Does this happen to you? You come home from food shopping and the kids tear into all the new bags of food yelling, “Whadya get?” before you have time to unpack. New snacks are ripped open, meanwhile you have 4 half-full bags of cookies, pretzels, and crackers in the cabinet, but somehow those just don’t seem so appealing. My children are 7, 10 and 13 so I go through this about once a week. I hate to waste food, so I’ve had to come up with some simple tricks to finish one thing before we start another. (This is one of my Absolutes of Organizing).
- Healthy After School Snacks - When they get home from school they are famished – so put out what you want them to eat on the table. If it’s easy, they’ll grab it. I often do cheese & crackers, chips and salsa, cookies and milk or a big bowl of grapes.
- Party Trays -The day before you go food shopping, check the cabinets for half full bags of snacks and use them up. To make these more appealing, put them in a decorative serving tray. I have one with three compartments so I might do: nuts, pretzels and chips or cheese, crackers and cut up peppers. If your kids like dip, put that out in a little bowl.
- Mix It Up -Produce doesn’t last long so I find myself with black bananas quite often. For this reason, I always have a big container of vanilla yogurt on hand for smoothies. Toss one cup of yogurt, one cup of fruit juice and whatever fruit you have: bananas, pineapple, strawberries, blueberries into the blender and let it whip. I like to add some crushed ice at the end. These make a great after-school snack or breakfast. A little whipped cream on top makes it even more appealing. And who can resist a bendy straw!
- Buffet Style - Left over meals are an economical way to save food and money, but if you have picky eaters, they won’t like the sounds of this. Again, on the day before I plan to food shop I have a “Pick Your Own” dinner or lunch. I will categorize the food by protein, starch and fruits & vegetables and put it all out on the counter. Everyone in the family gets to choose one of each and that’s the meal! If you don’t have enough left-overs to round out the meal, make one new thing that the kids love like oven fries or pasta, this will make the meal seem fresh.
- A better lunch – It’s so easy to go for convenience these days when it comes to packing lunches. I used to buy big boxes of school snacks at BJ’s and just use them until they were done. Now I’m trying to be more environmentally & health conscious, so I invested in some key lunch box items to do both:
Small stainless steel drink bottles– no more plastic.
Cloth napkins – no more paper
Reusable containers – for cut up fruit, snacks and sandwiches
Foil – to wrap other items ; I tell the kids to bring it home to recycle.
Thank you, Debbie, for sharing these wonderful tips with us!
Do you have any other tips to share? I would love to hear from you! Please leave a comment and share your ideas with us!