Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Life Hack: Snack Shelf






I'm so excited to share this life hack with you, but please be sure not to confuse life hack with Pinterest worthy.  
Not every aspect can be made into a Pinterest spectacle-and this catch all closet is one of them!
This closet houses appliances, cookie decorating items, the cleaning bin, the holiday decorating bin, and our main pantry.  



Snacks aren't provided in school for my kiddos, and for FIVE years now, we've gone through the daily morning struggle of packing snacks.  Packing snacks for one kid is manageable, packing snacks for two kids is stressful and tiresome, but packing snacks for three kids is more than one can handle!  I would budget in about 20 minutes in the evening or morning to pack their snacks, and it was just a major time suck.  


I came up with the idea to add a dedicated snack shelf into my closet.  It served two purposes: of course, I needed a place to store the snacks anyway, but my main goal was to use it as a tool to teach the kids how to pack their snacks themselves.  The snacks are organized into the following bins:  fruit, granola type snacks, crackers, cookies, chips, and dessert.  I used these bins to store all the items-I had these from before, so I wasn't going to invest in buying new containers just to fit my new space, but I do wish they were taller so they could hold more.  #nexttime 


When organizing with a desire to include the kiddos, you have to organize according to their level.  Moshe reads, but Dovy and Hannah do not-however they are able to recognize pictures.  Each bin has a picture so they can identify the contents of each bin.  This bin pictured, is obviously everyone's favorite bin.  At first, I was nervous to include this within everyone's reach, and I was asked several times if a brownie was an acceptable form of breakfast.  But, I really do believe everything is teachable to our kids, so I kept the dessert bin there.  It's rare now that the kids attempt to eat from that bin without being told it's allowed.  

Now, for a peak at my favorite snacks that fill those bins!

  
My kids go in phases, sometimes it's fruit cups, other times it's applesauce, and now we're back into the applesauce pouches.  


This bin includes our favorite Blueberry Belvitas , Trader Joe's cereal bars, graham crackers, granola pouches, and fig bars.  


In this bin I include crackers like Trader Joes wheat thins, Ritz crackers, pretzels, and anything cracker related.  


I do allow my kids to eat "junkier" items in moderation throughout the day, but that's a post for another day.  This bin houses junk like sweet snack items.  Some of what I'll include in this bin are vanilla wafers, letter cookies, butter cookies, mini chocolate chip cookies, these "pop tarts" and oh em gee I can't resist them when they're in there!  


I also have a bin that houses more of the chip snack items.  Some items we love are Terra chips , Trader Joes Rocket Cheese Crackers are so good, and sometimes I buy corn chips and party mix. 

The practicality of this shelf goes beyond saving me time in the morning.  It gives me a place to store the snacks, it allows my children a way to be independent and get snacks themselves-which is not only good for me, but it's also a necessary skill for them.  We can talk about responsibility and making good choices. It also has saved me so much time which also helps my kids: I have more time to focus on them in the morning and I'm not as rushed and stressed.  

Organizing the snack shelf is almost like a Sunday meal prep day-except I do it about bi-weekly, or once a month.  When a particular item is running low, I'll re-buy and then spend one evening bagging all the new snacks into sandwich size baggies.  I will admit I've felt badly about all the baggies we use, however Dr. Husband reminded me that our system is probably better than pre-packaged individual snacks because our kids don't eat a full serving anyway-and what's awesome is when snacks come back half eaten, or not eaten at all, I just drop them into their respective bins and they're good to use another day!  A single serving snack, once it's open it either goes into a baggie to stay fresh, or it gets thrown out half eaten.  Our snacks do last quite awhile and I can't stress enough how simple and easy it is to grab one back from each bin in the morning and just throw it into their bag.  

If you're struggling with your daily snack and lunch packing, try this out and let me know!

You can read about my fresh fruit and vegetable snack plan HERE   

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