This Easy Back-To-School Breakfast and Snack Pantry post has been compensated by #CollectiveBias Inc. and its advertiser #QuakerTime . All opinions are mine alone, and photos are mine alone.
I was talking with my friend Jenn last week, and we were comparing grocery costs for our households. The longer we talked, the more I realized that I need to do something about the amount of money I spend each month on groceries. When the kids were little, I could go shopping at Walmart once a month and other than the occasional treat I never had to return to the store. Now that the kids are older that simply isn't working. I shop once a month and find myself returning to the grocery store sometimes more than twice in a week. While summer can be rough when it comes to food costs, we struggle when the kids head back to school. During the summer, we can make due with whatever we have in the pantry, and I can cook for the kids because we have more time in our schedule. During the school year, the children are rushed to get out the door, so I try so hard to make sure we have enough breakfast to get us through the month. Last year, I failed miserably at this and we either paid for school breakfast, or they didn't eat at all. That WILL NOT happen this year!
I usually try to fit in some fun snack ideas for the beginning of the school year, but this year I am using the free space in my side pantry to organize all of our breakfast foods and snacks. Now the kids never have to go hungry. I can already tell that this is going to be successful because I now know exactly how many meals a box of cereal will provide and how many breakfasts I can serve with what I have in the pantry. Before I started using this system, the kids could kill a box of cereal in a day, and the oatmeal was going to waste. Now they know exactly what they can have, and they love having so many choices. I also realize now that I may have been shooting myself in the foot with my "One box of cereal at a time rule". I'm wondering if they were purposefully eating/wasting as much as they could so they could move on to the box they wanted to eat! They are pretty smart.
If you feel as overwhelmed as I was, I hope you will try my easy back-to-school breakfast and snack pantry plan for yourself.
This organization system is simple and affordable, after all we are doing this to save money right?!
Here's what you need:
* 8-10 storage containers with lids - .87 at Walmart
* Label Stickers (I used #18163) - $4.44 at Walmart (you can use any sticker paper you have lying around)
* Snacks and Breakfast Foods
* Sandwich Bags - I already had these, and I believe I paid $1.50
You can choose how many storage containers you need to purchase based on how often you shop and how many children you have. Shopping once a month I buy a lot of snacks at one time and with four kids I try to give them plenty of options.
You can use a few different programs to design your labels, or you can choose a template from the label brands website. You could even have your children decorate them. I simply labeled breakfast and snack containers and made sure they knew they could only take one.
After you have your labels decorated, you can place them on your containers and begin feeling them with food. Many of the things I purchase are single serve items, but for foods like cereal I measure out about 1 1/2 cups and seal it in a sandwich bag, which is where I am saving money. I found that I could get about 12 sandwich bags of cereal out of one box of Captian Crunch by prepackaging them for the kids. When they pour their cereal, they often fill the bowl to the top and leave the excess cereal in the bowl when they are full. By offering single servings, I can ensure portion control and make sure no one is wasting breakfast!
Quaker Instant Oatmeal packets have also proven to be a better deal than buying one large container of oatmeal. I can't even begin to tell you how much oatmeal I have thrown away in the past two years which is why I only buy single serve packets now. I also learned that generic oatmeal brands taste "funny" which means I have children that are loyal to Quaker Oats!
After you've got your breakfast all figured out you can work on your snack containers. My kids are allowed two snacks a day, one at school, and one when they get home from school. I try to choose foods that are easy to grab and toss in a lunch box at the last minute, as well as snacks I know they love. When I was younger, we didn't have money to purchase snacks, so I view them as a luxury and buying snacks for the kids feels like such a privilege. My children get to help me choose snacks because they don't get many options when it comes to the rest of their lunch box. When I have to make four school lunches before the busses, arrive it's quickest to send the same meals for everyone. Snacks, on the other hand, can be grabbed quickly and chosen by each child.
My kids usually want fruit for one of their snacks, but surprisingly they hate taking fruit to school. They all agree that fruit is too messy and makes their lunch boxes gross so they prefer clean snacks (that's how I know they are mine). They love all things granola and rice cakes, so these are just a few of the snacks I picked up at Walmart to start the school year.
I try to purchase value packs for snacks when possible because it saves me money and gives the kids more choices. They all have their favorite flavors of Quaker Chewy Granola Bars. These are also the only snacks that I will also allow for breakfast when one of the kids isn't feeling well and doesn't want to eat.
Now the moment you've all been waiting for... Check out my quickly organized breakfast and snack pantry:
It doesn't get much easier than this! The kids are happy, I'm not nearly as stressed, and my checkbook is breathing a sigh of relief! Let me know if you decide to organize your pantry, I would love to see what you do!
You can find everything I used in this post at your local Walmart. Oh, and if you're looking for the Quaker Chewy Bars Variety Pack with the FREE Birthday Cake Bar be sure to check the end caps because that's where I found mine!