Y’all the most expensive part of homeschooling in our house is the extra food that we to buy because the boys are home all the time. Since they are here, they get to expend tons energy with extended outdoor play time and lots of physical exercise indoors when weather prohibits going out. Also, our brains use most of the glucose we take in so kids who are working hard to learn new things require more food than kids who are skating by. All of this exercise and our commitment to pushing ourselves, requires extra calorie input. These calories come in the form of larger lunches and a big afternoon snack.

Anyone who has read my recent lunch post knows that I don’t like to be a short order cook. Snack time is no different. I also don’t want to set the boys free to grab whatever they want for snack. Why? Because if they were loose to do whatever, I would have a million open bags of different salty snacks, arguments over who gets to eat the last of what and my pantry would be a disaster since everyone would be spelunking through it every day. So what do we do? Each day during quiet time – our 45 minutes of space from one another – I prepare a tray of snack options.

What goes onto a snack tray? Whatever I feel like. But usually, the tray includes some type of protein, some fruit, a vegetable, a type of carb or salty snack and a tiny treat. I try to balance what is on the tray so that everyone feels like they have options that they like but the nutrition is also at least semi-balanced.

Snack time favorites . . .

ProteinsFruitVegetableCarb / Salty SnackTreat
Cheese SlicesGrapesCarrots SticksPretzelsM&Ms
String CheeseBlueberriesCucumber SlicesWheat CrackersCookie
PepperoniApple SlicesCelery SticksButter CrackersChocolate Chips
Summer SausageMandarin OrangesBell Pepper SticksPopcornPeppermint Stick
Peanut Butter SpoonBanana SlicesSalsaTortilla ChipsFruit Chews / Gummies
Peanut Butter CrackersRaisins or CraisinsZucchini SticksPotato ChipsSkittles
Nuts / PeanutsPeachesTrail MixSmall Chocolate Piece
YogurtCherriesCheerios / Cereal
Cream CheeseApplesauceGraham Crackers

When snack time arrives – right after our quiet time – the boys grab a plate and fill it with any of the options they care to put on it. They may eat as little or as much of each option as they wish as long as they leave enough that everyone could have some of each should they choose to do so. Once everyone has served themselves once, the leftovers are fair game for anyone. The tray remains out for about 45 minutes and then I clean up any leftovers as well as the dishes.

Using a snack tray is how we keep snack smart and simple. What do you do to keep snack smart and simple?