Monday, March 08, 2010

Snacking on a Budget

I am not a snack person.  I prefer meals over snacks.  It was the way I was raised.  However, these kids like both meals and snacks!  (The above picture was taken several summers ago when we had out of town friends staying with us.  The kids were having more fun than the picture conveys)!  When money is available for a larger grocery budget, I have many handy things stashed in the pantry to satisfy all snacking desires.  First, I kept a well stocked pantry of different types of nuts.  My kids love cashews, peanuts, and mixed nuts.  They also enjoy the trailmix from Walmart that is made up of mostly nuts.  I also keep yogurt in the refrigerator along with various choices of fresh fruit depending on the season.  I also almost always have a fresh salad waiting for a child in a large bowl.  (I will be able to do that again soon when our garden lettuce is once again in abundance)!  I also keep different kinds of cheeses and deli meat for the little people to enjoy.  A healthy box of cereal could almost always be found for a quick snack fix as well.

Now what do we snack on since the grocery budget has been slashed?  Again, this one takes time on my part to make it happen.  If you come into our home, you will almost always find a loaf of homemade bread waiting on the cutting board.  I leave my bread knife beside it to encourage kids to slice their own.  Jacob will come in after school and down half a loaf of whole wheat bread along with peanut butter.  Speaking of peanut butter, this is a staple at our home.  (Remember I am feeding 3 teenage boys who are all power lifting at the moment.  They want protein and more protein)!  We go through 1 large jar of peanut butter every week.  It is almost as important as milk in our house!  My daughter who isn't such a protein-aholic doesn't care for bread or peanut butter.  She much prefers to make popcorn for herself.  Sometimes she makes kettle corn, but her favorite is just plain.  You can usually also find a homemade goody in the cookie jar or in a 9x13 pan.  Yesterday, I made homemade Lemon Bars.  There are plenty left to snack on for the next few days.  Speaking of leftovers, this is were the bulk of snacking takes place for our kids.  They will rummage through the refrigerator and try to find something yummy from the leftovers.  Hope is much better about this than any of my other children.  She has learned the value of good leftovers!  Tonight I am making homemade pizza.  I could make 3 pizzas and have enough to feed everybody this evening.  Instead I chose to make 4 pizzas.  There will be plenty left for tomorrow's lunch and snacks for the kids after school.  I do that often, and it usually works out just fine.  Last night was a different story.  I grilled an extra pack of chicken so the kids could snack on it for the next few days.  My husband was the one actually grilling and he put all the meat on the platter and placed it in the middle of the dinner table.  We devoured it all at dinner, and I was left without any extras. 

We also eat breakfast leftovers for snacks.  One of the favorite leftover treasures for my kids is to find the extra pancakes!  I also like to keep corn chips and salsa as well as some cut up veggies and ranch dressing.  You can almost always find something to snack on in our house if you look hard enough.  I have to be honest, the kids prefer to open the pantry doors and have snacks falling out at them.  However when push comes to shove, they will always find something they like to eat!

grace and peace,


Aimee said...

good ideas. inexpensive snacks are a challenge here as well. I try to keep fresh fruit in the house - apples and bananas are about the cheapest - and I also make plenty of homemade bread. Cornbread too. Cheese is cheap enough if you buy in bulk (which I do). Tortillas are a great cheap snack food - heat on the burner and wrap around cheese. Also it's easy to cut them into wedges and fry.

Anonymous said...

Your 'extra pizza' idea is a fine encouragement. I too make an extra one, just for school lunches for the kids. The oven is on anyway, and it takes very very little extra time.

TnFullQuiver said...

Thanks for the comment!! We love tortillas filled with cheese and salsa. We also like them fried and then sprinkled with cinnamon sugar for a quick dessert or snack. We call them elephant ears at our house!

You make a very good point about the oven already being heated and ready to go. It does take very little extra time, and the rewards are worth the extra time spent come the next day!

grace and peace,