Do you hear that? The sounds of whining and moaning in the distance? No? Oh, I guess it’s just my kids that are constantly crying out with hunger throughout the day! I was in search of a solution, and I think we have found it! Read on to see what it is…
Are you looking for an easy way to store all that snack food you buy?
You go to the store, you buy all this great healthy snack food, and it gets stored away in the fridge. You know where it is, you know how to get to it, and put it in a bowl when your kids are hungry and it’s snack time, right? Well, what happens, when you end up doing is, over and over and over and over again? (and over again). You kinda start to lose your mind with the piling of bowls in the sink and your homeschool gets off track while you end up cooking 2 boxes of macaroni, and grilled cheese sandwiches, plus start cleaning dirty dishes, all the while, the kids just need a small snack! Sheesh.
There I was, in a cycle that was not working, because all of a sudden my two oldest children were not so little anymore, and my baby was not actually a baby either! This cycle was only happening because I was not encouraging them to do things themselves. So there I was, making a big breakfast but in the end, no one came to eat, because once it was all cooked, my kids had found themselves a snack in the snack bin in the cupboard, that wasn’t so healthy and were already off somewhere in the house playing with their, LOL Surprise Dolls or their Amibo Collection. So I was sitting there, eating a lovely breakfast alone, searching Pinterest.Then, I spotted it! I saw this pin, which is now on my Pinterest Board for Brilliant Meal Prep Ideas, and it inspired me for this simple change. Follow this board so you can see all future awesome pins that I find along the way for great food tips to help you out in your homeschool day or Follow me on Pinterest for all my boards.
This video really got me excited to try this out, because I knew my kids are old enough to get the things they want but need a bit more help to make it easier for them to grab it. (All the real food snacks were up and away in the fridge somewhere that they could not get to).
My husband was on board for making this happen and giving it a try. Honesty, he went out and found the bins and I did the meal prep for it,(while he worked on some beautiful puff pastry, which you can also find here, on that same board!)so we worked as a team. You can read here about how we do our grocery shopping, and meal prep work every two weeks plus our favorite recipe for Chicken Fajitas.
Finding a solution for breakfast, lunch and snack time for my kids who are 3, 6, and 7 has been enlightening! I even used this concept with their morning cereal as well, with a small basket next to their bowls and cups that are in a lower cupboard, so now my PreK, grade1, and grade 2 children can access this in the morning, on their own, or anytime they need a snack. This area is also right beside the water cooler, which was another awesome investment that helped them to get their own water, which stopped most of the cries for water I was dealing with over the summer. They choose their favorite cereal and a bowl, get a spoon and I pour the milk if they need help. I am considering getting smaller milk containers that are easier for them to pour.
And the two blue bins, in the fridge, are the best investment we have made in a long time. I put their juice boxes, cheese sticks, fruit cups, meat slices, fruit, and pudding cups all in them nice and neat. It is brilliant, and the kids really love it. In fact, I love it too! I eat from it as well.
They don’t like large meals, and they like to grab and go! I do a big snack prep on the weekends, and smaller refills midweek. We also found two more baskets we had laying around the house, right next to the fridge, to hold all the dry food snacks that did not need to be kept in the fridge, for pretzels, crackers, chunks of muffins, cliff bars, animal crackers, and such. (because in the Pinterest video, they put crackers, and cheese in with the meat, and we decided not to do that for longer lasting snack bags. ) And then, I realized I could store the kids’ lunch bags, right underneath the two baskets on the lowest shelf in the cupboard, so they can easily load them up if they need to go somewhere, or if they want more snacks for our school time during the day (that is downstairs).
I am loving the results from this small change, and so are they! They can look for things at their level, and find the things they want, that they always needed ME to do. Now, I get to help in smaller ways and give more praise for their great work.
This is the progress I have begun to see in my 3-year-old already! He is getting the cereal he wants, he is getting the bowl he needs, and even pouring the milk himself! I cannot believe it. These are true Life Skills in the making.
How to set up these ‘Grab & Go’ Bins in your Kitchen:
- Measure the shelf space you have, and search for bins that will fit. We choose to have 1 shelf for their snacks, with two bins. With the size of bins, we found at Superstore, we have a little bit of extra space left at the back of the fridge, so that is where I store more of my apple juice and pudding cups, so I can keep them cold as well as handy to get back into the grab and go bins.
- Organize all of your kids’ favorite snacks inside the bins you put in the fridge, that require refrigeration, such as cheese, meat, fruit and veggies, sandwiches too.
- Create little snack bags full of dry goods, about 3/4 of a cup of pretzels, crackers, cereal, animal crackers, anything like that and place in other baskets or bins in the cupboards, that are kid height, and easily accessible.
- Find a place close to this process for the kids’ lunch kits, so they can begin to learn how to fill up their bags for the day. This could even include a simple spot for paper bags they fill up. (you could even have them write their names on the bags at the table before they full it, to aid in that natural name awareness & handwriting practice.)
- Have your kids come over, show them what is new, be excited and praise their efforts for searching and picking what they like!
- Keep a mental note as to what they are going for, what they are choosing and keep replacing those items.
- We have altered the items we placed inside on day 4, as we noticed what they did not want, and that was a good thing. I then began to add in leftover meals, such as spaghetti and pancakes that they could throw into the microwave (or you can) when they were hungry, and place in a bowl for them.
- Enjoy and see the independence blossom in your kids.
Subscribe to grab your Freebie of the How To Steps for setting up your Grab & Go Bins in your Kitchen! Perfect to save for later, when you are ready to do this project.
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