As a busy mom, we all know how important keeping our kids fed and hydrated truly is. Whether it’s before or after school or in-between meals, healthy snacks are important being that they provide energy and help our kids from overeating.
I didn’t realize how much money I was spending on snack foods when my kids were smaller, until one day, I decided to go over our grocery receipts. I was shocked to find that I was spending over fifty dollars in snack foods, alone. Shocking, I know!
As a first time mom, with two under two, I thought I needed to have separate, packaged snacks for my kids- and not only were they simply added sugar and additives, they were eating our pockets as well. According to research, most Americans household food budget is spent on processed foods.
It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I learned what these packaged snacks were costing us financially, but also our overall health. So I made the switch to simple, fruits, vegetables, and oats. I compiled a list for you as well so that you could avoid the ‘junk’ aisle on your next grocery trip- and save on your monthly grocery budget- all while making healthy choices for your kids.
- Pineapples: a whole pineapple typically costs $2.50. We slice our own and it usually lasts our family of four about four days, being that we are alternating snacks for ourselves and the kids. That’s less than $0.15 a serving.
- Blueberries: sweet and succulent, blueberries provide tons of nutrients and can be eaten by themselves, or with a variety of other snacks. Typically $4.00 per pound for organic, blueberries usually lasts around two to three days in our household. That’s less than $0.33 per serving.
- Cantaloupe: I’ve loved cantaloupe since I can remember! For me, it was a treat to have this fruit in our home and as an adult, I am baffled as to why! It’s so cheap and once you slice it up, you have so much to go around. This fruit is also linked to helping with memory, learning, hair, and skin. Rounding up, cantaloupe costs about $2.00 and could feed a family of four for an entire week. That’s $0.07 per serving!
- Mangoes: Peeled, sliced, and diced- mangoes are a true treat! They are so sweet and their texture is perfect! At about $0.75 per mango, you’re still coming out less than a dollar per serving!
- Bananas: This is a no brainer when it comes to a quick and easy snack! Not only are bananas packed with nutrients, they’re delightfully filling. With a super thick peel, they’ll last while traveling and running errands with your kids. Going for as low as $0.50 a pound, bananas are an insanely cheap alternative to packaged snacks! We can grab a good batch for less than three bucks and they last us about a week. That’s less than $0.10 per serving!
- Oranges: Packed with vitamin c and refreshing on a warm Spring afternoon or hot Summer day, oranges are the perfect go-to for a quick and inexpensive snack. At a little over a dollar per pound, it still outweighs it’s competitors and proves to be not only healthy, but cheap!
- Cucumbers: Really great for digestive issues and contains a great amount of Vitamin B, you’ll be surprised that this snack ranks in at less than $0.05 per serving. I like to serve them just as they are, or with a light vinaigrette.
- Roma Tomatoes: Organically, you can get a pound for about three bucks. I slice them in half for my kids and I eat them whole like grapes, myself. I love roma tomatoes for their sweet and juicy taste. You’d be surprised as to how many kids actually like them after trying them.
- Celery: Celery is less than a dollar and can easily be chopped and distributed into snack bags or lunch boxes!
- Carrots: Less than $0.65, it can also be easily chopped and distributed. I usually serve celery and carrots with a spinach and yogurt dip so that the kids can easily enjoy them.
Although this list may seem simple and basic, it wasn’t for me at the time! I was that mom who always scrolled pass the fresh fruit and veggie section unless it was for a side item. I would spend countless amount of money every trip to the store, thinking that I could only satisfy my kids with packaged foods from the snack isle.
You’d be surprised at what those foods actually contain! When I finally looked into my grocery budget, I realized that packaged and processed snacks was my BIGGEST spend. So not only did I decided to save money, I also wanted my toddlers to adapt to a healthy lifestyle. When I made the switch, I was teaching preschool and I noticed a big difference in my energy levels from making these lifestyle changes. I noticed more energy and more fulfillment. Sugary and fatty foods only trick your stomach into thinking it’s full and next thing you know, you’re not only hungry again, but also tired from the rush that particular food gave you.
I hope this helps someone!