It is 4:00 p.m. Your kids come rushing through the door from school and the first words you hear are “Mom!!!!! I’m Hungry!!” They run to the pantry or fridge and then stare blankly at what is inside. They aren’t sure what to have to eat. You intervene and help them figure something out and finally, after 15 minutes of empty stares, your child finally finds something to eat.
Fortunately for us, this is not the case! My kids never have to ask what they can eat for a snack nor do they say we’ve got nothing to eat. How? Simple. We use a snack basket.
PANTRY SNACK BASKET
I’ve actually used this practice since my oldest was around 2 years old. I found a wicker basket and filled it with mom-approved snacks. Then, when she was hungry, we would go to the basket to find something to eat. We’ve kept this going now for nearly 8 years and it still works as well today as it did back then!
It is really easy to make one yourself. It will take a few minutes each week to stock it and then, your kids will know what to grab to eat after school or on the way out the door to soccer practice (which saves you time and sanity).
I pick up the items my kids like to eat. Sometimes they are individually wrapped, but often, they are in a large box. When I get home, I read the side where it tells me a serving size. With most crackers, it always says a number, rather than a measurement. I have found that, in most cases, the number they share is around 1/2 cup. That makes it simple to make servings for my kids.
I pick up snack size baggies and then use a measuring cup and fill them up. Then, stack them into the basket. That’s it!
By measuring serving sizes, you help make sure your kids don’t over eat and can keep the portions to a size that is appropriate for them. When my kids were younger, the bags were not filled quite as fully as they are now that they are older. They also know they get one snack.
ADD A BASKET TO THE FRIDGE
Um, Tracie? What about fruit and other items? That is simple as we keep a snack drawer in our fridge too! That is where we have fruit, cheese sticks, yogurt cups, yogurt sticks and those types of snacks. My kids know that they can go to either basket to find a snack — without having to ask mom if it is “OK.”
There are also days when they walk through the door where I will say — “Today is fridge snack day” and they know to go there and find a snack from that drawer instead.
Related: 22 Healthy Kids Snack Ideas
They love the independence it provides to them and I love that I don’t have to stop to find them something to eat after school. It really makes our after school routine a bit simpler and keeps us on schedule so that they are not eating too closely to dinner, and ruining their appetite!