The kids have been out of school for a few weeks now, and it didn’t take long for our budget to take a hit. With five kids in the house all summer, our grocery bill has gone up significantly. We are responsible for the same three meals a day, but without packing a specific lunch, it seems they would like to eat anything and everything. (And let’s not even get started on summer snacking!)
They’re basically eating from the minute they wake up until we pry their hands off the fridge door and send them to bed at night. I’ve read all the posts on declaring a snack drawer in the fridge and a shelf in the pantry to be sure their free for all is healthy. But, I only supply healthy foods so that’s not an issue.
The real problem is that I shop for the week on Monday, and the food is gone by Wednesday. They seemed to do just fine throughout the year, with a packed lunch and a full fruit bowl after school. Once they’re home with the pantry and fridge all day, though, it becomes a free for all.
Then I stumbled on a solution to our food dilemma — the lunchbox. It works all school year. Why not use it during the summer too? Each night, I pack a lunchbox full of healthy snacks for each kid. They can graze all day, split their fare into a few snack sessions, or eat it all before lunch. It only takes a day or two for them to figure out that eating everything at once leaves them a little hungry before dinner.
We have plenty of fruit, trail mix, popcorn, and granola bars available in their lunchboxes. We keep the refrigerated favorites like yogurt and cheese relegated to breakfast lunch, so it isn’t sitting in a lunchbox all day. It has become the perfect compromise between limiting snacks and giving kids free reign in the kitchen.
They have plenty to snack on as they run and play all day long. And I have plenty of food in the fridge and room in the budget for other things this summer.
More from Heather:
Red Robin Burgers and the Bottomless Fries