When I noticed how much more we’re charged for individualized packages of kid snacks compared to the volume of economy packages of the same snacks, I decided to figure out a way to quickly package snacks myself. This way I can still manage how much treat-type foods my kids are eating, but not paying for extra packaging that gets trashed. The key is variety…

1) Plan Ahead for Snacking:

  • Purchase a set or more of small plastic containers with seals, on sale or at the dollar store. Never leave large packages of party mix, chips or nuts, etc. in the pantry. Divide portions of snacks into reusable containers to control over-snacking and supply easy to pack treats for school or on the go.
  • Prepare healthy snacks that you want your kids to grab when you are busy. If you keep the “junk food” out of reach, or completely unavailable, your kids will take the easy way and find containers of snacks you leave for them in the fridge or pantry.

2) Replace “Junk-foods” with Easy to Use Healthy Snacks:

  • Make ahead dips like honey and peanut butter, cream cheese with strawberry puree, cottage cheese and peaches or whipped bananas with Dairy Whipped Cream can be quickly prepared using your “Bullet” or smoothie blender. Portion off into tiny plastic snack containers. Also portion off the dippers, like carrot and celery sticks, pretzels, apple slices and rice cakes.
  • Already cut-up sandwiches are a favorite after school, add some fruit to complete a healthy snack for study-time.

3) Food Warm-ups:

  • Make a large batch of rice, white, pilaf or brown rice. Divide portions into square or round sandwich sized containers.
  • Heat a favorite soup according to directions, vegetable, chicken and vegetable, beef stew or lentil…anything that will go well with rice.
  • Add to the top of the rice and seal up containers after cooling. Store stacked in the refrigerator, you can even label the tops with children’s names.

4) Make Left-overs appetizing:

  • You can also use pre-made macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes and gravy, left over spaghetti or salads.
  • Easier to grab and microwave than frozen foods, the kids will love finding them with their names on the covers.

5) Lower calorie sweet and salty treats:

  • Use your blender to create iced treats like pureed peaches, strawberries, blueberries or apples with a small amount of vanilla ice cream added to prevent solid freezing. Store in reusable freezer containers for portion control.
  • Bake your favorite party snack recipe, when no one is home, and store in individual portion containers or zip-lock baggies. Leave one-serving per family member in the pantry and store the rest in a larger container with a seal.
  • Some families prefer color-coding plastic container covers so younger family members know which containers belong to them.

~Deborah-Lynn s.