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Snacks and meals are notorious for breaking your focus and interrupting work time. Between the planning, preparation, decisions, cooking and devouring, eating well takes time. Multiply that for each member of your family and it becomes a time sink fast.

With a little bit of planning ahead, you can reclaim a large portion of this time without your family clutching their stomachs and groaning like zombies. Better still, you’ll likely save money!

Planning the Assault

To steam line things and boost the benefits of this quick tip, it helps to analyze eating habits, routines and dietary needs before heading out on your next shopping run. Then you can pick out things that not only suit your family’s tastes and diet, but that also work well in a pre-packed format.

Since saving time isn’t worth loading your family with preservatives and crazy ingredients, you’ll be doing the packing.

Don’t worry. While it looks daunting at first, you’ll find the whole thing goes fairly quickly.

Lay out your quick calendar:

  • Label a week (or however often you typically shop) on a sheet of notebook paper.
  • Choose the snacks or meals you’d like to pack
  • Start filling in those time slots!

Plenty of things can be prepared ahead of time.

  • Cold cut sandwiches
  • Veggies and dip
  • Cheese slices
  • Chopped fruit
  • Yogurt with fruit

If you can slap it in a bag, wrap it in shrink-wrap or place it in containers, it’s fair game!

What you choose will determine the supplies you’ll need. While you could just use sandwich baggies or the like, you’ll find that you will burn through them quite fast.

Not only is this bad for your finances, but also not exactly friendly for this ball of dirt we call Earth.

I prefer plastic containers with locking lids. They’re quick and easy to clean, will last for plenty of uses and stack and store easily.

With your list of snacks and containers in hand, it’s time to head to head to the store and pick up your supplies!

Assemble Your Army

Once you have everything purchased, it’s time to shift into assembly mode.

Depending on your house, you might can even recruit the kids for help. Just line up your various containers, pick a snack and start loading. By breaking it down by item, you’ll be flying through them in no time. After a few rounds, your brain will go into autopilot.

Before you know it, you’ll have a pile of snacks anyone can grab without having to ask for help or break open a bag or box full of who knows what!

All that is left is to label and store your bounty of munchies.

I like to label my containers using masking tape and a permanent marker. The masking tape comes off easily and a bold marker is high-contrast for easy grabbing at a glance. If you want to take it one step further, color code things by day, child, time slot or whatever works for you.

Unleash the Snacks

With snacks prepared you have at least one less thing on your to-do list.

The after-school snack is just a grab away. Kids hungry on the weekend at an odd hour? Just grab a container and let it rip.

While it takes some time to do the initial preparation, you can gain more control and flow throughout your daily routine.

Instead of having to get up and interrupt your article, ad layout or website template for 15 or 20 minutes at a time, you can get up and have the kids chowing down and onward to their homework, chores, playing in the yard or breaking the record for most texts sent in a month in just a few minutes.

Of course, this is just the start of the potential of this tip. 

Have a family with older teens or different schedules? You can use this to bulk prepare and store meals too! Whip up a big batch of something microwave- or oven-friendly and store it in portions in the fridge. When it’s meal time, simply grab, heat and eat.

It’s all the convenience of fast food, TV dinners or boxed meals but it’ll taste better and come with a whole lot less processing!

What systems or tricks do you use to squeeze every minute out of your daily routine? I’d like to hear them! After all, making money while keeping the family happy and healthy is what Family Freelancer is all about. Just drop a line in the comments!

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About The Author

Jon Stone

As a full-time stay-at-home dad of a two spunky kids--2 and 9 years old--Jon Stone spends what little time he can form coherent thoughts working as a content marketing specialist and copywriter. He loves coffee, fantasy novels and Minecraft. Sometimes, if he's super lucky, he reads the back of his own eyelids. Most times, he's just busy scribbling notes like a madman or playing with his kids.

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