Friday, August 17, 2012

Snack Ideas

Like the plague of locusts they are my kiddos are always eating.  With the rising food prices even in the cheap Midwest, it is getting expensive.  Maybe it is just the increasing number of teenagers hitting growth spurts that is getting expensive around here.  The locusts children eat at least three snacks a day and try to eat more.  What is a poor mom to do?

Cutting off there food supply really isn't an option as whining is a big pet peeve of mine.  Ironic to have that and snotty noses as pet peeves with seven kids in the home and studying to be an elementary teacher.  Go figure.  Let's not dwell on snot ... haha ... sorry just giddy that school started today, and it is so quiet in the house now.

What is an option - talking about snacks now - for us?  First I have a snack station and a fruit bowl.  I will show you the snack center but not the fruit bowl.  It is full of sad little fruits that will be converted to muffins for a later breakfast.  Peaches, bananas, blueberries ... oh my!

The snack center
In the fruit bowl I usually keep apples, oranges, bananas, and seasonal fruit like peaches, plums and such.  The snack center contains usually a salty snack, a couple of cereals, animal crackers and homemade granola.  My snack center is looking a little sad too as I haven't done my grocery shopping when I normally do.  My salty snacks (far right jar) rotate between Chex Mix, pretzels, goldfish, and microwave popcorn.  It depends what is on sale or for a good price.  The cereals available vary but are usually honey-nut cheerios and honeycomb type cereals as we like the generic brands just fine.  The sweet snack can be animal crackers, fruit snacks, granola bars or wafer cookies (nasty things but my family all loves them, and they are not terribly expensive).  The homemade granola never lasts long (far right jar).  My apple cinnamon version is the biggest hit.  The recipe I use is a versatile one so the flavors will vary.

So I have a snack center which comes in very handy for those days (I will be starting school Monday - as a student not a teacher) and for the before bed snacks as I plan two snacks a day.  It isn't as much of a big deal during school year as only the youngest is home with me during the day.  The snacking guideline for our house is to eat a proper portion of the planned snack.  The center is if you do not like the planned snack, and the portion guideline still applies.  If you are still hungry, grab some fresh fruit or veggies.  The snack center is replenished each week so if you eat it all before then, too bad and now there is the worry of angry siblings.

So what are planned snacks that go over well in my house (go over well means that a majority of the kiddos like it)?  Here is my list ...

  • Nachos
  • Pudding and Vanilla Wafers
  • Gelatin with Whipped Topping
  • Muffins
  • Stuffed Celery - peanut butter or pineapple cream cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Graham Crackers
  • Cheese Crackers
  • Cookies
  • Popsicles - homemade or store-bought
  • Popcorn - kettle, caramel or white chocolate
  • Chex Mix or Trail Mix
  • Quesadillas
  • Homemade Bread
  • Baked Pretzels
  • Apples with Pink Lemonade Dip or Caramel
  • Funnel Cakes
  • Granola Bars
  • Rice Krispie Treats
  • Cheese Sticks
  • Pepperoni Crescent Roll-ups
  • Brownies
  • Magic Milkshakes
  • Cheese and Crackers
  • Peanut Butter Crackers
  • S'mores
  • Fresh Fruit, Melons or Berries
  • Baby Carrots and Ranch 
  • Pinwheels
  • Tortilla Chips and Salsa
  • Hot Chocolate (cooler weather snack staple)
It is a mix and match like graham crackers with yogurt or cheese crackers with fresh fruit.  Items like cookies, pinwheels, milkshakes, breads and muffins are general as I can vary flavor.  I watch the sale, check the limited coupons I might have and inventory what is available at home.  For instance, muffins will be a snack sometime soon because of the sad little fruit in my fruit bowl.  I also have coupons for tortillas chips so nachos or chips and salsa will also be on the list.  Peanut butter is on sale so peanut butter cookies, peanut butter crackers, and/or stuffed celery are snack options to come.

And that is snack time in my household ... actually the reality is you snooze, you lose which is applies to any time dealing with food.  That is what happens when you live with locusts.

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