy!

  • JMG

    An alternative to Kind bars are Lara bars. It’s mostly only dates and nuts. No sugar or honey added to it and they’re delicious.

  • Kate e

    Nora my 2 yr old loves Lara bars. Just the cherry one though. Loves.

  • Juris Mater

    School lunches right now = nothing to be proud of. I don’t want to scandalize peoples’ all natural and organic sensibilities : ) Mostly packaged carbs and processed pig meat, we’ll leave it at that.

  • BMM

    Awesome! Thanks so much! 🙂

  • I just ordered a case of cherry Lara bars to try, figuring that if we don’t like them, Nora can have the leftovers!