Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Summer Snack Solutions for Kids

Do your kids eat you out of house and home during summer vacation?

Because mine totally do.

Do your kids eat everything in the house on long summer days? Here is one solution to both help them monitor how much they are eating on their own AND save you from running to the grocery store every two days!

I have one child in particular who would eat all day long if I would allow it. All. Day. Long. I'll let you all guess who that child is, but I had to come up with some good solutions in order to keep my grocery bill from exploding and to keep my children from eating too much.

A couple summers ago, I came up with a great snack solution, but it didn't work well last summer with our new gluten-free status. The system required snack bins and held mostly the kind of snacks that were filled with gluten. The few things that needed refrigeration were stored in the fridge in large plastic baggies.

I realized that in order for this system to keep working for us, I was going to need to move the entire arrangement to the fridge. Gluten-free snacks don't keep super well in the pantry (especially when it's hot), and besides, we don't buy a whole lot of GF convenience foods because they tend to be rather expensive.

Moving everything to the fridge was fine, but the bins I used wouldn't fit well in my fridge. Also, I had a little issue with the organization--or lack thereof--in the refrigerator.

My fridge is a little strange, it has this really large space down at the bottom that I mostly dislike. It's really great when I need to chill a trifle in there, but mostly it is just annoying. And it's even more annoying in the summer because I tend to have so much more produce due to our CSA during the summer months. So once the produce drawers are filled, it just sort of piles up in that weird space. And that's bad because then I totally forget about which produce I had.


So, I took some measurements and went in search of some new snack bins and a larger bin to contain all the produce insanity. And, lucky for me, I found some that were just about perfect (purchase them here). I love the way these bins stack easily, stay closed, and are pretty all at the same time. I used some of them for organizing my kitchen cupboard and did I mention I love them? And they come in tons of different sizes, which makes them all the better.

First, I neatly arranged all my produce into the larger bin and stuck it into the fridge. Seriously, that was so easy that I'm embarrassed I didn't think of it before.

Now I can just take the whole bin out and easily find whatever I am looking for when I would like to make a green smoothie or a salad. And I won't be losing a bunch of wonderful, locally-grown greens from my CSA this summer because they're buried under the asparagus. Hooray!

Now onto the snack bins.

First, I carefully partitioned everything out. We can't have any one girl getting more pretzels or carrots than another (ohmygosh the fairness issue will kill me one day).

Some of the things I put in our snack bins are:

  • cheese sticks
  • yogurt/yogurt tubes
  • carrots
  • celery
  • strawberries
  • peaches
  • trail mix
  • grapes
  • gluten-free pretzels
  • sweet potato chips
  • Babybel cheese
  • cottage cheese
  • gluten-free cookies

The fruit I put in the snack bins are things like the peaches and strawberries I mentioned. Stuff that I don't buy a ton of. I do buy a ton of apples and bananas, and they can eat those all day long. But when they're gone, they're gone. In the picture you can see that I have some gluten-free Trader Joe's JoJos that some friends just picked up for us. Man I miss that place.

Finally, I used my amazing label maker and slapped some name labels on those bins and put them in the fridge.

If I only had two children, this set up would be absolute perfection. The bins fit exactly into the space.

But since I have three children and I have to be totally fair, I will throw out my aesthetics. Luckily, the bins still fit just fine--they just don't look as pretty.

Chloe helped me get the bins filled for the first time, and when we finished she said, "I love snack bins because you don't have to ask for snacks!"

Bless her heart. She is the only one who ever asks for food, and consequently, she probably never gets any because her sisters who don't ask eat it all. But asking aside, the point of these bins is to make my life easier, my grocery bill smaller, and my children more self-reliant.

And it really does work.

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Lara Neves
Lara Neves

Lara is mom to three daughters—two teens and a tween. She loves to share her parenting and homemaking triumphs and failures here at Overstuffed! She was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2015 and has been fighting it ever since. When she isn't working on her mother of the year award, you can find her reading, singing, or taking photos.


  1. The bottom shelf of my fridge looks much like your before picture with all the produce piled on top of each other. We lose more stuff that way. I love your ideas of bins. It would make finding things so much easier. Thanks for sharing.

  2. cariwritesforyouWed Jul 09, 12:42:00 PM

    So smart! I swear all my kids have done for the last month is eat LOL

  3. Dianne @winnowandspruceWed Jul 09, 01:20:00 PM

    Wow, what great ideas. I'll definitely do this when keeping
    my "grands" in a couple of weeks. Stopping by from BOB(B)

  4. I am totally that person who would eat all day. My husband hates it because I snack all. the. time. I can't help it that I'm hungry a lot! He gets especially annoyed when I eat stuff before bed because he has it ingrained in his head that snacks before bedtime will kill you. (rolls eyes) Oh well. This is a great idea for storage though. Our fridge in our new house is not set up very well either, so I think I will pitch this storage solution to hubby and see what he thinks.

  5. I am glad it's not just me with the piled produce!

  6. I know they don't need this much food because during the school year they are just fine!

  7. It doesn't bother me so much that they graze, just that they eat everything in the house and it's all gone two days after I did the shopping. This way they can graze to their heart's content, plus get their regular meals, and hopefully feel full enough.

    My daughter that is hungry all the time is the one with Celiac disease--and feeling hungry is a huge symptom of gluten damage because the body isn't able to absorb necessary nutrients as easily.

  8. Gosh, what I wouldn't have done for this as a kid! I too was always getting the leftover snacks that no one wanted because my older brother and his friends would eat the prime pickings. Great system!

  9. Such a great idea!