Just a little warning- this post is kinda’ long.
The best way to stretch your budget during the summer months is to think creatively. Ask yourself what your children like to eat. Are they picky eaters or little eat-’em-ups? If they are like my children who eat anything, then stretching your budget should not be a problem. However, if you have picky eaters, it gets a little harder. It’s all about knowing your child and what they will or will not eat.
My teenage sons have very healthy appetites and they also love healthy foods. So, needless to say, they love to eat. Sometimes there is a gap between dinner and lunch. This is what I do, I make them a vegetable platter for only $4. At the .99¢ store you can buy cucumbers in packs of 3, a pack of carrots, a pack of cherry tomatoes & a pack of celery. This will make a vegetable platter for all four kids. Just put some ranch dressing on the side for dipping and you’ve bought yourself at least an hour.
Here’s a menu for a week for a family of six for less than $100.00. It may not be everything they want to eat, but you gotta’ do what you gotta’ do.
Breakfast- Oatmeal or some other hot cereal bought in bulk with fruit or raisins added if you like.
Lunch-Homemade spaghetti-o’s with + a sandwich
Dinner- Spaghetti w/corn bread & salad
Breakfast- cold cereal
Lunch-tomato soup + a grilled cheese sandwich (My children love it when I make this combination for them, especially in the winter.)
Dinner-Cornbread pie (leave a comment if you want the recipe) w/ salad. This has the meat and vegetables required for a good meal.
Breakfast-ready made waffles, eggs, sausage & juice
Lunch-Cup a’ noodle (Even though this isn’t the healthiest thing, it serves its purpose)
Dinner- Chicken (any way), red beans & rice & cornbread
Breakfast- Scrambled egg sandwich on toast w/juice
Lunch- A sandwich & cup of fruit with juice
Breakfast- Hot cereal
Lunch- Sandwich w/fruit or vegetables
Dinner- Meatloaf w/homemade mashed potatoes and mac n’cheese
Breakfast-cold cereal w/toast
Lunch- hot dogs n’ chips
Dinner-Eggplant sandwiches w/tortilla chips
Breakfast-cold cereal w/toast
Brunch- A big breakfast after coming home from church. This is a special treat. It consists of french toast, sausage and eggs.
Dinner- Fried chicken w/homemade mashed potatoes, mac n’cheese, w/cornbread
Of course kids want to snack during the day, so keep a big jar of applesauce (32 oz.), that can be purchased for less than $2. This along with four graham crackers will make a good snack for a regular sized child under 10.
All these recipes and snacks can be purchased for about $100 if you know how to shop.
The items are: 10lb. bag of potatoes, 2 gallons of milk, butter/margarine, chicken, eggplant, rolls for eggplant, small packs of pasta, tomato sauce, spaghetti, spaghetti sauce, bulk ground turkey, 2 cans of mixed vegetables, Quaker oatmeal bought in bulk from Costco, or Smart & Final if you don’t have a Costco card, raisins and/or fruit for the oatmeal, graham crackers bought in bulk from Costco (a small pack can be purchased @ the .99¢ store), french toast sticks bought in bulk @ Smart & Final or other local market, tomato soup, cheese, bread, sausage, eggs, hot dogs, hot dog buns, red beans & rice, Jiffy cornbread mix (one of the cheapest & the best), waffles, cup a’ noodles, extra wide egg noodles, cream of mushroom sauce, bag of carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers.
This could actually end up being much cheaper because you may already have some of these things in your refrigerator or cabinet.
If you are looking for more ways to stretch your summer food budget, email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org for more ideas.