Cooking

Attack of the Snack Pack

Behold the snack pack, a marvelous invention. The snack pack offers you many things: convenience, portion control, yummy snacks! The only thing the snack pack is not is inexpensive. Because of the convenience and the extra packaging, the snack pack can be quite pricy unfortunately.

So how to take advantage of the snack pack attributes and keep from spending a fortune? Why make them yourself of course! Homemade snack packs are simple, fast and environmentally friendly. They also save you tons of moo-lah while offering you convenience.

To make any kind of snack pack you first need the correct container. If you use a container that’s too big your snack pack will be bulky and cumbersome. Pick a container that’s too small and you’ll take two bites and be finished! A snack pack needs to be just the right size.

The best container I’ve found for snack packs is Gladware ½ cup round containers. They hold one serving of jello, one serving of pudding, one serving of applesauce and so on. They come in a package of 8 containers. It’s been awhile since I bought these but I believe they run approximately $3.00 per pack. You might catch them on sale for $2.50 and the Sunday paper also has coupons for Gladware or Glad products from time to time. At $3.00 per pack that’s $0.38 per container.

What to put in your snack pack is entirely up to you. Here are some options:

Pudding – instant or homemade
Jello
Applesauce – from a bigger jar or homemade
Fruit – pineapple chunks are good
Pickles – I seriously saw pickle snack packs at the store so why not make your own
Yogurt

Now the main point of a snack pack is convenience, therefore it’s best to make a whole bunch at once. That way they are ready for you to grab right out of the refrigerator and pop in your lunch or whatever you need them for. I frequently make pudding, jello and pineapple snack packs. The picture above is lime jello snack packs I made last night.

The fastest way to make pudding and jello snack packs is to mix up the pudding or jello in a big measuring cup with a spout. Then when you are finished mixing you can pour the pudding or jello straight into the Gladware cups, pop the lids on and put them in the refrigerator. The whole process takes less than 10 minutes. I frequently replenish my snack pack supply while I am waiting on my dinner to cook. I’m already in the kitchen so I might as well spend 10 minutes doing something productive.

The Economics: We’ll just analyze pudding snack packs for now. A box of instant pudding costs $0.75. It contains 4 servings. It requires 2 cups of milk. Milk is about $3.00 per gallon right now in my area. A gallon of milk contains 16 cups. At $3.00 per gallon that’s $0.19 per cup, or $0.38 needed to make our pudding. At that to $0.75 for the pudding mix and the total cost is $1.13. The pudding will make 4 servings, so that’s $0.28 per serving. We’re not including the cost of the containers because they are reusable. Make homemade pudding and the cost is even less.

I think commercial pudding snack packs are around $3.00 for a pack of 6. That makes the cost $0.50 per serving. That’s 44% higher than the homemade version. Now a $0.22 savings may not seem worth it to you, but let’s think of it over a longer period of time. Say you have 2 kids. Each one eats one pudding snack pack every day at school in their lunch. That’s 2 snack packs per day, 5 days per week. Your kids go to school for 9 months out of the year, so say 36 weeks. At 10 snack packs per week for 36 weeks, a $0.22 cent savings would save you $79.20! Now do you see how it adds up?

So is it worth it? YES! Not only are homemade snack packs cost savvy, they are also environmentally friendly. By making homemade snack packs out of reusable containers you are throwing away less trash. In my area the commercial snack pack containers are not recyclable. Gladware containers are recyclable so when they get worn out you can recycle them. And if one is accidentally lost by a kid (or a husband!), you are not out a lot of money on a container.

Bottom line: make homemade snack packs!

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One thought on “Attack of the Snack Pack

  1. These are great ideas! Thanks! I especially like that you do this while dinner is cooking. Now there is no more excuse about time.

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