Thrifty Summer Snacking
Can you believe it? School will be out NEXT MONTH! Now is the time to start thinking about how you're going to feed three meals and snacks every day all summer without breaking the bank. I have some great tips and ideas on how to do just THAT! One thing I always try and keep in mind is planning is key! If I plan ahead, things always seem to go smoother :D
Package them yourself:
You will likely come out better when buying snacks if you forego the individual bags. Buy the large bag of store-brand chips or pretzels and put them in snack bags yourself. You can save more than half by just buying a box of ziplock bags at the Dollar Store and measuring out your own single-portion sizes.
Make them yourself:
This is a great time to stock up on cake and brownie mixes. With Easter right around the corner, many stores will have these items on sale. Be on the lookout after Easter for all of the Easter themed cake and brownie mixes to be marked down as much as 90% off!
Pop your own popcorn:
It is healthier and much less expensive to air pop your popcorn rather than buying the individual bags of microwave popcorn. You can also pop enough for the week and package it in individual ziplock bags! You can buy one at Amazon for just $14.99 SHIPPED!
Don't forget Jello and Pudding:
Jell-O and pudding are great snacks for the kiddos in the summer! We often forget about these summertime staples, which makes them even more exciting for our children.
Always buy store brand:
One of the biggest mistakes parents make is getting their kids hooked on name brand snacks. 20 years ago, the generic snacks weren't that great, but they have come a long way lately. The store brand snacks are often just as tasty, if not better, than the more expensive name brand snacks.
Not only is water the cheapest and healthiest beverage around; often it can curb hunger! Did you know that if you are not drinking enough water, you can actually feel more hungry? So, give them water and make it a habit around your house this summer.
Peanut Butter and raisins Snacks:
Peanut butter and raisins are both great, healthy snacks that are also very inexpensive! Combining both peanut butter and raisins on a saltine or graham cracker is perfect for a picnic or poolside. They will also give your kiddos enough protein and carbs to tide them over to the next meal.
Always Sales and use Coupons:
During the summer these are usually plentiful and become more so as back-to-school sales ramp up. Late in the summer, back to school sales are a great source for individually packaged snacks as stores aim toward the lunchbox crowd.
If you are "the Kool-aid house" of your neighborhood; don't be shy on accepting donations. If the parents of the children who are at your house every day are willing to send food/drinks or chip in a little cash here and there, by all means, accept it. It can get pretty expensive feeding all of the kids in the neighborhood all summer. There is also nothing wrong with asking parents to help "chip in" for snacks over the summer, especially if their children are "regulars" at your house.
Bottled water, canned soda, bottled juices, juice boxes, and pouches are expensive. I know it's tempting to buy them because they are convenient, but after a few weeks of buying them; they get very expensive. Try using drink mixes and filtered water from the tap. I use my water filter pitcher and put water in a cooler with paper cups outside. It works like a charm!
You don’t have to break the bank to feed the neighborhood kids over the summer. All you have to do is plan a little and make smart choices. My motto is: If the kids don’t like what you’re serving, they can always go home. The kids NEVER go home LOL