Is Summer Snacking Wrecking your Grocery Budget?

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Chatting with a friend via Insta yesterday, we were lamenting the “OMG DO THEY EVER STOP EATING!!” of summer vacation.

I’ve never begrudged my kids snackies when they are hungry, but seriously, on days when we are at home, building Legos and watching movies- THEY EAT ALL DAY.  I can’t let them rummage through the cupboard and eat whatever, so I started the snack box (for the pantry) and snack drawer (in the fridge).

We’ve had “The snack box” and the “snack drawer” in our kitchen for about 2 years now.

In the cupboard, I’ve got a basket like this one. It’s full of various types of treats and snacks. Instead of buying individually bagged treats, I often buy a box of whatever (in the photo below it’s animal crackers) and divide the large box into snack-sized Ziploc bags).  It just depends on what is available at Grocery Outlet and 99 Cents Only on my weekly shopping trip. Those are my go-to snack stores.

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The Snack Drawer in the Fridge
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Pantry Snack Box- Refilled weekly

The Pantry Snack Box contains shelf-stable stuff: Juice boxes, crackers, chips, dried fruit, fruit snacks, individual Peanut/nut butter cups. I usually tuck a couple bags of microwave popcorn too. Sadly, we have none left. I was informed that I *must* rectify that matter tomorrow.

The Fridge Snack Drawer contains some of the following: Cheese sticks, yogurt, Ziploc bags of fruit or veggies (watermelon wedges, strawberries, grapes, carrots, celery, and jicama are just a few favorites), little cups of hummus, guac, ranch dip (homemade with greek yogurt and ranch dip mix).

The snacks vary by week, and I took these pics today- It’s midweek and they are pretty picked over- I did refill the Pantry Snack Box with stuff from the cupboard. That’s my secret- don’t put it all out at once. I stash the extras in the back of the pantry, where tiny arms can’t reach.

For those who read my blog regularly, you know that my weekly family grocery budget is $80. I spend about $25 of my weekly budget on stuff for the snack box/drawer. Sometimes more, sometimes less. During the school year, the function of these becomes for packing lunches in the morning. The Big Kid doesn’t really like sandwiches, and as he’s a vegetarian he gets most of his protein from nuts/seed butter and dairy sources.

I also keep Go-gurt style tube yogurts in the freezer- Those are mostly for Bitty, Big Kid doesn’t care for yogurt too often.

For the grown-ups, there is a basket in the pantry full of protein and fiber snack bars (Along with other more “grownup” snacks- which are sometimes new snacks that the kids veto after sampling). I get those at Grocery Outlet or 99 Cents Only. Grocery Outlet locations in my area always have a great variety of protein bars, snack bars, and protein cookie (Like these, which are also a hit with the Big Kid, so I have to dole them out) for a lot less than grocery or club stores.

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Close-up of the Pantry Snack Box. There is a little bit of something for everyone!

This is how my family keeps everyone fed at home and on budget. I’d love to hear about your family’s ideas to solve this issue.

Chipotle Reading Rewards: Rewarding the Little Readers in Your Life!

Disclosure: I received a free meal for four as compensation for writing this post, but honestly, reading/literacy is super important to me and the fam….

Chipotle is passionate about more than just perfectly rolled burritos, it is also committed to cultivating nourished minds and communities, and one of the best ways to do that is through Chipotle Reading Rewards – the annual program that rewards book smarts with delicious food crafted from real, whole ingredients.

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Now through Feb. 28, Chipotle is accepting educators’ and librarians’ applications for its Reading Rewards program, which can be added to an existing reading program, or Chipotle can provide schools with turnkey resources to kickstart their own.

The program is designed to help students develop a love of reading by rewarding them with free Chipotle when they reach their reading goals.

One of the reasons I love Chipotle as a family dining choice is there is someone for everyone, even the big kid, who is super picky (he has texture/sensory issues as part of his ASD). Chipotle is committed to making real food from wholesome ingredients without any added colors, flavors or additives. Chipotle has always prepared and used real ingredients that everyone can both recognize and pronounce.

The big kid likes that his food is made in front of him and he is in control of what gets added (no meat- he is a recently self declared vegetarian). I like that there are a lot of good options- freshly chopped veggies, salsas and guac made in the restaurant.

Chipotle’s craveable food is freshly prepared by hand each day using classical cooking techniques in its 2,500 restaurants.

Chipotle is committed to making its food more accessible to everyone. Ordering through the Chipotle app or website is easier than ever before, and now you can get your food faster with delivery from DoorDash.

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To learn more about the Chipotle Reading Rewards Program, click here.