Saturday, November 2, 2013

Budget: What my kids eat.

Having picky eaters can make grocery shopping tough and also add to the cost (cheese strings, granola bars, yogurt tubes, juice boxes, etc).

To clarify our slim grocery expenditures I thought I would share what my kids typically eat. We try to make healthy choices as much as possible but we also think there is a happy medium both in terms of health and cost. We've found it a bit more difficult since B has been in school and sees what other kids eat for lunch regularly to send ultra nutritious or uncommon food for lunches. But by not serving a lot of the typical sugar laden snacks or minimally nutritious "kid-friendly" foods we don't feel so bad about letting the boys eat hot dogs and macaroni and cheese sometimes for lunch.  I have one really good eater and one really picky eater. Most of the things on this list, my really picky eater will eat.


- Cereal with milk - usually Multigrain Cheerios (if on sale), otherwise other low sugar generic brand cereals. Sometimes I'll add fruit like banana or a bit of brown sugar to the top.
- Yogurt and a homemade muffin - I usually add frozen fruit to the french vanilla balkan style yogurt
- Pancakes (No Name old fashioned pancakes with PC table syrup with 15% real maple syrup - gotta make some compromises - especially with the amount of syrup DH goes through. Sometimes I'll add blueberries, chocolate chips, etc. to these to make them more exciting)
- French toast
- Freezer Waffles
- Peanut butter and toast
- Eggs
- Grilled cheese (surprised?)


*B has a thermos he takes to school but will eat some things cold like chicken nuggets and pizza

- Grilled cheese with avocado and pickles on the side
- Cold cuts with cheese, crackers,  and veggies
- Cheese and crackers and veggies or yogurt
- Beans and wieners (we try to go with the lowest sodium count for both)
- Hot dogs
- Frozen pizza or english muffin pizzas (Tip: when buying frozen pizzas always look for a sale - we don't buy them otherwise - but also look at the weight. Some pizzas are 1/2 the amount of grams for the same price as a different kind. Since all pizzas in a certain brand are usually priced the same ie. pepperoni, hawaiian, deluxe - we usually go with the one that weighs the most for the best deal - this is usually deluxe)
- Chicken nuggets or fish sticks with fries (McCain fries have no colouring in them so we opt for these over No Name. We also buy M&Ms nuggets because the ingredients are fewer and more recognizable)
- Spaghetti
- No name macaroni and cheese
- Perigees
- Peanut butter sandwich or jam sandwich for B since his school is peanut free
- Left overs


- What we eat. We don't make separate meals but we also understand that there are some things the kids (and us) REALLY don't like. Most of our meals have a few components (i.e. meat, starch, vegetables). If there is something they hate they don't have to eat it but they still have to eat the rest of the components of the meal.
- Sometimes a little ketchup will get N to eat something he is iffy about and to be fair, if there are things we know the kids don't particularly enjoy we'll only put a little bit of that on their plate.
- We have one rule at our house, if you don't eat your dinner, you don't get dessert.


* Not on this list - most convenience snacks

- Fruit - this is the most popular snack - usually fresh but if canned then in water or fruit juice rather than syrup
- Veggies - mini tomatoes are really popular with both boys
- Apple sauce (unsweetened from a jar)
- Bowl of yogurt with fruit or a yogurt tube if they are on sale
- Crackers and peanut butter
- Crackers and cheese
- Homemade muffins or cookies
- Cake (tip: often a box of cake is cheaper than a box of cookies and some you can get away with not putting icing on)
- Peanut butter sandwich on one piece of bread folded in half


* Nearly all juice we cut with water - even if only 1/4 water (for my picky little guy).

100% Apple Juice - N nearly always requests apple juice to drink.
Orange Juice - Calcium fortified to help with calcium requirements
Water - water is all I send to school with B (my non-picky eater) and he has never complained. N does not like water at all. I am trying to cut his juice with more water and offer him water when he isn't asking for a drink which I'm hoping will make him less thirsty.
Milk - on occasion we can get them to drink a small glass of milk

How do you cut back on the grocery bill while still choosing relatively nutritious foods your kids will eat? Do you opt for more or less convenience foods?


Mo said...

Great list! I always love seeing what other kids will eat compared to mine. I consider my 4yo to be picky, and he eats most of what you listed, which seems like pretty typical kids stuff. Our hardest battles is with meat, the 2yo loves it, and only wants to eat it, while the 4yo won't touch it unless its a burger or a hotdog.
I try to go for fresh and healthy over convenience, but the occasional granola bar (instead of a freshly baked muffin) or boxed KD (over home made mac n cheese) happens, and thats ok. My guys do love their fresh fruit and veggies though, so I count myself lucky in that part. Berries, cucumber, apples, bananas we always have on hand. And smoothies for afternoon snacks (using frozen fruit) are a great way in the winter to get all those fruits into them that are out of season.

Kristy said...

My 2yo is also a fan of meat! He will usually eat the meat and starch and leave the veggies. He now proclaims "its yucky" at nearly everything on his plate. Cucumber and mini tomatoes my guys will devour. Oldest will eat most all veggies steamed and will even eat salads. Mine have never been big on smoothies but maybe I'll try again or make them into popsicles!

I do think there is something to be said for the moderation approach. By allowing convenience foods on occasion they may not feel the need to splurge on junk later in life. It also makes meal prep much easier sometimes which is always a nice break for parents. My husband is much more willing to throw some chicken nuggets or strips in the oven or a frozen pizza than make an extravagant meal so that counts for something in my books!