Oh, Snack! A Pantry Survival Plan for Impromptu Play Dates

It starts with an innocent request from your child to have a friend come over, and before you know it you have double the expected number of children in your home.

Regardless of the time of day, those kids likely are going to need a snack or a meal. Here are four shelf-stable snack ideas you can keep on hand to make sure your playdate friends avoid “hangry” arguments!

DIY Pita Bread Pizzas 

Oh, Snack! A Pantry Survival Plan for Impromptu Play Dates

(OK, so technically this “one item” consists of four things, but it’s a must in our house.) We go to Sam’s club and buy the 10-pack of naan bread and toss it in the freezer along with a bag of shredded mozzarella cheese. When we host kids we pull out as many pitas as we have children, and let the kids make their own personal cheese or pepperoni pizzas. The pita and cheese thaw in just a few minutes and the sauce and pepperoni are shelf-stable in the pantry so we don’t worry about ingredients spoiling before they’re used. Kids love customizing their own pizzas, and we don’t drop a ton of money on carryout or delivery.  

Applesauce

“I always have fresh fruit on hand for snacks,” is something I totally would have claimed in the past, and is usually accurate. Except for that one time when I had absolutely zero fresh veggies and fruit to offer alongside the kids’ DIY pizzas. Now I keep applesauce on hand so I can at least offer something healthy when I’m out of fresh produce.

School Fundraiser Cookie Dough 

I’ve been buying mixing bowls and wrapping paper rather than sweets from the kids’ annual school fundraisers, but this year I realized I’ve been doing it all wrong. Now I use the fundraisers as a time to stock up on premade cookie dough. When I need some sweet in a pinch, I can bake ‘fresh’ cookies in 12 minutes.

Cinnamon Rolls

Sleepovers planned at the last minute are becoming a thing in our house now, too. I’ve started keeping frozen cinnamon rolls in our deep freeze so we can feed the hooligans the morning after. A dozen rolls can thaw overnight and easily feed the extra mouths at breakfast.

And More!

Many of my mom friends (you know, the ones who totally have it all together), also have a few great snack ideas of their own. You can feed an army with hard shell tacos and ground beef. Ice cream cups are self-contained and easy to offer. Muffins freeze well and thaw quickly. 

So don’t sweat the lack of foresight when you’re unexpectedly hosting an army of little people. You can feed them all with just a little freezer space and a teeny bit of pre-planning.

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Renee holds three titles that are of utmost importance to her: mom to Cale and Ian; wife to Andy; and Communications Director for Grant Wood Area Education Agency. Although she has a Master’s degree from the University of Iowa, her heart still shines cardinal and gold for Iowa State University where she received her undergraduate degree. Renee’s a foodie who loves cooking, travel, her friends, her family, the Oxford comma, and happy hour. Cheers!