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“I’m hungry. Can we have a snack?” These are the very first words I hear from my son EVERY SINGLE DAY when he hops off the bus. Kindergarten is hard work, and when he gets home from a long day of serious kindergarten business, the man is HUNGRY! The problem is if I leave him and his sister to their own food scavenger hunt after school, they will both dive head first into the pantry, eat a bag of chips, and plop onto the couch in a carb comma until dinner. So I created a snack system that carried over into the kids helping to pack their own lunches in the morning. Now I know they are getting yummy and proportioned snacks after school and the dreaded task of packing lunches, has gotten so much easier. In fact, our new lunchbox making station has actually saved us time and the kids love being independent and making their own choices
Create a Lunchbox Making Station
Depending on the storage space in your kitchen,use either small, plastic stackable drawers in the pantry or baskets to organize each menu item. While I’m packing their “main course,” the kids are choosing what else will go in their lunchbox based on the numbers listed outside the drawers or baskets. You can use chalkboard paint or a sharpie to write the number on the outside of the container. The rule in this house is they don’t have to take everything, but they need a variety and cannot take more than the actual number (unless it’s a fruit or veggie, then take as much as you want—a mother can dream, right?)
In the Pantry
Drinks (in addition to water) My kids love Horizon® Chocolate Milk Boxes so that is always their go-to drink for lunch: 1
Salty, Crunchy snacks and crackers (individual bags that I proportioned or the lunch size) Lately they’ve only wanted Horizon® Sandwich Crackers both the peanut butter and the cheddar:1
Apple sauce, fruit cups: 2
Special Treats like fruit gummies or a piece of chocolate: 1
In the fridge
Different cheeses: 1
Yogurt and yogurt drinks: 1
Fruits and Veggies: 2
Create a Snack Station
Use small plastic storage containers as your designated snack bin (I got mine at the dollar store)—have one for the fridge and one for the pantry.
For the fridge, pack the container full of snacks your kids love: yogurt, cheese, cut up fruit in sandwich bags, fruit cups, veggies and dippers like hummus, peanut butter or ranch (use small to-go condiment containers for the dips), small portions of meats in sandwich bags, Horizon® milk boxes and small bottles of water are just a few ideas.
This system allows them to make choices about what they want to take and they are being responsible by packing their own lunches. Since I’ve portioned out the food, I don’t have to worry they are eating too much.
Since this Snack and Lunchbox Station is such a hit in this house, I am always adding more Horizon® products into the mix. They make perfect drinks boxes for my kids. The chocolate milk is flavored with organic cocoa and it has no high fructose corn syrup. Plus they are shelf-stable so they are easy to toss in their lunchboxes or grab when we are running out the door and need a drink on the go. Also Horizon® Sandwich Crackers are stuffed with organic yummy cheese or peanut butter (and usually I’m snacking on them too). So even if we are rushing around packing lunches during our hectic morning or grabbing a quick snack before we head out the basketball or dance class, I know that I’m giving my kids food with good ingredients and it’s super yummy.
Of course I grabbed all of the Horizon® drinks and snacks while I was at Walmart buying 5,387 other things
Right now a lot of the Horizon® products feature the characters for The Peanuts movie! We are so stinking excited for this movie! Here’s a sneak peak of the trailer!
Of course my husband and I love Snoopy and the gang but my kids think Charlie Brown is hilarious! Come on, he is, right? So any snacks with Snoopy or Charlie Brown on the are winners in our book.
What are you lunchbox packing and snack secrets? Got any great tips for us?