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Planning your family's meals for the week makes life easier in so many ways. Planning your family's snacks can bring the same ease and convenience, as well. You'll be amazed at how easy it is to do, and how much time and money you'll save. You may just end up with better snacks, too.

Woman shopping for healthy snacks

We all know the benefits of meal planning. You save time by knowing ahead of time what you're going to make instead of staring endlessly into your pantry and freezer. You also save money by not making multiple trips to the grocery store, because sticking strictly to your shopping list isn't always easy.

Those same facts are true for snack planning. The next time your kids say, "Mom, I'm hungry," you'll know exactly what's on the snacking menu. Simply grab what's next on your snack list and get back to what you were doing. Here are a few benefits and tips on planning out your family's snacks:

1Convenience

The next time you have a few free hours on the weekend, make up a bunch of freezer-friendly snacks, and you'll be set for months. Make batches of cookies and whole-wheat breads and muffins. You can even pre-assemble and freeze snack-size burritos and seasoned ground meat for nachos. Wrap everything individually, or at least in small groups, so you'll be able to thaw only as many as you need at a time. You won't believe how much easier your life is when you can hand your child a homemade snack that you didn't just make.

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You also can pre-assemble snacks for the week and keep them in your fridge. Throw together a fruit salad and store it in individual containers. Cut up vegetables and store them in snack-size bags, along with individual containers of dressing or peanut butter for dipping. Cut up meats and cheese, and store them in plastic bags with crackers so your kids can assemble their own little snack sandwiches.

2Economy

Store-bought boxes of snacks are easy to buy and easy to serve. If you study the packages, you can even find some that are healthy. They're also easy to over-buy, so you end up spending more money (and wasting more space) on snack items than food for your actual meals. By snack planning, you'll know ahead of time how much snack food you need. This way, you'll have just enough and be prepared, even if you don't make your own.

Printable grocery shopping list >>

3Kid-friendliness

The only thing worse than staring down your pantry shelves looking for a snack idea is watching your kids do the same thing. By snack planning, you'll have a whole week's worth of snacks all ready to go. Older children can just reach into the fridge and help themselves. Label snacks by day of the week, and maybe even time of day. Life will be much easier for you, and your kids will love that little bit of independence.

Easy, healthy snacks for kids who can't wait for dinner >>

Make your shopping list at home, then go through your cabinets, pantry, fridge and freezer to make sure you don't already have anything you listed.

More snack ideas

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Top 10 healthy snacks for kids
Budget-friendly snack ideas for kids

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