My kids like to eat. There is no nice way to put that.
If they had their choice, they would eat all day, every day.
No joke, one day over the weekend about three weeks ago, they ate an entire box of cereal for breakfast (between two kids). They literally ate all morning long from the time they woke up until lunch time.
Then for lunch – that same day, they finished off an entire pack of hotdogs.
In one day they had devoured an entire box of cereal and a pack of hot dogs.
All I knew when school let out yesterday was that some sort of plan had to be put into place or I would be forking over far too much money to keep these kids feds over summer break.
I developed a quick thinking plan to save money on food over summer vacation…
I made the schedule pretty darn simple for them (and you can adjust it to what works best for your family).
Since my kids are “grazers” (they eat small things all day long) I figured this was the best way to keep them fuller longer and so far, it has worked fairly well.
7:00am to 9:00am is breakfast meaning they can have breakfast any time between those two hours (they usually don’t get up until 7am or later anyway). I did, however, have to limit their consumption and tell them they could only have 2 bowls of cereal, 4 waffles, etc. or they would continue to eat me out of house or home (and this may be reduced as the summer goes on depending on how well it works for them).
10:00am to 11:00am is snack time. They can have a fruit, vegetable, or cheese. They have a drawer in the fridge that has their specific items in it.
I let them pick the fruits and veggies so we currently have apples, oranges, grapes, celery, and carrots. We also have bananas on the counter for them.
12:00pm to 2:00pm is lunch time and again, portions had to be monitored with them. Today, Buddy ate a Lunchable and then turned around and wanted chicken patties. I did let him have one chicken patty, but not two, three, four like he would have preferred.
3:00am to 4:00pm is snack time again. We purchased crackers, granola bars, fruit snacks and pistachios for afternoon snack time.
5:00pm to 7:00pm is dinner time. We usually eat around 5:30pm, but I tried to keep meals and snack times within an couple hours apart so not as to have to hear the dreaded “I’m hungry” a million times in a day.
8:00pm to 9:00pm is their last snack time. I usually like a little sweet for my night time snack so we purchased pudding, jello, ice cream, and Otter pops.
These times, so far, work great for our family, but they can be adjusted too. I have always had lunch at noon and dinner around 5:30pm, so this schedule works. I may, however, have to change the lunch through night time snacks a bit for better bedtime control, but with summer just starting, we are seeing what works best.
Designated Snack Drawers
As you can see above, we designated a fridge drawer for their fruits, veggies, and cheese, but I didn’t want them going into the cupboards and pantry and raiding all the food so I created a snack drawer for the pantry too!
The “drawer” is actually a tub that goes to a toy shelf unit thing we got the kids that they don’t use properly so it’s not in our house. So we’re re-purposing it at the moment.
On the left hand side are their afternoon snacks – the crackers, granola bars, nuts, and fruit snacks (they have applesauce in the fridge too). The right hand side has their evening snacks – the jello and the pudding (because ice cream and Otter pops would melt in the pantry).
It is on a shelf that they can reach and decide what they want and when they want it.
I tried to keep the snacks to the healthier side, but I’m not mean either. They deserve a sugary snack every once in awhile so they do have those options too.
We personally do not have a wholesale club membership (ie: Sam’s Club, Costco, etc.) but if you have it, use it.
We are lucky enough to have a Winco which is similar to the wholesale clubs but without the membership fees. They have a great selection of bulk items so it saves me money to buy the snacks at that location.
Don’t be afraid to buy generic brand either.
Buggy’s peanuts were purchased in bulk. They were $1.58 per pound. (We didn’t buy a pound, but filled a bag to a decent amount and paid less than $1.58).
Fruit snacks are typically 10 for $10 at my local Fry’s grocery store. I was able to buy Winco brand for $0.88 each.
Store brand and bulk options are good ways to save money when needing to stock up for the summer months!
What tips do you have to save money on food over summer vacation?