Something that we have quickly discovered is that our children eat more in between meals than they do at actual meal times! In an effort to control the expense of this, we have put together a meal plan, and snacks for the week are:
- sticks of celery, cucumber, capsicum and carrots
- rice crackers
We found rice crackers for $1 per packet (without the MSG or palm oil) though they are usually $2.50 per packet, so we bought up big, and plan to stock the cupboard whenever we find them for $1! Pre-cutting the vegetables and putting them in to bags went some way towards portion control (or rather, prevents certain teens grabbing whole packets of carrots to eat them - did I mention that teen boys could be mistaken for locusts?). And rather than buying hummus, we can make a full container that will last 3 days, with 2 x $1 cans of chickpeas.
Buying in-season is also something that we have just started thinking about, as 4 children eat at least 8 pieces of fruit a day (or 56 pieces a week!). If we buy out-of-season fruit then this is equal to $56 per week just on fruit for the kids! That is definitely not economical or practical (especially since DS14 has not received the memo that 2 pieces of fruit is the recommended intake for the purposes of this challenge!). Watermelon and banana's can be bought at a great price at the moment, of $1 per kilo, and frozen raspberries are pretty inexpensive too, at $4 per 500g.
Including banana's and watermelon, cut up vegetables, home-made hummus (4 cans of chickpeas per week = $4) and rice crackers, we were able to cost it out at $25 per week for snacks for the 6 of us for 7 days. Still not close to the $25 for the total food budget (I am not sure who these people are that are able to budget $25 for a whole week - maybe they don't have children?). This week we already had a good supply of dried fruit and dehydrated organic coconut in the cupboard so we included this in our snacks as well.
Total success of our challenge so far: 6/10 - extra points for cutting and storing vegetables in advance, right?