Do your kids come home from school exhausted and hungry? I think it depends on their age. My tween and teen come home exhausted and hungry and the younger kids come home hungry and full of energy from sitting all day. So what should we feed them that is nutritious and budget friendly? And of course kid friendly is a must. Here are some tips to keep them full, happy, and keep mom and dad on budget!
Sliced fruits and veggies: Cut apples and oranges into small slices that they can eat while working on homework. It’s less expensive to buy the fruits and vegetables whole and cut yourself. The cost goes up when you choose convenience packages of sliced foods.
Cheese: Cheese is another great choice for energy. Again, string cheese is going to cost more than a block of cheese that you slice for them. Price vs. convenience. In our house, we choose the lower cost options.
Peanut butter: My kids are huge peanut butter fans. And it is full of protein for health. I try to have a plate of fruits, veggies, a small dipping bowl of peanut butter and ranch. The kids love making their own creations.
Wraps: Another options is a sandwich wrap. Easy enough for the kids to make themselves too. Place the tortilla wraps on the table with deli meat, cheese, and condiments that they enjoy. Some examples are mayo, mustard, ranch, cream cheese, and sour cream.
Pretzels & Popcorn: Another easy and healthy option. Pop a bag of popcorn or fill a bowl with pretzels. Shake it up by adding parmesan cheese or other flavoring to the popcorn. Have peanut butter available to dip pretzels. What are your kids favorite after school snack?
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Bread is something our family goes through a lot in a months time. We pack four school lunches. That is 8 pieces of bread per day and 40 per week. And that is just for the kids lunches. We also make french toast and mom and dad enjoy a sandwich every now and then as well. So, how can we keep the cost down?
Did you know that you can freeze bread? If you find an amazing price on your favorite brand of bread, grab it and stock our freezer. When it’s time to thaw, just move it to the fridge. Easy peasy!
Many name brand bread companies put out manufacturer coupons in the paper or online to print. Check the manufacturers website as well. You can even email your favorite bread company and request coupons from them directly. Need extra coupons? You can ask friends & family for their extra coupon inserts or join trade groups and trade for your coupons. Again, you will want to stock up during a sale paired with coupons.
Head to the Farmers Market
Many areas host Farmers Markets. Some are weekly, some are held monthly. Many of these Farmers Markets offer deep discounts on bakery items. My biggest tip is to try and talk them down even further. Or, wait until the last hour of the market, and you will find prices slashed further, as the sellers do not want to take the bread back to the store/home with them!! Again, stock up and freeze your bread to avoid multiple trips (save gas money!) to the market each week.
Shop the Bread Outlets
Do you have local bread outlets in your area? They can offer deep discounts. We have two in our area. We have a Flowers outlet and and Entenmanns outlet. Both have rock bottom prices on all types of bread. We can find hot dog buns, rolls, bread loaves, gluten free bread, and so much more at 50% or more off the regular price. Keep an eye on the expiration date, as some are almost expired, meaning you will have to pop them in the freezer if you’re not going to use right away!
It’s back to school time! Where did the summer go? It’s time to get the school supplies, back to school wardrobe, and meet the teachers. But, don’t forget about those nutritious lunches! Packing a healthy yet budget friendly lunch (and one that the kids will actually love) is not difficult at all.
Here are a few tips:
Insulated lunchbox: You may want to splurge a little on the lunchbox. Why? So the kids can have a variety of choices, not just the same pb&j. A durable insulated lunchbox will help the food stay cold (or hot) until lunch.
Thermos: Cut out the cost of juice boxes, milk cartons, and water bottles by purchasing a spillproof thermos. This can be used for many years if you purchase a durable one. Check the clearance section a few weeks into the school year if you want to find the best deal. Many will be discounted up to 75% as the stores are trying to push the rest of the school inventory.
Price over convenience: Don’t give into the higher cost of prepackaged snacks. These can cost quite a bit more than purchasing a box of snacks that you have to separate into single servings yourself. Yes, it may take a few extra minutes of packing, but it’s worth the savings in the long run. It can all add up quickly.
Reusable containers: This is not only better for your budget, but also better for the environment. Avoid the constant purchasing of ziploc bags by heading the the dollar stores and grabbing a reusable sandwich container and snack holders.
Slice your own produce: Buying whole apples or whole celery sticks and slicing them yourself is much cheaper than purchasing already cut bags of apples and celery. This is true with most produce items as well.
Do you have more tips to share?
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