6 Ways to Nail the After-School Snack Spread
Your kids have soccer practice. And theater rehearsal. And swim. You have the added duty of making sure they have the nourishment they need to not get hangry do their best. But coordinating snack time on the go (and in the car) can feel like a part-time job. You not only have personal preferences to deal with, you have to stay organized and try to keep everybody from subsisting on jelly beans alone. Here, a few tricks to help you streamline.
When You Meal Plan, Snack Plan, Too
As tempting as it is to pass out bags of chips or hit up a drive thru, make the effort to map out your snacks—just like you would breakfast, lunch and dinner. Say you sit down on Sunday morning and plot out dinner ideas (plus, how to maximize leftovers) throughout the week. Add a line for “after school car snacks” and cross-check your cabinets to see what you need to re-stock.
Make Snack Time Happen, No Matter What
Shuffling the kids straight from school to practice? Don't let the idea of a mess in the car stop you from giving them a much-needed snack. Instead, arm yourself with the essentials to ensure they're satiated (and your car stays clean) when you don't have time to stop home. For example: granola bars, apples, and a canister of Wet Ones® Antibacterial Hand Wipes so they can 1) wipe their hands of dirt and germs before snacking and 2) keep the clean-up easy when they're finished.
All hail the ease—and portability—of individually portioned string cheese. But, ugh, even you’re bored with that snack option. (No wonder your kids are whining in the back seat.) In the same way dinner needs the occasional remix, so does your snack routine. Some recent favorites of ours that are also car-friendly? Pineapple or mango slices you can pre-slice, KIND granola bars or homemade popcorn. (If you pack in baggies, you can add seasoning and your kids can shake to distribute.)
Have a “Car Caddy” for the Busy Days
Too lazy to pack car snacks every time you head out? Here's a nifty work-around: When you do your weekend grocery shopping, stock a car caddy or back seat organizer with non-perishables (like juice boxes or granola bars or snap pea crisps, yum) so you always have a nosh—and one that your kiddo can grab herself.
Poll Your Kids to Find Out Their Preferences
Picky eaters can throw a wrench into things, but instead of letting them eat the same thing every day, get them involved in the snack prep. If they’re too little to actually assemble their own snacks, interview them about their likes and dislikes. This isn’t meant to give them full control, but by narrowing down your options, you’ll save time (and money and whining) down the road.
Troll Pinterest Once a Month
Truth: The image-centric social media site can feel like a black hole of ideas never before tested by actual moms. Still, every once in a blue moon, you strike gold (we’re talking to you, On the Go Trail Mix) and you and your kids’ snack time rotation are the better for it.