Snacks are such a tricky thing in our house, as I bet they are in most houses. When we do our big shopping trip at the beginning of the month, I always feel like we’ve purchased so many snack items and that they’ll definitely carry over into the next month.
And then we get to this point in the month, about 12 days after that big trip. I realize that ALL those snacks we bought are almost gone. It’s unbelievable to me how quickly this happens, especially since we have some pretty heavily enforced snacking rules.
Here is what the snacking timetable looks like on an average day:
- The oldest two take snacks to school. We try to switch things up and keep a good variety each month. This month, their snack choices are granola bars, dried fruit, frozen go-gurts, snack-sized cans of fruit or pretzels. They each choose one a day to take for their mid-morning snack. Twice a month we let them get a “treat” and buy their snack at school, which is either a bagel, cereal with milk or yogurt.
- The two girls at home each get a mid-morning snack also. Our 4 year old is very slow to wake up and get moving in the morning and she usually does not want to eat at all until around 10. So that’s when they have their snack. They’ve been opting for cinnamon-sugar or peanut butter toast a lot lately. I typically give them three choices and let them choose which to go with.
- The afternoon is when it really gets out of hand though! The kids walk in from school starving, which is typical. Four days a week we also have an extra kid since our oldest’s best friend stays with us until her mom gets home around 5:30. And those two girls can go through the snacks. Honestly, I had no idea 10 year old girls could eat so much! A few months ago we had to implement some ground rules or they would have been eating non-stop. So now each of the 5 kids gets 3 items for their after-school snack and they can eat them all at once or spread them out. They also can not have more than 1 of any item. Today, most of them had a bag of chips, an apple and a cheese stick.
And speaking of those bags of chips… We bought a package of 50 small bags from Sam’s Club. The last was eaten today. Buying those for the first time was hard for me. It seemed like such a waste. But it was necessary for the portion control, especially with those two 10 year olds!
Snacks definitely account for a large chunk of our budget, which was definitely not the case until this school year started. It’s been an interesting adjustment. On some levels, I feel like I’m still adjusting.
I have learned a few important lessons though. We do not keep all the snacks in the open. A portion are left in plain sight and the rest are hidden until needed. I supplement the at-home snacks with homemade snacks at least twice a week. And perhaps most importantly – my husband and I do NOT touch the snacks we specifically buy for the kids, except for the produce. It’s just too dangerous and they go even quicker that way.
I’m looking forward to summer when we can have loads of fresh produce on hand all the time. I have a feeling that will drastically reduce our snack expenses. Oh, and it might just be a bit healthier too.
Am I the only one that struggles with snacks? I feel guilty sometimes over the snack foods that we now buy. Anyone else? How do you keep your snack spending under control?