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Feeding Teenagers on a Budget
Groceries are a big part of everyone’s budget, especially with kids. Families with teenagers, however, face a large monetary increase. Parents often have to reconsider other financial obligations when their kids reach their teens, simply because of food. Parents want to keep their kids healthy and nourished. It is important to consider the quality of the food purchased and dietary needs. Reconsideration of the menu can save the day.
Food Value – It’s easy to give in to junk food when your kids snack constantly. Chips and sodas have no value to the body and will not keep your teens full, however. While you shop, think about how items contribute to what the body needs. It may take some time to convince your teen to pick up an apple instead of chips. Ensure that your hard earned money is going towards actual food and not fillers. Apples, carrots, and bananas are all low priced items that can fill the void. This first step will help you fill the pantry without wasting money.
Protein is Key – Growing bodies need protein. Meat can be the most expensive part of the grocery bill. Two things you should keep on hand at all times are beans and eggs. Chili can be made with half beans and half meat to save money. Add beans to tacos and nachos for added protein and flavor. Beans can be cooked alone as a soup, as well. Leftovers can easily be warmed up the next day. Boiled eggs can be added to salads and pasta for lunches. Pay attention to leftover meat. Many kids can be picky about white meat chicken, but will eat chicken noodle soup made with the dark meat. Consider making casseroles that also include veggies for a filling meal. Sneak protein into every meal by seeking out sources other than beef, pork, and chicken.
Breakfast – A lot of money often goes towards breakfast items such as cereal, waffles, and pancakes. These items offer little more than sugar and starch. Oatmeal, yogurt, and fresh fruits are much better options. A container of plain oats is the best for nutrition and price. If you want waffles or pancakes, make them from scratch, avoid processed mixes. This will save money and be more health conscious. Sneak some protein and dairy in with breakfast smoothies, teenagers on the go will benefit from this option. Eggs can also be put into breakfast sandwiches, tacos, and boiled.
Help Out – Many teenagers eat poorly because they do not take the time to prepare. They would rather grab a bag of chips and run out the door. Saving money means preparing snacks at home. It also takes some effort. Cut up celery, cucumbers, and strawberries for your teens. Place into portion size bags or containers for convenience. Your grocery bill will benefit and so will your child’s health. Keep a bowl of seasonal fruit out on the table. Apples and oranges are easy to snag when hunger strikes.
Get Organized – Most people run to the store on the way home from work and are in a hurry. This leaves little time for checking sales and prices. Try to plan your grocery trip when you have sufficient time to do it right, a proper list will help to keep you on track. Be flexible about your meal plans so you can make use of sale items. Sales can be checked online so you don’t waste time at the store. When your favorite meat goes on sale, buy extra and freeze for later. Stick to some fruit and vegetable staples, adding some sale items. Detailed meal plans will help to minimize the extra items that often end up in the basket. Leave your kids at home as they tend to pick up extra snacks and unnecessary products. Get some input, however, on their favorite meals before you go. Preparations limits hasty and expensive decisions.
It will seem like your teenagers eat non-stop for a few years. It can take a complete menu overhaul to start saving money, in some cases. Start by cutting out food with no nutritional value. Replace meat with other protein options and add protein to breakfast. Help the kids out by preparing appropriate snacks and making them more available. Finally, get organized with detailed meal plans. Your entire family will eat better and you won’t break the budget.