Do you feel like snacks are a constant struggle in your household? Are you looking for a better way to organize healthy snacks for your kids? Maybe your kids are at the age that they can get their own snacks, but you are not sure of the best way to display them. A snack station is a great idea for organizing and displaying snacks for both kids and adults. These simple snack station ideas will make it easy to set up a DIY snack station for the whole family, while also giving recommendations for a variety of snacks.
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What Is A Snack Station?
A snack station is a place where you keep all your favorite snacks. Snack stations are a great idea for all ages, but they can be a game changer and the perfect solution with kids. A kids snack station is the easiest way to keep all the snack foods in one place for easy access. For me, we have a pantry snack station with a couple shelves dedicated to healthy snacks for our 4 year old and 2 year old.
Where Should I Put My Snack Station?
There are a variety of places that you can put your kids snack station. The best place for you is the place that is convenient and easy to access. There are a couple things you will want to think about as you decide where the best place for your snack station is in your home.
Do you want your kids to be able to reach the snacks?
First, do you want your kids to be able to reach it and get their own snacks? Or are they at the age that you want them to be out of reach and ask you for permission first. There are pros and cons to this on both sides. On the one hand, it is great for my 4 year old to be able to grab a fruit bar on her own without my help. On the other hand, that also means she can eat 4 apple and mango fruit bars without me knowing and then doesn’t want dinner. Ask me how I know. My best advice is that if your kids are on the younger side of being able to get snacks themselves, you will need to set up some snacking ground rules.
The age of your kids is going to make a huge difference with whether or not they are getting their own snacks. My 2 year old is not able to open snack packages on his own, but he is able to point to what he wants and say it. Older kids on the other hand are obviously going to have more easy access to a variety of snacks. You may still want official rules for snacking so that they still want dinner later.
What are your snack storage space options in your home?
Second, what does your snack storage space look like in your home? Do you have a larger pantry that can hold all your snack items in a nice display and their larger containers? Or do you have a smaller pantry but room for a snack cart in your kitchen or dining room. Do you have garage or basement storage for the larger containers if your kitchen storage is tight?
Snack Station Location Options:
Based on your kids ages, level of access you want them to have, and your storage space, here are some options for places to set up a snack station:
- Kitchen pantry
- Kitchen cabinets
- Kitchen counter
- Snack cart
- Armoire or other cabinet
In our home that we moved into last summer, we have a large pantry in the kitchen, so we were able to set up a pantry snack station. In the past, we have used kitchen cabinets as well as the garage for extra storage.
What Do You Need To Set Up A Snack Station?
The easiest answer is that you do not need anything extra to set up a DIY snack station. You can place the snacks in your kitchen cabinet and call it a day. However, if you want to keep it organized, a few items can help a ton and make it a lot prettier. Not only does it look good with a few organizing containers, you and your kids can also easily see what items you have.
Having an organized snack station will make grocery shopping so much easier. I can quickly look in my pantry on the display shelves and in the larger storage bins. Then I see what needs to be added to the grocery store and Costco list.
There are 3 types of storage and organization items that I believe have the biggest impact on an effective snack station:
Adding clear pantry cabinet storage bins will be a game changer for your DIY snack station. It is a great way to keep a variety of snacks organized together. This helps with younger kids, because they can easily see what is on the shelf and let you know what they want. Do you have a toddle with strong opinions but their language skills have not caught up? This is an easy way to give them a little control. Little hands point to what they want and it is a great solution to prevent meltdowns.
In order for this to work, you will need to unload your snack items out of their original containers when you get home from the grocery store. It actually does not take much time at all. I can do it in less than 5 minutes now that I’m into the routine. I recommend buying what you can in bulk snacks. You will often get the best prices and you are going to take it out of the packaging anyway.
If you have snacks that do not find in the storage bins, that is called back stock. That is what the larger containers are for below.
Food storage containers can completely change the look of your pantry or snack station area of choice in a great way. This 24-piece food storage container set is the exact one I bought and use for my pantry and snack station. They have two great options with black and grey bordered lids. I personally bought the grey option.
At first, this may look like a lot of work to move snacks to clear storage containers. It is actually an easy solution and makes putting together a grocery list so much better. Now I do not have to wonder if it is a full box of Annie’s cheddar bunnies in the pantry or a box with 3 crackers left. Once you have put it together, you can take an inventory of your child’s snack station. It takes less than a minute before grocery shopping.
While I am talking about snack station ideas specifically, I use these food storage containers for way more. I use them for baking supplies such as sugar and flour, breakfast grains like cereal and oatmeal, and other grains such as rice. These can make packing lunches and school snacks easier also!
If you have older kids, this is a great chore to get their help with to make it easier and involve the whole family. They can unload food into containers. They can also help you with the grocery list by taking stock of your snack station for you.
The storage container set I bought has dishwasher-safe bottoms to make keeping clean easy. To keep pantry snacks fresh, we use up what is in the storage container, wash the container, then fill it back up again. While this means everything does not look TV perfect all the time, we don’t have to worry how old food is by constantly refilling containers with new snacks.
The final thing you need to set up the perfect snack station are larger containers for bulk and extras. It is inevitable that you will not be able to fill up the clear storage containers perfectly every time. You will have more bars than fit in the bin or buy more than one container of puffs at a time. This is where the larger containers come in.
Buy the larger containers in a color that is not clear so that the items are less obvious. This will keep you looking at the nicely displayed clear bins without focusing on the extra boxes and packaging. I chose to go with gray, a similar one to this product. I found mine as a set at Costco. But you can buy what you like and colors that work for you. They do not need to be specifically labeled for food storage, since you are not going to have the loose food products in them. You may see something labeled as bathroom organization that may work perfect for you. I do recommend going with a plastic that you can rinse or wipe out, not fabric. This is in case there are any spills.
Snack Station Food Ideas
There are a lot of healthy food options to set up a kids snack station, even with pre-packaged snacks. When I am putting together a snack for my kids, I try to think about having options from more than one food group. This helps with long-lasting energy and kids eating a variety of snack options.
Snack time is a big deal around here, so I buy my kids favorite snacks from Costco when at all possible. Target also has healthy options for snacks, as well as grocery stores like Publix. I will also say I recently went to my local Walmart Grocery and I was very impressed with their healthy options in the snack category.
A few of the kid’s non-perishable favorite snacks that I keep on hand include:
- Fruit and vegetable pouches
- Fruit bars – they love That’s It and Pure Organic
- Clif bars
- Fruit cups
- Annie’s cheddar bunnies
- Simple Mills cookies and crackers
- Freeze dried fruit
- Happy Baby puffs
- Chickpea puffs
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I hope these snack station ideas have inspired you to set up your own in your home! Comment below and let me know where you have your snack station set up and your favorite snacks for kids.