Picture this: Your child gets home from school and has 15 minutes before getting in the car again for the next activity. You know her school lunch break is at 10:30 a.m. so there’s no doubt she’ll be ravenous. Having a healthy snack ready for her to grab and go is crucial.
A great (and attainable) goal is to mostly have homemade snacks available instead of prepackaged stuff. And when I say “homemade,” I don’t mean that it has to be fancy. It can be as simple as a small container of almonds and raisins or a cheese stick and some grapes.
The key is planning. Having healthy snacks available to nourish the kids (and yourself) takes a minimal amount of planning time, and depending on the ages of your children,they can help to prepare your sensational smart snack stash.
Why smart? Because why not provide nutritious snacks that are ready in seconds? Keep a bin in the pantry, one in the refrigerator, and one in the freezer with your self-serve snacks so that they are easy to find. Have to go somewhere quickly? Shop from your ready-to-go snack reserves to avoid the urge to buy chips, butter popcorn, or hot dogs from the concession stand.
Pantry Snack Stash Ideas
- Popcorn: Pop popcorn once and make several snack size bags to use as snacks for the week.
- Trail mix: Make trail mix and divide it into snack bags or containers. Put your child’s favorites in the mix and portion it out. If your kids like different things (maybe one likes apricots and the other one likes walnuts) you can add those items to the individual bags and label the bags. Another option is to store the trail mix in an airtight container to allow the children to serve themselves.
- Nut butter: Have individual containers of nut butters ready to eat with whole wheat crackers, celery, sliced apples, and more. Have pre-portioned crackers ready to grab from the pantry stash too.
- Nuts and/or dried fruit: Make whatever combinations of nuts and/or dried fruit that your family likes. If possible, buy unsalted or lightly salted nuts.
Refrigerator Snack Stash Ideas
- Cheese sticks: They are delicious on their own, but your child may enjoy them with pizza sauce for dipping.
- Unsweetened applesauce: You can portion this yourself or buy prepackaged, which you can store in your pantry snack stash.
- Cheese and crackers: Slice and package cheese and whole wheat crackers to store in the refrigerator so that they are together and ready.
- Fruit and/or vegetables and dip: Wash and package fresh fruit and/or vegetables into portions, and make a dip to-go along with it if you’d like.
- Hummus: Individual portions of hummus can be paired with vegetables or with crackers (or both) for a satisfying snack.
- Hard cooked egg: Or to change it up a bit, try deviled eggs.
- Snack bars: You can make your own snack bars with parent and child-approved ingredients once per week and portion them out for use throughout the week.
Freezer Snack Stash Ideas
- Frozen smoothies: Freeze smoothies into ice pop molds to grab-and-go.
- Muffins: Bake wholesome, nutritious mini muffins using whole wheat flour, fruit, vegetables and/or nuts and freeze. You can portion them so that they are ready to go for snacking. Take them out in advance to allow time to defrost, or defrost in the microwave.
Delicious, easy, and quick snacks should be fun. Also, to be more green, you can use reusable snack bags or containers instead of disposable snack bags.
With a bit of planning, you and your child have the opportunity to develop healthy ready-to-go snacks tailored to your child’s tastes. Sit down together to come up with your own sensational smart snack stash and you’ll have a recipe for success.