Friday, September 11, 2009

Fruitful Fridays - Choice Bins

Hello Mommies!!! Hope you all had a great summer.

Fruitful Friday posts are all about food! Sometimes we have recipes, reviews of products, stores or restaurants, menu suggestions and overall goodies that can make life in the kitchen easier.

For today, I thought I would take a moment to honor all of those moms with children returning to school - GOOD job. Being a mother of three in elementary school, getting them out the door in the morning can be the hardest part of the day (with only bedtimes being the exception).

I want to share a tip I figured out this summer with you that might make life a bit easier...AND the good news is this tip will work for Moms of preschoolers, too!!

Get yourself two storage bins; bigger than a shoe box, but no bigger than your child could carry easily. Make one a DRINK CHOICE bin. Fill this bin with juice boxes, CapriSun packets, mini water bottles, etc. Go ahead, mix them together!

Make the other a SNACK CHOICE bin. Fill these with all those little snack items we buy the kids. Be liberated from storing all the granola bars in boxes - dump them in with the fruit snacks, the pretzel sticks, the applesauce containers, etc. Put all their choices in front of them and save you the time and hassle of giving them the rundown of options, only to find an empty box for the one they choose. :~)

Here's a picture of our bins:

I like to buy my prepackaged snacky stuff from Grocery Outlet, watch for the 10 for 10 sale at Albertsons and there's always Costco (but you have to have a membership or a friend grab some for you).

Otherwise, never underestimate the pure goodness of the snack-size ziplock baggie. You can save your self a ton of money and time by buying the big bag of pretzels or box of Kix cereal and take 5 minutes to package them up. When you're done, throw them in the snack bin. You're good to GO!

These bins have made my life easier because inevitably they all want something different anyway, and I love empowering them to make their choices. Summer or school-time, whenever I pack a lunch I send them to the bins to make 1 drink choice and 1-2 snack choices. It also works when they are feeling hungry. I tell them to go to the bin rather than rummaging around my pantry.

Hope this any of you have any tips for making brown bag lunches easier? Check back next week and I'll share some menu suggestions for packing lunches.


Susan said...

Great idea, Karen! Back when i had a house full of little ones I used to do something similar. I didn't have a pantry, so I kept 2 baskets on the counter that were full of 'free snacks'. One basket held fruit and the other had snacks that were all healthy and pre-approved. So, in addition to picking out what they wanted for their lunch, they could also help themselves when they were hungry and needed a snack.

Dyane said...

Love it Karen! Always good to get a new creative idea. It's also great to have healthy snacks already out - especially about 1 hour before dinner when theyr'e "starving!" I sometimes put a muffin baking pan out and put various fruits & veggies in each muffin holder (like a mini-carrot, a strawberry) The kids think it's fun and get something nutritious. Slowly the snacks disappear as I run around getting supper ready!