How to Save Money » Simple Living

How & Why to Create Snack Bins For Your Home

Back in December of last year, I posted a menu plan that included a photo of one of our snack bins. Since then, I’ve received numerous emails from readers, asking me how to create one and what kind of snacks we keep in ours.

Having snack bins in our home has made snack time so much simpler. I highly recommend them.

Why should we have a snack bin?

I strongly believe that having a snack bin (or 2) in your home will ensure that you and your family are eating healthier. Before we had snack bins in our home, I found that we were eating junk when we craved snacks – not because we wanted to eat junk, but because junk was the most convenient to grab.

By having a bin full of fresh fruit & veggies that are divided into individual portion sizes, it’s now much easier to grab something healthy when we’re hungry. We no longer have the excuse that grabbing a bag of potato chips is faster.

Of course, this only works if you actually fill your snack bin(s) with healthy snacks. It’s okay to throw in the odd “bad” food as well, but at least 75% of your snacks should be healthy.

Where do I keep our snack bin?

Keep your bin(s) where you will see them and use them the most. For us, we have a snack bin in the refrigerator for things like fruit, cheese, yogurt, and veggies. We also keep one in the pantry for snacks that don’t need to be refrigerated, like crackers, granola bars and popcorn.

There is also a fruit bowl on our kitchen counter where we keep produce that isn’t meant to be kept in the fridge (bananas, pears, peaches, etc.).

Having your snacks easily accessible is very important. Otherwise, you will just grab something that is easier to get to – something that likely isn’t the best food choice!

What kind of bin(s) should I use?

Really, any type of bin works would work. Make sure it’s a decent size and can hold enough snacks to last your family a week or so. Try to avoid using bins that are too big – some snacks may end up getting lost at the bottom of if you do this.

Measure your pantry, fridge or whatever other area you decide to keep your snack bin to find out the right size bin you need. The dollar store is a great place to pick up bins (that’s where we buy most of our smaller ones), but take a look around your home first – you may find something that works and can save a trip to the store. When we first created the bin for our pantry, we used the small box that came with a 12 pack of water bottles. We soon outgrew this box, but if you’re single or have a very small family, this size may work for you.

How often do I need to fill our snack bin?

I suggest filling your snack bin once a week to ensure that everything gets used and you can continue to offer fresh snacks.

I like to fill our snack bins on the weekend, right after we do our weekly grocery shop. This way, everything is at it’s freshest and can be eaten right away. It’s also less stuff that I have to put away when we come home from the grocery store. 😉

There are so many benefits to having something as simple as a snack bin in your home. Save time, money (by eating your food before it goes bad), and your sanity… just by having a bunch of snacks ready to go when hunger strikes.

If you have not tried using a snack bin, I encourage you to give it a try. I can’t promise it will completely change your life, but I can promise that snack time will be much smoother – at least for a week!

Do you have a snack bin in your home?


  1. Carrie

    I love this idea – I have been looking for a binto box style contanier for the kids – they love the snackable and i hate the prices.

  2. teachermum

    Carrie, check Dollarama, they often have some cute character plastic containers suitable for bento.

    Do I have a bin per se? No as my fridge is too full! But as soon as we get our second one in the basement and can move some things down I will. Even with 2 adult children living here, you would think someone besides me would be able to wash the grapes and take some, peel and cut up a carrot, etc…but when I washed, plucked and baggied up a whole bag of grapes one time it was amazing-they got eaten! I’d keep it at eye level (so you can see in) so that when they stand there with the fridge open looking for something that miraculously appeared since the last time they checked 3 hours ago, they give up and grab the prewashed healthy stuff!

    I find the shoebox sized plastic bins are a pretty good fit for the fridge as they are about the right depth and easy to slide out to see in the back.

  3. Cherish

    I love this idea, especially to prepare for our second babe on the way in June. Having these in the fridge would make it a lot easier to snack like I’m supposed to be doing now & when she comes too (along with making my toddler’s snack time quicker too). So simple, don’t know why I hadn’t thought of it! Haha

  4. Emilie

    I have been using “snack bins” for a couple of months now and I just love it…. being a full time student and beauty blogger, it has made is a lot easier for me while I am studying for exams or simply writing a new blog post. I also been using this method for lunches as well for the week-days which has saved me quite a lot of time for me!!

  5. Kim

    I have been using a snack bin in our cupboard for over a year now. It works great!!! We take in foreign exchange students and they grab a couple of things from the snack bin when making their lunches each day for school. With the communication barrier sometimes it helps make them feel more comfortable. It also allows our family to grab something quick and easy after school. I must admit, I have never though of doing one for the fridge. I will have to get working on that one next. Thanks for the great ideas!!!

  6. Alison

    I’ve been doing this for a while with my 3 year old. Half the fun for him is filling the snack cups. We make our own trail mix. Dried fruit, an assortment of cereals and sometimes a few smarties or chocolate chips. I put it all out and he has a little scoop.
    The best part is that he can get them out of the cupboard himself, but can’t open them himself 🙂 I should start one with fresh fruit, cheese, yogurts for the fridge too.

  7. Jen

    I think this is a great idea! However, I am concerned about the food and how quickly it will go bad. Are there certain containers I should use? Or am I okay with using ziplok baggies?

  8. Cassie Howard

    Jen: You should be ok with the bags, but containers good too. As far as how long the food stays good in there, it really depends on what you are putting into the bins.

  9. Stacey

    Fantastic idea!
    I find we throw out a lot of freezer snacks too as they’re hidden and forgotten about then get freezer burn and out they go. Might be an idea to put little notes (or something more substantial so they don’t slip to the bottom of the bin – notes in snack containers?) that say “Frozen edamame beans” or “Homemade Frozen Yogurt Pops” (or whatever’s in your freezer) to add to the choices.

  10. Elle

    Tachermum – too funny, I have always said that it is amazing how no one else in the family can wash, peel. or pluck their own fruit. My children are also grown and I too am still making the snack bins. This way when they hold open the fridge as you say looking for the stuff that may have somehow might have found its way in recently there is a wide choice to chose from that is healthy. I also have a fruit bowl on the table and the coffee table so whether they are sitting doing homework or watching tv they grab something healthy. I have a bin for the other stuff in the pantry for easy access when making lunches in hopes they will grab that and not purchase junk at school. so far so good. ( I think because we started when they were so young this is what they are use) 🙂

  11. Jen

    I started using a snack bin when I met my husband. I made his lunch one day, and thought how insane to go through all the boxes of granola bars, cookies and snacks. I then started neatly arranging the packages in a basket that sat on the shelf. This way it was super-easy to see and grab what you’d like and not find out some Friday, that you ran out – since you couldn’t see what was in the boxes. That was 8 years ago and still going strong…. I do want to try the fridge one though! Great idea!

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