Summer is officially here. The kiddies are home! The humidity has set in! The kiddos are done with school for the year! The pools are open, and we can wear flip-flops everywhere. The kids are home, all day, every day! We’re invited to cookouts, watermelon and corn are staples. Did I mention that the kiddies are home?
Summer is officially here. The kiddies are home! The humidity has set in, hair is frizzy, and our AC bills are on the rise. The kiddos are done with school for the year! The pools are open, we can wear flip-flops everywhere, and Target is making a killing from my family alone replacing goggles every week. The kids are home, all day, every day! We’re invited to cookouts, watermelon and corn are staples, and it stays light till 9pm. Did I mention that the kiddies are home?
So, they’re around. A lot. And one of the very first things that stood out to me this first week of summer is, “Geez, my kids sure do want to eat a lot! Do they ask for snacks like this every hour at school? What’s the deal?” I guess it has to do with more activities; we’re outside and on the go a ton. I’m happy for them to play hard and be hungry. I’m happy for them to have a little snack (maybe not every hour of the day, but you know, when it’s appropriate). I do not, however, want to be in the kitchen, preparing food, every time they get a little craving. Shoot, though – I forgot, I still like to be in control of what they’re snacking on. Urgh, if it weren’t for that mother/control issue.
So, I’m going to make it easy for them to snack this summer. It will take a little work for me on the front end with preparation (because I’m not talking about those 100-calorie deals or a small bag of Doritos). But, the pay off is that it will be simple when the time comes to grab a snack. If they’ve just GOT to have that little something 30 minutes before dinner, at least it’s going to be healthy. If they’ve just GOT to have something on the way out the door on our way to lunch with friends, at least it’s going to be quick and easy, and healthy to boot.
The trick to the ease I’m after is in the portioning – take the time and portion your snacks out, have them ready, and when your supply gets low, restock. This way, the kids can just grab. For our portioning, I use Ziploc bags (can’t always be green), or little Glad Ware containers (truth be told, I really want to stock up on some of these).
But where to put these little goodies once you’ve got ‘em? We put a basket in the bottom of our pantry, and also dedicated a drawer in the fridge. The girls can get to them on their own, which was part of my goal.
As far as *what* goodies to provide, try these:
Make a batch, and divide it up in to snack-size portions. Stock in the pantry. (Get the recipe.)
Veggies and Ranch
Portion out the veggies (we love carrots, celery, cucumber, peppers) and put them right next to small, already portioned out containers of ranch dressing. Store in the fridge.
Do what you will, but we love this combo: peanuts, sunflower seeds, raisins, craisins, and M&M’s. Portion out, and stock in the pantry.
My girls totally dig this VEGGIE snack! Portion out, store in fridge.
(Or whatever “chip” is the going thing in your house – I like this because it’s not messy or crumbly, when we have to take our snacks in the car) – pre-divvied up in to portions. Stock in the pantry.
Obviously, I don’t make this one, but my girls love them, and I can’t help but be happy when they choose yogurt (that doesn’t involve a spoon) for a snack. Get rid of the box, and put them in the fridge drawer.
Another oldie but a goodie to have around. I discard the packaging and rip-them apart so it’s easier for them to just grab one.
Somehow, my kids seem more likely to go for a piece of fruit when they can get it themselves. For these, I put a bowl full on the counter in the kitchen, and more in the fridge. For younger children, and for bigger fruits (cantaloupe, watermelon), do the slicing and dicing, put in to a bag, and store this way.
Make a scrumptious dip to store next to apple slices or the like. (Get the recipe.)
Make a loaf, cut in to pieces, and then strips (approximately 1” by 4”), store in bags, in the fridge. Kids love it when you add chocolate chips in to the bread! (Get the recipe.)
Our favorites are blueberry or lemon – put a few in a bag, store in the fridge.
Rice Krispy Treats
Sliced and wrapped in plastic wrap and then foil – they even refrigerate and store well!
A healthy cookie can be a desired snack! Portion and stock in pantry.
Sweet Potato Chips
I do them myself, and they’re simple to make, but you can also buy them in the grocery store. Portion and stock in pantry.
Hard Boiled Eggs
Get them out of the shell, keep them in the fridge.
*These items store well so stock up!