Thursday, October 2, 2014


With a baby on the way and two kids FULL of energy and constantly hitting a new growth spurt, I decided it was time to get a bit more organized with their snacking situation. I'd like to say it's because I'm really into healthy eating and such, but really I am just too big and too uncomfortable to go help them get a snack EVERY. TEN. MINUTES.

 I think I spend a good chunk of my days distracting them from snacking. Either they get bored so they think about snacks, or they are completely off the wall and burn so much energy they are literally starving. I found myself just being too tired to care and being like, "um, sure, if you can find a snack yourself you can have it." This resulted in them frequently finding little candies or a giant spoonful of Nutella :).

I thought about getting snacks prepped, but in my mind that meant I'd just be spending more money and more time on them. So I was really obsessed about making sure that this was something I could actually keep up with and not have it break my food budget each week. After putting all this together and seeing how long it would actually take each week, I was shocked. It did not take long at ALL. The grapes might have taken the longest, but I don't actually know that because my kids prepped them for me and it took them about 5 minutes tops, and the ENTIRE food prep process took approximately 15 minutes (not including the yogurt buttons, but those seriously go by super fast, too) So, as for doing it and making sure it wasn't costing me a fortune, let me break it all down for you on why I chose each thing I did :).

First of all, I found a cool app called "Fooducate." You can scan items at the grocery store and it will give you an overall health "grade" of said item. You can click "why" it was given that grade and also click "alternatives" with a list of options that have a better grade. You can search items and add items and AH, it's just amazing.

We also just got a Mandolin Slicer to make the chopping/slicing go faster. However, I didn't use it for any of this prep and like I already said, it went by so fast. I'll test it out with the mandolin and see how much faster it makes everything. But I'm all about finding ways that everyone can do things with what they already have :). Anyway, moving on.


I really tried to think about what my family truly likes, plus a few things they think are only "okay" to see if my tactic would help them reach for the healthies a bit more. I also got the actual SNACK size bags so I wouldn't feel like I needed to fill up a full sandwich bag for just a snack. I was also worried about the cost of using so many bags, but with the exception of the ham&cheese and strawberries, I don't mind just rinsing them out and reusing them.  I chose:

Not pictured, because they didn't have any at the store when I went. I'm checking back later so I can slice them up for my oldest, she's the cucumber queen!

Also not pictured. I looked at many different ways to slice them without them turning brown, but most of them required to soak them in soda (and NOT rinse them before bagging them) or covering them in lemon juice. My kids like to eat an apple whole anyway, so they're just in the fruit drawer for them to pull out if they want instead of in a baggie and it's fine.

Really I don't ever plan on actually saving money on strawberries. It will always feel like I'm spending a ton on those haha.

Grape bags always come with SO MANY GRAPES. It's hard to buy a bag/package and feel like you didn't waste your money because it's nearly impossible to eat them all before they get gross. Plucking them, washing them and bagging them makes them feel more manageable and less wasted!

*Mandarin Orange cups (not the healthiest way to go about this one but I already had them so why not)

I use to buy the little bags of mini carrots or pre chopped. I'm not sure why I ever did that. I got the bag of a bunch of whole carrots for a buck and peeled/cut them myself. It seriously took me about 3 minutes, if that. 

*Snap peas
This is one of those "only okay" veggies to my family. They'll rarely get eaten if the full bag is just sitting in the fridge. But stick 'em in a little snack portion baggie (or in my case, I made a few "blended" baggies with the carrots) and it's so much easier to get yourself to eat them

*Cheese sticks and ham
OKAY. So this is probably my favorite. At first I thought, duh I'll get string cheese and some lunch meat. And then I thought about how much money that actually is and I was like nope, never mind. Especially since the lunch meat in the packaged meats section is usually ....... not even meat :(. Haha! I decided to just use the cheese I already buy and cut them into sticks myself. I used FOUR SLICES of cheese is all (once slice per bag). And as for the meat, I like to get black forest ham from the deli for ham & swiss slider sandwiches and sandwiches throughout the week anyway. So I honestly just got a little extra for the snacking and it cost me about $1.50 more. That was worth it to me not be giving them crap meat and also have enough on hand for extra things.

*Celery/Peanut butter
I actually didn't do this. My kids hate celery. *I* hate celery, and my husband likes celery as a way to lick peanut butter. I spent about 2 bucks on a package of 50 mini plastic cups with lids so I could have the option of adding dips to things, but didn't use it for this! 

*Boiled eggs
I do plan on doing this, I just didn't think about it until after I was all done bagging everything and I felt like what I had was enough for the week. 

*Cherry tomatoes
This would be a great idea....if my husband and littlest (the only ones in the family that like tomatoes) liked cherry tomatoes. Picky, picky, ;) I figure when my 3 year old requests a tomato for a snack I can handle cutting one up for her, since it probably won't be super often.

One thing I was worried about is that all the fruits/ham/cheese would disappear before the veggies. So my rules is that the veggies have to be gone before we can refill any of the other snacks the next week.


I purposely made this snack section smaller so they'd reach for the healthier items in the fridge more often (it works).  Clearly you could choose healthier options here.

*Fruit snacks
 The fruit snacks could be replaced with fruit leathers instead. But I honestly kind of hate those and I'm not going to pretend like it's worthy my money. They are the most sticky pieces of crap ever, despite how healthy they are. Sorry. Plus, with these being the most sugary treat out the box, I can use them as leverage; "you can have a snack from the fridge but if you want a fruit snack you'll need to put your clothes away first. " HA

*Granola bars
There are definitely healthier granola bars in this world, but almost all of them are secretly not even that healthy, and the ones that actually, truly might as well eat some cardboard or dry oatmeal. So I opted for a kind that's tasty and on sale :). I got 10 of these for 2 bucks, vs. $5 for 4 of the "healthy" ones. Plus, these are macaroon style would be hard to tell me to get any other kind :)

Because kids like pretzels and they're about a million dollars cheaper than goldfish (I hate you, goldfish). 

*Graham Crackers/Nutella
So this is where those little cups came in. I got to control the portion of Nutella and you can come up with so many things to dip in it. (I considered putting a veggie dip in with the carrots in the fridge, but unless it was going to be ranch, making the whole thing unhealthy, it wasn't going to happen. Committing to making a hummus dip or something every week ....I just know myself, and that's not going to happen).

Not a ton here, but this is what I've started with!

*Yogurt buttons
I know you've seen these on Pinterest everywhere. But I just knew that they'd probably melt so freakin' fast and make them not worth my time. But when my kids started living for GOGURTS every evening for dessert, I was desperate for a cheaper alternative. I made these up (so so SO fast to make) and stored them in the freezer. When my kids are ready for "dessert" (no joke, they call it dessert) I just dump a little handful into those mini cups with a spoon and they feel like the luckiest kids in the world. Plus they got to choose their own flavors. Basically, I can make about 50 "buttons" with one cheap yogurt vs. dropping money on gogurts that are unnecessarily expensive. My only advice is to try and get yogurt that doesn't have chunks of fruit in them. It makes it difficult to squeeze out of the bag when you're making the dots :).

*Banana Peanut Butter Ice Cream
I made this a long time ago and it was really good. I decided to make it again and couldn't believe I don't make it regularly! It is literally bananas and peanut butter. That's it.  (2 frozen bananas sliced and 2 T peanut butter.) When you first make it, it's a really really thick shake texture (which is great, and can pass for an ice cream), but I put mine in the freezer so it can turn into REAL creamy, delicious ice cream.Clearly  my husband loves it since he stole some before I could get to it for a picture!

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