The Snack Bin

Somehow, boating and snacking just go together.  Whether it’s the fresh air, the activity or the friends stopping by, it’s not unusual to find people opening cupboards and looking to see what there is to eat!

Whether you’re out for the afternoon or a week, it only makes sense to plan for snacks when you’re planning the food on board – otherwise, you might be surprised to find part of your dinner ingredients missing.

We kept a snack bin on our boat, Que Tal.  A big plastic tub next to the companionway, I’d fill it with various treats that anyone could eat – or offer to anyone that came by – without asking, any time they wanted.  With it, Dave no longer felt like a child, having to ask “permission” to eat something, and I no longer was frustrated to find that the cashews for Cashew Chicken were gone. We do the same thing now on Barefoot Gal.

A few of our favorites for the snack bin:

  • Crackers, particularly in single-serving packets (or I’d divide them into small plastic bags with one serving each).  Add a jar of peanut butter to have with the crackers for a more substantial snack.
  • Fruit, especially oranges.  If you wrap them in foil, they stay good considerably longer.
  • Nuts, again in single serving packages.  Unshelled nuts, such as peanuts or pistachios, give the snacker something to do.
  • Olives can sometimes be found in single serving plastic packages – these are great!
  • GORP (Good Old Raisins & Peanuts) – is a favorite of Girl and Boy Scouts.  In rough weather, it can even stand in for meals, such as on such as our “rambunctious” sail from the Bahamas to Florida.  I put GORP into plastic bottles that fit into the drink holder on the steering pedestal, and then we’d just grab a handful at a time.  A good mix is roughly equal parts peanuts, raisins and M&M’s, but you can use other dried fruit bits and other small candies as well (things that don’t melt in your hand are best).
  • Almost any dried fruit.
  • Applesauce in individual serving containers.
  • Individual packages of cookies, particularly ginger snaps (ginger is a natural  seasickness preventive).

Foods that take more “making” – such as dips or hot treats – are better left as appetizers or accompaniments for sundowners.

Got any other favorites?

An easy way to let everyone know what's fair game for snacking . . . and what's not!

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16 Comments
  • Mary Lightfine on Facebook
    Posted at 18 January 2013 Reply

    Leads me to my other snack question. Have you or your readers ever used a vacuum food saver to preserve foods in smaller pkgs for your trips? We like to snack on nuts & tortillas but the rest of the bag/jar goes bad on a boat rather quickly. Is this an option any of you have tried?

  • The Boat Galley on Facebook
    Posted at 18 January 2013 Reply

    Yes, I’ve done it may times and it works well. Haven’t tried it so much with chips, but it works with crackers.

  • Sara Barnard
    Posted at 11 September 2013 Reply

    Yes! This is a great idea 🙂 We have a snack drawer on Illusion which works the same way, with very similar contents. We also have in ours nut/granola bars, chocolate, and even tins of sardines! Plus banana bread (made using the recipes in your book, of course!) on the surface above it. You’re right – it’s a great way of ‘rationing’ and being able to keep on top of what’s available for cooking proper meals. Nothing more annoying than going to prepare something for dinner and you don’t have what you thought you had to work with….

  • Terry Lynn Simmons
    Posted at 11 September 2013 Reply

    Great ideas, great article.

  • Monika Ludewig Bradley
    Posted at 29 July 2014 Reply

    I have been doing this for years, even at home!

  • Diana K Weigel
    Posted at 30 July 2014 Reply

    Just in time for provisioning my boat. Thanks

  • Christine Warren
    Posted at 30 July 2014 Reply

    Love this! We are doing a charter in the BVI in December…I am going to put together a snack bin to take with us!

  • Kathy Haslam
    Posted at 31 July 2014 Reply

    Great idea. I keep a snack drawer onboard with similar things plus found a camembert cheese (that doesn’t need refrigeration) with crackers for my Frenchman

  • Denise Messerman
    Posted at 14 October 2014 Reply

    I use them in my freezer

  • Elinore
    Posted at 01 October 2015 Reply

    I thought this was an outstanding idea and implemented it when we moved aboard last January. On our first shakedown cruise in June our guests LOVED the snack bin, the fact that it was readily available and our friend Bruce particularly liked the idea that he didn’t need to ask permission to rummage through it whenever he wanted (which turned out to be most of the time). Searching for new treats has become my favorite provisioning chore, with my latest finds at Costco of individual-serving size bags of beef jerky and two-cookie Milano packets.

  • Wheels To Keels
    Posted at 11 April 2016 Reply

    I have an *entire *cabinet that is the snack and dessert space for the kids and husband.

  • JB Writes
    Posted at 11 April 2016 Reply

    Yep, but I usually sail singlehanded so I can only blame the before-coffee me.

  • Pamela Douglas Webster
    Posted at 11 April 2016 Reply

    We have a snack locker which, surprisingly, is right beside my husband’s favorite settee when we’re hanging out below.

    One snack we always have on hand is peanuts. The protein hit is helpful for keeping you from going overboard with other kinds of junk.

  • Diana K Weigel
    Posted at 12 April 2016 Reply

    A snack bin is a absolute must have on my boat. Saves time when I get the inevitable “I’m hungry what’s there to eat?” Question while busy.

  • Dave Tew
    Posted at 12 April 2016 Reply

    Carrots.

  • Dave Skolnick
    Posted at 04 April 2017 Reply

    I divide snacks into two categories: entertaining and watchstanding.

    For entertaining there is a thread on Facebook in “Cooking on a Boat!” that is very good.

    For watchstanding it is worth noting that people eat as much because they are bored as because they are hungry. Accordingly oranges (which have to be peeled) are better than apples (as long as you like oranges). Hard-boiled eggs are good because they have to be peeled. I’ve even had Thai sticky rice since you have to form each nibble.

    After a crew member ate an entire pound of chocolate in one four hour watch I keep a lot of snacks in deep storage and meter them out into the snack bag.

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