Tips and ideas for creating a snack station in your refrigerator, so that you always have healthy snacks ready to go. Plus, two printables to help make weekly snack prep so easy!
“I’m hungry. What can I eat, Mom?” I hear those words all the time, and if you have young kids, I’m betting you do, too.
Whether or not you have kids, healthy snacks are a good way to stay energized between meals. Nutritious snacks can keep you from getting so hungry that you overindulge at mealtimes.
The problem is that it’s all too easy to reach for not-so-healthy options when hunger hits.
It gets tiring always trying to figure out what to feed the little ones (and myself!) when they are hungry all the time. I needed a solution to save me time and mental energy when it came to keeping my kids and myself nourished with healthy snacks throughout the day. I’ve started prepping healthy snacks once a week and storing them in a “snack box” in my refrigerator.
My kids, especially Julia, are SO excited about our snack box. They love the control and independence that it gives them at snack time. Julia enjoys helping me decide which snacks we are going to prep each week. I told her I was going to share about our snack bin on my blog, and she loved the idea and kept asking me if I’d done it yet. 🙂
This system has worked for me and my family, and I hope it can help you, too! Before we get into the details, let’s chat about why weekly snack prep works.
Why I follow a weekly snack prep system:
- Prepping snacks once for the week saves lots of time.
- My family always has healthy, real food snacks ready to go.
- We don’t rely on packaged/processed snacks. This saves us money and we feel better eating real food snacks.
- It develops independence in my kids. If we’re heading out to the park, I can tell the kids to grab a snack and they can choose a healthy option on their own. Same goes for after school snack time.
- During the school year, the snack bin in our fridge makes lunch prep quick and easy.
- It helps me eat healthier, too!
Especially now that the kids and I are home every day for summer vacation, the snack box in our refrigerator is a lifesaver!
So how does it work?
A step-by-step plan for creating your own healthy snack station:
- Make a list of all of the healthy snacks that your family enjoys. If you have kids, let them help. I organize my list by food group: fruits, vegetables, proteins, and grains. You can see and print my list here.
- When you make your menu plan and grocery list for the week, also think about snacks. Choose 4 to 5 snacks from your list each week. You want enough so that your snack box won’t be empty by Wednesday, but not so much that the prep is overwhelming. Be sure to have a good mix of fruits, veggies, proteins, and grains.
- Shop for the ingredients you need and prep your snacks. This might mean making a batch of white bean dip, chopping fresh veggies, washing fruit, and baking some homemade granola bars. I like to do my snack prep in one session on Sunday afternoon.
- Store your snacks in a central location in the fridge so they are ready to grab at snack time.
- Avoid buying other unhealthy and/or processed snacks. This is a hard one, but it gets easier with time. You and your kids will reach for what is available, so make those choices nutritious ones!
I’ve made you two printables! Click on them to download (and print) a copy for your refrigerator.
These are my favorite storage containers for snacks:
- glasslock storage containers
- 3 piece nesting glass storage containers
- one press seal storage containers
Here is my list (with recipe links) of our favorite snacks:
- carrot sticks
- sliced bell peppers
- celery sticks
- cherry tomatoes
- cucumber slices
- roasted sweet potato cubes or rounds
- sugar snap peas
- fresh berries
- orange slices
- mandarin oranges
- peaches or nectarines
- chopped melon
- chopped pineapple
- hard boiled eggs
- hummus/white bean dip
- Greek yogurt (plain or as a dip)
- cheese slices
- cottage cheese
- peanut butter
- almond butter
- trail mix
- homemade granola bars
- breakfast cookies
- healthy muffins
- energy bites
- homemade graham crackers
- homemade granola – serve with yogurt or milk
- whole grain waffles
- whole grain crackers
- overnight oats in a jar