I’ve wanted to share one of our favorite ways to simplify school snacks for some time now… but I wanted to wait until the back-to-school season was in full swing.
Now that we have a couple weeks of school under out belts, it’s time for my tip…
I keep a couple weeks of pre-portioned, non-perishable snacks in a small bin in their locker.
- I don’t ned to remember to pack any other snacks during the week.
- We don’t have to decide (or be indecisive about) what snacks to pack.
- The kids can quickly and easily grab a snack at snack time… without rifling through their backpack, unpacking their lunch bags, etc.
- The kids feel independent because they can choose their own snacks.
- The kids have the opportunity to share with someone who forgets a snack
- The kids learn some responsibility as they need to tell me when their snack bins are low
I realize this system will not work for every child, every school system, or every family… but I’ve shared this tip with friends and other school families, many of whom have implemented this system with fantastically positive results!
It works really well for us FOR NOW… especially since the teachers have made it increasingly clear that it’s VERY helpful if parents pack snacks that are easy to access, easy to open, easy to clean up after, and easy to eat in a short amount of time.
Easy to Access:
We are asked not to put the snack in their lunch box/bag, but rather, in a side pocket of their backpack, or some other place that they can quickly and easily access at snack time.
This prevents the need to take their entire backpack and lunch bag out of their locker, potentially spill lunch food, decide that they’d like to eat their sandwich instead of their snack, and then forget to put their backpack/lunch bag back into their locker.
Easy to Open:
The teachers are responsible for 20-25 students — if each student needs help opening their snack every day, it’s going to be mad chaos in that room!
I pack most snacks in snack-size zip-top bags that the kids can easily open on their own. Also, squeeze pouches (applesauce, yogurt, etc.) are a huge hit and super easy to open.
Easy to Clean Up After:
I try to pack snacks that are easy to eat by hand, out of a bag — nothing that requires silverware, nothing that’s super sticky or gooey, nothing that’s extremely crumbly, and nothing that’s hard for small hands to hold.
There are always exceptions to this rule, but in general, I try to limit the snacks to things that aren’t difficult to clean up after.
Easy to Eat Quickly:
Nora has always had plenty of time to eat her snacks… but they have recess right after snack time and most of the students are VERY eager to get outside for recess, so if they can’t eat their snack quickly, they end up throwing it away so they can run outside.
I ask the kids to put their finished snack bags in their backpacks to take home. This is partially so I can reuse the zip-top bags, but also so I can see if they are actually eating their entire snack or not. If not, I’ll pack less per snack bag or find something they can eat faster!
Our favorite school snacks:
Last week, I shared more about how “fun lunches” simplify our days (both at home and at school)… and I listed some of our favorite fun lunch foods.
Several of those will also be on this list — however, this list is specifically for pre-portioned, non-perishable, easy-to-open school snacks.
- Veggie straws / Apple straws
- Crackers with peanut butter
- Animal crackers
- Granola bars
- Applesauce or yogurt pouches (store-bought, not homemade)
- Fruit snacks
- Peanuts, craisins, M&M mix
- Dried fruit
- Chex mix
- Popcorn/caramel corn
- Beef jerky sticks
The kids get plenty of fruits, meats, cheeses, yogurt, and even some veggies in their lunches (as well as for breakfast and dinner) so I’m usually not super worried about what they eat for their snack. I just want snacks to fill their bellies until lunch, so they can focus on having fun and learning versus feeling hungry.
A Few Notes:
I found the cute white bins pictured above at our thrift store (5 for $0.25 total!) and have used them for various things over the years. They are a great size for a couple weeks worth of school snacks and they fit perfectly into the top shelf in their lockers.
We usually pack several of the same snacks (5 bags of veggie straws, 5 applesauce pouches, etc.) and then switch it up the next time we refill the basket.
The kids can choose up to 2 (different) snacks for morning and 2 for afternoon.
Nora likes to keep a pump bottle of hand sanitizer in her snack bin — not a bad addition I suppose!
Nora labeled and decorated her snack bin since I took the photos for this post. 🙂
We keep a few extra napkins, as well as plastic forks and spoons in the bins… just in case I forget to pack that with their lunches.
Nora likes to take the entire bin home and have me refill it at home… however, you could also just send a new supply of snacks in grocery bag or gallon size bag and have them transfer the snacks to their locker bins.
Eventually, my plan is to have the kids restock their own snacks… but for now, I still monitor the process!
So that’s my tip to simplify school snacks!
When we were packing the snack bins for the first day of school this year, Nora said to me, “Mom, how did you learn to be so organized?” I smiled and said, “I think I was just born this way!”
Do you have any other tips to simplify snacks… lunches… or anything else school related?
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