By Veronica De Lira, Arizona State University Nutrition Student
Going back to school can be pricey, with the costs of supplies and back-to-school clothes constantly rising, your expenses can add up quickly. Which of course is just the beginning because, don’t forget, you still have to feed your little ones. Once you factor in snacks to get them through the school day and for those afterschool cravings, you can burn through your budget in no time. So in an attempt to help your money stretch a little further, I’ve compiled a list of healthy snacks that are both budget and calorie friendly.
These items were found at Fry’s Food and Drug and Albertsons. The good thing is that all items were around the same price in different locations. I noticed Target also has good prices for these food items. You may note that I highlight more fresh fruit and vegetables than other traditional snacks, though there are a few that satisfy our cravings for crunch and carbohydrates.
- Carrots: Regular carrots are $0.99 for a two pound bag they can go a long way by cutting them up into little slices. They make the perfect snack paired with a dipping sauce or solo. You can also buy baby carrots but for the price and quantity the only real advantage is convenience.
- Celery: At $1.19 for 30 stalks you can cut them into strips or pieces, which last longer. Pair them with peanut butter and your kids have a healthy low cost snack. Like baby carrots, celery is not ideal based on price, but again does provide a certain amount of convenience.
- Grapes: At $2.88 a bag, mine was 2.23 pounds it may seem expensive but these sweet treats beat snacking on junk food and offer a variety of health benefits. As an added bonus it helps your children meet some of their daily fruit requirements. Another bonus is unlike other fruits, grapes hold up well throughout the day.
- Popped Rice Crisps in Chocolate and Apple Cinnamon: They are $2.39 a box but they are low in calories and are a great substitute for chips. Plus, since they come in a variety of flavors, there’s something for any taste your children might have.
- Raisins: Raisins are 6 boxes for $2.50. These little boxes contain plenty of antioxidants that benefit your health and are tasty treats for kids.
- Apple Sauce: 6 for $1.99 and at 90 calories per cup, they are full of flavor and offer plenty of Vitamin C. Perfect for children and adults!
- Teddy Grahams Cinnamon: At $2.99 a box, these cookies serve as a perfect snack, as they will satisfy your cravings and come in a variety of flavors. This is a true volume win, whether it’s by the handful or in a lunch box there’s a lot of these little guys per serving. The best part is they are only 130 calories per said serving.
- Popcorn: $2.00 for a pack of 8 light butter flavored popcorn bags. Popcorn serves as a great snack that helps to keep your kids daily calorie count in check at roughly 120 calories per bag. This is a great selection because of both the low calorie count and again pure volume. Remember we’re trying to get you more for your money while not sacrificing fun and flavor.
- Goldfish Crackers: At $1.50, made with whole grains, Goldfish are a healthier choice and low in calories. Plus, as an added bonus younger kids always enjoy the little goldfish shapes.
A Few Tips for Your Next Visit to the Grocery Store:
- Keep an eye on nutrition labels to make sure they are healthy snacks that are low in sugar. Checking calorie counts and serving sizes helps to make everyone a little healthier in the long run.
- Depending on the season, you can find great prices on fruits and vegetables, which are a quick, easy, and most importantly all natural way to satisfy your family’s cravings.
- Most of these items go on sale, so keep an eye out for special prices by checking the weekly circular that comes regularly to your mailbox. Don’t be afraid to look online for manufacturers’ coupons as that can help to cut your costs even further.
- Finally, check out Fill Your Plate’s 18 tips for stretching your food dollar. These are tips anyone can apply!
Editor’s Note: Veronica De Lira is currently a student at Arizona State University and is majoring in Nutrition Communication. She enjoys cooking and trying out recipe modifications, as she is an enthusiastic foodie. When not in the kitchen you an find her cheering on her favorite sports teams, going for walks, or catching up on her favorite shows.