I have 5 kids 8,10, 2x11 and a 12 yr. old who eat me out of house and home!!

Brandy - posted on 10/24/2011 ( 32 moms have responded )

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I need suggestions for school snacks because i can not afford to but them all the time. I am spending around $100 a week on snacks and drinks and can not possibly keep it up!! HELP!

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LEAH - posted on 10/24/2011

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I definitely understand how you feel. I too have five children (15,6,4 and 2x1 year olds) I was definitely unprepared for the amount of food I would have to buy. I find that shopping in bulk is my best bet. I also buy things like popcorn (the kernels not microwaveable) It is also cheaper for me to make pudding from the box than to buy the little cups. I also make a lot of homemade soups (vegetable, cabbage, meatball etc) and they love to eat that as a snack after school.

Sal - posted on 11/06/2011

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sorry i have reread the op and saw it was school snacks but i thought that my suggestions might help out in general too, what are you giving them at the moment?? for 5 kids $100 a week isn;t too bad that is only $4 per day each, i think you are doing well to keep it undercontrol anyway, like most people have said home made is nearly always better and cheaper, we have frozen sandwiches, my teen son and hubby gab one, in the microwave for 30 seconds then in the sandwich press.....too easy, and it seems odd but true if you make all your sandiches at once the cold meat and cheese (or what ever) seems to stretch further, it might take half an hour or so once a week or so, i make a couple of loaves of bread up and pack in little sandwich bags, but it is so helpful the rest of the time, (there is no kitchen mess either) another important thing to remember is that kids don;t need to snack all the time, with a good breakfast, lunch and dinner that keep them satisfied a small morning and afternoon tea is all that they should need, make every meal have some extra protien in it i found helps, an egg with breakfast, some cheese with lunch or a tin of lentils in the nights spag bol makes for easy ways to get extra protien, and liike the other ladies have said, make it yourself, find a couple of recipies that you can master and stock up once a week, i have a great cookie recipe that i can freeze the raw dough, i make loads and just bake a few at a time, if i cooked the whole lot the whole lot would get eaten by doing a few at a time the same amount lasts twice as long, i also make the fruit juice concerntrate up and again to limit what they use i freeze the cartons and because they have to wait for them to defrost they just have water....
ohhh and make them drink water, i bearly know a child who takes anything but water to school....
also i hide them at home, then they are only used when i say

Katrina - posted on 11/06/2011

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Refillable water bottles for drinks. Carrots, celery, apples, with peanut butter; peanut butter crackers; banana; make tour own trail mix an put into the snack size baggies. I also have 5 kiddos! I understand!

Michelle - posted on 11/06/2011

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And don't forget, the kids can help! Have the older kids make some of the simpler foods and freeze everything you can. That way it's already done and you can grab and go!

Michelle - posted on 11/04/2011

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I have four boys ( 8, 8, 6, 3 1/2 yrs old). They sure can eat. As others have suggested make your own if you have time. Winco or those bulk grocery stores. Bread outlet stores like Franz or Orweat. Coupon. There is nothing wrong with bread, butter, honey, or whatever for a after school snack. Lots of veggies and fruit. Canning.

About once a month I'll buy fruit snacks and granola bars with couponing, but it lasts about a week maybe two if they are lucky. Once the treats are gone they are gone. I normally tell my kids they can get two fruit snacks/granola bars a day (lunch and after school), but once it's gone it's gone for the month.

I make granola, granola bars, yogurt, flavored pumpkin seeds, dried fruit, homemade fruit leather, jam, applesauce, flavored nuts, air popcorn (sometimes with flavor), etc.

We are buying our first quarter cow and I hope to make beef jerky and sausage with some of it.

It takes a lot of work feeding kids. It's exhausting actually.

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User - posted on 12/15/2011

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I join this bussiness called Wildtree they are an all natural food no dyes no msg and no presevitives and they have tons of thing that you can make your self with just adding a few ingrediants like cheese cake dips and lots of other dips and breads I joined so I could get the 20% off because my kids love it so it's a better snack and that makes me feel better when I do feed them snacks like one of my favoritts is all the different cheesecake blends you can make cheesecake or a dip I buy the animal crackers for them to dip with and they are only like a dollar for a big bag but I guess that you could do that with regular cheesecake mix as well but we do a lot of apples in our house as well and it's cheap

Samantha - posted on 11/21/2011

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making homemade chex mix, and putting them in little baggies goes a long way, or just making a poundcake with glaze costs only about $3 a cake and also goes a good ways- plus you can freeze the cakes slice and send in lunch boxes to go:)

Amber - posted on 11/20/2011

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I read somewhere that this one lady used to keep a crockpot of beans or chili on the counter all the time and if they were hungry or wanted a snack they could get a bowl. Its cheap and is healthy and it will keep them full. It will atleast work for the snacking at home.
as far as for school I have to agree with making it homemade. I make applesauce in the crockpot, you can get a huge can of fruit cocktail and divide it into small bowls and put that in the fridge.. then u have a cheaper version of the fruit cups. hope that helps atleast some. :)

Jocelyn - posted on 11/14/2011

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I have 5 too, I have the same thing! We have a budget as well! One thing I have learned is it depends on what you give them to make sure that they stay fuller longer! One thing I did was sign up for free lunches (we qualified!), which helped cut some of the food used during the day!



I coupon clip (you can use couponmom.com or krazycouponlady.com and watch for sales and think about snacks when purchasing. I get to shop each week so it helps to split it up and not have to think more than a week at a time.



Totino's pizza usually has some great coupons...$1 off when you buys 3, usually turns out to be $1 each. Mine are younger so they split one...Vanilla yogurt with fruit and granola, even whip if you want. Fruit, applesauce with crackers. Sometimes I put grapes on the counter and they can snack when they want and it's healthy. Top Romain soup, crockpot snack recipes...I knew someone who bought their kids a bag of chips each (could do this with any thing..depends on age/trust), they then had to ration their own bag for the week. If they ran out then they had to wait til the next shopping day.



Another thing I tell my kids is it's a snack, not a meal. I try to get them to have a snack before they ask, eating every 2 1/2, 3 hours helps cut down on their hunger. When you wait for them to say they are hungry they want to fill their bellies more.



Maybe there is something in here that you might be able to use...sorry for my long post...

LEAH - posted on 11/14/2011

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I forgot to add about the farmers markets! There is also a farm about 30 minutes from my house so I go there to buy fresh fruit and veges sometimes. When the season first starts I also take the kids up to pick strawberries, or whatever else is in season. They usually let us get that stuff in bulk for a good price. I made homemade applesauce in the crockpot and it is so easy and good!

I'm also a planner because raising five kids by myself can be absolutely exhausting. On Sunday I cut up fruit and some veges. This week I did strawberries and grapes. I put them in little containers/baggies so the kids can just reach and grab them. I also made 20 sandwiches and put them in baggies in the fridge. This will help when it comes time to pack lunches in the morning and also I don't have to fix them one for a snack when they come home. I made up a container of peanut butter crackers and sealed them, I made rice crispy treats (with the generic puffed rice because it works just as well) And I cut up cucumbers, carrots, celery and fresh broccoli. I put the veges in baggies as well. This is all stuff that they can grab on their own. I've even had them help me out a few times as well.

Also if you have babies or little, little ones I found a great recipe for homemade teething biscuits which end up being a great treat for little ones. All it consists of is wheat breat and applesauce rolled, microwaved and then cooled off. Babies and toddlers seem to love it!

[deleted account]

Here's one I've been doing for a few weeks now...cereal bars. You might want to double this..mine makes enough to keep a toddler and two grown men happy for about a week. You may need more.



1/2 c peanut butter

1/2 c sugar

1/2 c honey

maybe four or five cups of cheap cereal



melt the sugar peanut butter and honey on the stove..VERY low heat. ( Don't walk away..Don't answer the phone. It WILL burn the second you open the dishwasher.) When they are combined and smooth, pour it over the cereal and toss it until everything is coated. Mush it in a casserole dish. I like to put a piece of wax paper in the bottom, so the loaf lets go easily. Cut it into bars and wrap in saran wrap. I let mine cool COMPLETELY before cutting it with a bread knife. Some websites said to cut it when it was still warm, I didn't like that..it seemed crumby and soft. Once it has cooled completely...I can cut them cleanly.



It's cheap...I can get away with the generic cereal and sometimes I even manage to slip something healthy in on 'em.

There are tons of brainstorms..ways to make this different. Cornflakes, cheerios, raisin bran, mixing in trail mix, choc chips, make it with Nutella instead and a dark chocolate bar shattered and mixed in...

They are turning out to be MUCH cheaper than buying the boxed ones in the stores.

Nicholette - posted on 11/09/2011

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if baking aint your forte or it concerns u - well i started learning to bake when i was 8yrs old my mother aint no baker at all. i started with packet mixes b4 moving onto recipes though u can still use packet mixes and tweek the flavouring add coffee to choc cake it bcomes a mocha cake or add berries and dark melted choc u have black forest. u r only limited by imagination. or maybe one of ur kids will find their feet in the kitchen by baking or the whole 5 of them. happy baking. there are even no bake recipes 4 cheesecakes seek n ye shall find just assemble place in fridge set n forget till few hrs later or nxt day.

Nicholette - posted on 11/09/2011

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if u have individual containers u could make own jelly with fruit inside regardless if u make it from scratch or packet jelly and tin fruit.

Nicholette - posted on 11/09/2011

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what pantry staples are in your larder? if u have flour, eggs, butter. u have basis to make either a sweet or savoury treat depending on ratio, what u add to it. i.e. brownies with marshmallows could be made one wk another wk u could have nuts or choc bits thru brownie mix but add more liquid to the mix u could make a cake or cupcakes. if u have cheese u need to use up, leftover bacon, sundried tomatoes to basic muffin/scone mix u have a savoury treat.

Mabel - posted on 11/07/2011

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Shop at krogers. They have the great 10 for $10 sale on all kinds of snacks.Even if you don't buy the whole 10 it is still only $1 per snack and you can mix and match.I buy snacks and drinks for my sons pre k and I would be spendind around $70-$80 but with the 10/10 I spend maybe $20.

Chantelle - posted on 11/07/2011

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try making cake it only about 5 pounds to
get all the bits u need ad all kids like cake
but u can also try dipping the fuit they like
in chocolate apples ad bennannas teast great
in the chocolate

Danielle - posted on 11/06/2011

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I try to avoid all the small prepacked snacks like, individual yogurt, applesauce and pudding cups. Buy big containers and use containers for lunch. I buy plain vanilla yogurt and buy different kinds of frozen fruit to flavor it with so they get variety. The only regular prepacked snack I buy is granola bars. Cheese sticks are expensive buy a big block and slice. Fruit snacks are pure sugar anyway. I just avoid those all together. I also do popcorn. Buy kernels not the microwave stuff. Two tablespoons of oil and a quarter cup of kernels in a medium sauce pan (with the lid on!!) will make a pretty large bowl of popcorn, just toss with a bit of salt or powdered parmesan cheese. Buy boxed mixes for baking if you want to make that easier :). It is all more time consuming, and makes more dishes to wash, LOL but you will save $$$.

Brandy - posted on 11/06/2011

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Ok Ladies, I have been taking ALL of your advice!! I must say, I am EXHAUSTED!!! :) Oh yes, and i stink at baking! Thank god for the crock pot!

Tiffany - posted on 11/01/2011

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I go to Sams club once a month. I feed 11 kids 5 days a week and does get extremely expensive. I also run a home business that helps give me that second income So I can afford more. Email me if you wanna chat :)

Sherry - posted on 11/01/2011

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1st find your local farmers market get fresh produce for 2 weeks this will save you 2/3 off your food bill each month at a time then go to the dollar store befor your walmart target Ect try and stay out of the center of the store .

Karen - posted on 10/31/2011

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I have 8 kids the oldest being 11yrs old. I am not looking forward to them being older and eating me out of house and home. During summer, my grocery bills are a lot cheaper because I don't have to buy school snacks. The school they go to now decided that they kids do better when they are given 2 'nutritional breaks' so now I have to pack more in their lunches. uuuuggg. I try and always have baking in the house (muffins are a good one). I pack in their lunch - one fruit, a baked goodie (usually a muffin, or two homemade cookies), and a 'treat' (a granola bar, or fruit snack), yogurt (when on sale) and of course a sandwich, but the kids are now asking for instant oatmeal, or instant noodles instead. We have to provide a water bottle at school to put on the kids desks so I don't worry about buying juice boxes.

Lisa - posted on 10/25/2011

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I agree with the suggestions to make your own. My kids are still young (4, 2, 9 MO). I make my own pudding and jello cups, granola, buy the big containers of yogurt or make my own (sweeten with honey and frozen berries). Pick up the artisan bread in a 5 minutes a day book for breads that are quick and easy to make. I buy turkey hotdogs because they go on sale for $1 a pack. I keep pita shells, pizza sauce (I freeze into ice cube size portions), pepperronis in the freezer for quick lunches (for older kids a quick afternoon snack). Watch for cereal on sale and stock up.

Brandy - posted on 10/25/2011

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What a great idea with the bread machine!! i can make so many different thing with it! Thank you ladies! Keep the ideas coming!

Anne - posted on 10/25/2011

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Hi Brandy. I hear ya'. I have 6 kids (12, 13, 13, 14, 16, 16) and they can EAT! My best advice is to avoid pre-packaged stuff and to watch the sales. You can often find cake mixes for $1 a box, and from them you can make cake, cupcakes, "dump cakes", cobblers, etc. Also try homemade granola, pudding-type snacks like banana pudding pie and other parfaits. Do you have a bread machine? If so, throwing the ingredients in to make a loaf of bread is cheap and easy, and how awesome is it to walk in the door after school to the smell of fresh bread? Good luck!

Brandy - posted on 10/25/2011

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thanks Leah, I definitely need to start making more at home to send with them to school.

Brandy - posted on 10/24/2011

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Great idea Bonnie. I tend to buy at the Warehouse store but it's hard to get there once a month .

Bonnie - posted on 10/24/2011

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I buy a lot of the stuff that you buy Brandy. Okay I don't have 5 kids, but what I try my best to do is when an idea I buy for the kids regularly is on sale, I buy a fair bit of it so that way we have enough to last awhile.

[deleted account]

Yes it does! :(

I don't have any advice, but to buy in bulk, use coupons, and make your own snacks...

Brandy - posted on 10/24/2011

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I buy fruit, granola bars, cheese sticks, pudding,cereal bars etc.. It adds up quick!

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