Summer Snack Systems

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Welcome to summer! Warmer temperatures, pool days, slow mornings, and endless snack requests from the kids now that they are home from school. If you’re anything like me, the constant snacking and refusal to eat actual meals is the bane of your summertime existence. Here are three kid-tested and parent-approved snack systems to help simplify your life this summer.

  1. Snack bins: A few years ago, we purchased a snack bin from the dollar store for each kid in our pantry. In the morning, I put the allotted amount of snacks and a filled-up water bottle for each kid in the snack bin for the day. I add healthy snacks, a favorite snack, and some from our generic snack stash daily. The only rule for this is when they are gone, they are gone. We also emphasize not stealing from siblings; they can share or switch if they agree.

Pros: Kids learn how to regulate their snacks and can have autonomy (within limits) on what they are eating.

Cons: It relies on some organization from parents to have the snack bin filled and have options on hand.

2. Snack timers: This system is fabulous for the on-the-go family or a parent who needs a break from carrying the mental load. Set timers on your phone with a unique alarm notification sound for whatever times you want to provide snacks. When the timer goes off, you can pass out snacks or have your kids grab whatever they want.

Pros: Low stress, little planning, and can happen on the go.

Cons: Your kids might ask, “How long until snack time?” Four thousand times per day, especially if they cannot tell time yet.

3. Freebie fridge drawer: This system is best for older kiddos coming and going from sports practices, friends’ houses, and activities all summer. Take one of the drawers in your fridge or a fun, clear container that fits on your fridge door if you don’t have drawers, and fill it with healthy snacks your kids can grab and go. Yogurt tubes, applesauce pouches, cheese sticks, cuties, cherry tomatoes, and cut cucumbers are favorites in our house.

Pros: Little regulation needed by parents, healthy options, and no pantry space taken up.

Cons: More planning, a bit more expensive, and odds are your fridge will be opened a lot more than it would otherwise.

While I’d love to be a mom who says yes to ice cream for breakfast, my kids and their mom operate much better with a routine of healthy snacks and meal options, no matter the season. Implementing a snack system in my home has dramatically impacted my sanity and made summer days a smoother and more enjoyable experience for my kiddos. Here’s to a fun and stress-free summer 2024!

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Kelly DeCrane
Meet Kelly, the reigning chaos coordinator on the northeast side of Indy, where she navigates the adventures of marriage to the ever-patient Steve, corralling two amazingly energetic daughters, and doting on a sweet old pup. Kelly takes on the caffeinated world of school drop-offs before heading home to work as a virtual special education teacher. When not rescuing Barbie dolls or mastering bedtime negotiations, she's a familiar face at the local library, maxing out her library card and possibly attempting to conquer the entire children's section – blame that on the coffee jitters. In the kitchen, she's a culinary wizard, transforming mac 'n' cheese into gourmet magic that her children will of course refuse to ear. You'll often find her with a book in one hand, a cup of coffee in the other, immersed in the enchanting worlds of fiction or grooving to the beats of the early 2000s. Kelly is your go-to gal for laughter, warmth, and a sprinkle of witty chaos. Cheers to the coffee-fueled adventures, the delightful rollercoaster of motherhood, and the incredible journey of being a special education teacher!


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