Today’s post is sponsored by Grocery Outlet. [hr]
PLEASE tell me this nonsense does not just happen at my house?
Most kiddos are back in school, and you awesome mommas are packing all their food into their cute little lunch boxes for the day, or are at home with them feeding them throughout the day. Either way, you are shopping, prepping, and serving snacks every day.
So to make snack prep a little easier, I put together a couple super simple prep ideas for you! Obviously, this starts with the shopping….
I hit Grocery Outlet in Sparks this week (for my first time ever!) to see what I could come up with in the way of snacks for the next week or two (aiming for two is always idealistic with four kids…most things don’t even last a week around here). I wasn’t sure what to expect, and I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of good-looking produce and organic products they sold.
Here are the goods. I was able to find: bananas, carrots, no sugar added applesauce cups (and actually, I didn’t intend to buy this – my son threw it in the cart without my knowing), pineapple cups, red & green grapes, organic Chia Seed chips, Odwalla smooties, peanut butter, Chobani greek yogurt tubes, fig bars, organic cheddar crackers, organic peanut butter cracker sandwiches, Fig Newtons, Hershey’s Cookies (because who doesn’t like an afternoon cookie?), and Laughing Cow spreadable cheese. This cost me about $35 (for perspective, our current weekly grocery budget is $100, so this fits in there pretty well considering I spend about $5-7/night on dinner). Most of these items will be served as morning and afternoon snacks, but some will also go with lunch.
Someone else with four children PLEASE tell me you blow through this much food, too???
I bought this peanut butter (no sugar in the ingredients, either!…why do companies add sugar to PB anyway???), and this creamy swiss cheese to use as spreads on apples this week (I already had apples).
I generally don’t buy convenience items because they are pricey, but the pineapple cups were only $.99 at Grocery Outlet! I bought two packs (which will last two days) as a treat for my kids.
Honestly, out of everything, I was most excited about these Chobani Greek Yogurt tubes! I didn’t even know these existed…AND they were only $2.99 for a pack of 16! I bought two boxes, put one in the freezer, and one in the fridge.
Now for the prepping:
I don’t know how things work in your house, but in mine, if produce is not “prepped” it’s not eaten. I’m going to share three great options for prepping fruits & veggies for snacks for the week:
(Ideal for kids in school, or young children in day care)
Prep and bag (i.e. Ziploc bags or small reusable containers) everything into serving sizes for the week. This is a great option if you work and/or your kids go to school during the day, as everything is ready to go and there is little morning time prep. It also saves you money over buying convenience items at the store. Each morning (or night before) you can just grab a couple bags for each kids’ lunch box and you’re done!
You can also use this method for things like crackers, cookies, etc. and keep them in a bucket in your pantry.
(Ideal for homeschooling or stay at home parents)
If you stay home during the week, or if you are homeschooling your children, you can save money on the baggies/containers and prep everything into larger sized containers. This is what I did. Then, when it is meal time, you can just fill each child’s plate from the prepped containers. You waste less, but still have the ease of having everything prepped for the week.
If you are prepping things like apples, which will brown once sliced, be sure to soak them briefly in a water and lemon juice or lime juice bath. Drain the water, but do not rinse them off.
(Ideal for parents of older children who are ready to make their own lunches)
Prep fruits and veggies into large containers and allow older children to “pack” their own lunch out of these containers into their own bags/containers. This sets them up for success as they take on the responsibility of packing their own lunch, and also gives them a little freedom in choosing what goes in their lunch.
Then, you just need to store everything in the fridge for easy access!
And this last thing has nothing to do with kids’ snacks, and everything to do with “mom is going to hide in the hall closet so you don’t see her eating ice cream” amazingness. I found this Tillamook Coffee Almond Fudge ice cream for just TWO DOLLARS! TWO! Grocery Outlet, you stole my heart with this alone.
Also, as a non-snack related side note, the Grocery Outlet store in Sparks that I visited had incredibly friendly employees. I chatted with more than one employee while shopping, and was greeted by just about every employee I passed. LOVE that! Click here to find a Grocery Outlet near you.
What snack prep ideas do you have? Share them in the comments!