Monday, August 19, 2019

Back-to-School Snacks & Hacks

This post is sponsored by Santa Cruz Organic but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

Unless you are lucky enough to be savoring these last few weeks of Summer as actual Summer, you are in full on back-to-school mode. We’re a few weeks deep, and already we are counting down to the first break where we can turn off our alarms and put away that dreaded homework folder.

But until then we’ve come up with a few hacks to make the back-to-school transition just a little smoother. With a few easy adjustments morning routines become a little easier, days progress a little happier, and sports/after school activity nights are just a little less chaotic.


1: Pre-make your lunches the night before. Quite possibly one of our favorite back-to-school hacks.This saves a ton of time and stress both in lunch planning as well as eliminates one step from the already chaotic morning routine. 

2: Create a morning toiletries basket. Put all your morning toiletries essentials in a small basket to keep on the main floor of your house. Include toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, vitamins, hair ties - basically any getting ready toiletry items your kids might need. Putting one of these together has been so helpful! Every precious second counts on those busy mornings and keeping everything together in one central spot eliminates some of that last minute running around that can occur during morning routines.

3: Choose protein packed snacks. There’s no getting around it - kids snack a ton. Try to opt for protein packed snacks. Protein gives a much needed boost in energy and makes you feel more full. So ultimately your kids, pantry, and budget will thank you. If you need a great idea we love peanut butter based snacks and these Peanut Butter Fruit Bars top our list of snack time favorites. They are quick, easy, and made in just a few simple steps with the help of Santa Cruz Organic Dark Roasted Creamy Peanut Butter and Santa Cruz Organic Strawberry Fruit Spread. (See below for full recipe.)

4: Keep Everyone Hydrated. Kids are so much more active during the day. And considering we start back-to-school in July, they’re tackling all those new routines and activities in the hottest part of the year. Hydration is important for energy, learning, and aids in making better eating choices. We send them off each day with a large water bottle, but also keep them in the car, and HUGE jugs in their sports bags year round. 

5: Keep homework time frames small. Okay we had a hard time with this because we originally wanted to do all our homework at once and just get it out of the way. We realized our kids were giving us big push back about that. We learned at the suggestion of a teacher that kids are much more productive when they are given multiple smaller blocks of time to do their homework. So grab a snack, give them a 15-30 minute timer, head over to their designated homework area, and let them do what they can. They re-visit later. 

6: Keep everyone on a sleep schedule. This goes without saying, but everyone does better when they are well rested. We know it is tricky with after school activities and sports some times, but we try to keep everyone on a good sleep schedule. Even us mommies! It’s so tempting to put everyone to bed and stay up late because we finally get some “me” time, but good rest supersedes a good reality TV binge watch sometimes. 

7: Say yes to some sweets. Did you know that eating chocolate while studying will help retain information a little easier? Now that’s advice we can get behind! Peppermint has also been proven to stimulate the brain and help with concentration. We try to have tiny individual wrapped  options of these available when studying for tests. Mommy might sneak a piece or two as well because let’s be honest - a lot of this we are re-learning too.


There are a few snacks or homemade treats that our kids request over and over again. These Peanut Butter Fruit Bars are one of them. They are super easy to make and beyond delicious. We make them with Santa Cruz Organic Dark Roasted Creamy Peanut Butter because we love the taste and the fact that they use they are certified organic. Santa Cruz uses non-GMO ingredients and processes, which we are all here for because we want those little bodies to get all the good fuel it can for back-to-school.

We make these on Sunday nights and they usually make it at least three or four days. I make more some weeks, but they gobble them up just as fast!

Peanut Butter Fruit Bar Recipe
Serves 8-16

Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 60 Minutes

- 1 cup of Santa Cruz Organic Dark Roasted Creamy Peanut Butter
- 3/4 cup of Santa Cruz Organic Strawberry Fruit Spread
- 3/4 cup of light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup of unsalted butter
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2: Line an 8x8 inch baking pan with foil, leaving one inch overhang. Spray with cooking spray and set aside.
3: Put peanut butter, sugar, and butter in a large mixing bowl and mix until well blended.
4: Add vanilla to mixture and stir evenly.
5: Combine flour, salt, and baking powder in a separate bowl. Mix evenly and then add to peanut butter mixture. Stir until even.
6: Press the batter into the bottom of the pan.

7: Bake for 25-30 minutes or until bars are golden brown on top.
8: Allow bars to cool completely for 15-20 minutes. Lift bars out of the pan by the foil overhang, and then cut evenly into squares. 
9: Spread strawberry fruit spread evenly over the batter.

10: Serve and enjoy!

What back-to-school hacks or snacks do you have for rocking back-to-school season?

To learn more about Santa Cruz, and their line of yummy organic products to help get you back-to-school ready, visit HERE.

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