Three tips to save on after-school snacks |

Three tips to save on after-school snacks

Sheri Alzeerah
Special to the Sun MackenzieHomemade after-school snacks and reusable packaging get an A+ for good nutrition and cost savings.
Getty Images/iStockphoto | iStockphoto

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; Though their workday ends at 3 oand#8217;clock, kids have a lot to go through during their jam-packed weekdays. From playing at recess to digesting math, science, social studies and English to running, jumping, catching and bouncing at gym, itand#8217;s no wonder why kids need a snack to get refueled after school. And all of that comes before a hectic evening of homework and practice.

Your assignment

Instead of spending money five days a week on unhealthy, overpriced after-school munchies, keep your star studentsand#8217; health (and your budget) in line. Can you make the grade?

1. Do your homework.

From the simple to the decadent, thereand#8217;s a snack made from scratch for every cook. When it comes to tightening up the food budget, making snacks at home is more fun and interactive than clipping coupons. Get the kids in the kitchen for a batch of trail mix where everyone can throw in their favorite nuts, pretzels, candy, dried fruits or other bite-sized ingredients.

Go online, scope out your cookbooks or just experiment in the kitchen to find snack recipes your children will enjoy. A quick pantry inventory check can show you which snack runs out fastest. Chances are you can make that (or a fun alternative) at home. From granola bars to toaster pastries to cheddar crackers, thereand#8217;s almost (see #2) no snack out of DIY-range.-

2. Stock up.

But practically speaking, there are just some snacks that you canand#8217;t replicate at home. For these after-school favorites, buy in bulk. Whether crackers, chips or another boxed or bagged snack, these snacks are non-perishable, which means you wonand#8217;t have to worry about trashing expired, untouched food.

Buying in bulk is an easy way to cut back on expenses. Instead of instinctively dishing out quarters on vending machine treats, why not treat your pantry to a heap of snacks that are cheaper by the bag? Bonus points to parents who scout out discounts and in-store savings too.

3. Ditch the disposable.

If plastic baggies go out of the box just as fast as they go into the trash, it might be time to invest in some reusable snack bags. These up-and-coming earth- and budget-friendly alternatives to the zip-loc bag are making a name for themselves in the snack scene.

Theyand#8217;re easy to clean, safe for food and have much longer life spans than their throwaway counterpart. Online retailers are selling them in a rainbow of colors and patterns suited for girls and boys. Sealed with a zip, Velcro or drawstring, these bags are definitely not square when it comes to design. Most bags are in the $5-$7 range, which translates to big savings in the long run.

-Although you can strive to get an A on your own parenting report card this school year by snacking smarter, the real reward is much greater than a grade or a thousand gold stars: teaching your young ones how to be money- and health-savvy by setting an example.-

and#8212; Sheri Alzeerah is a journalist and freelance writer for meal planning service

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