Sunday, May 29, 2011

Frugal Case of the Munchies

One thing slightly harder in a frugal lifestyle is getting a case of the munchies. Usually, when you want to snack, you don't have the energy or inclination to start cooking up a bunch of food, and non frugal folk usually keep a bunch of ready made snacks around for that exact purpose. Frugal people, of course, could always snack on stockpiled ready made snacks bought for very little or no money via extreme couponing, but usually those ready made dirt cheap snacks are full of all sorts of artificial ingredients, making them the last choice of a snack for the health conscious frugalists.

So, what is a health minded frugal person supposed to do when they get the urge to snack?

Here's a few ideas:

  • Carrot or other veggie sticks made from in season veggies. Peeling and cutting up a bunch of carrot sticks takes 5 minutes or less, leaving you with a delicious, healthy munchable food. Carrots tend to be a frugal vegetable all year round, making them the most cost effective to serve in most cases. Because carrots don't tend to spoil quickly, they can be bought in advance and kept in stock for snacks in addition to their usual use. To make a quick dip to serve with them, consider throwing together some salad dressings like Russian dressing (mayo and ketchup), homemade French dressing, or homemade Italian dressing.
  • In season fruit. Whether apples, pears, peaches, melon, oranges, or whatever- stock up on a bunch and snack on these as an alternative to snack foods. Try to get the lowest priced fruit that you can, possibly from farmers markets or even picked and traded for from neighbors'/friends' trees.
  • Popcorn. This is my all time favorite and go to snack because of its ease, great price, tastiness, and the fact that it doesn't take up a lot of storage room. Of course I'm talking about home popped popcorn from kernels, not microwave bags, as the microwave bags are a complete rip off, not to mention much more unhealthy (usually)! If you want to bring it up a notch, consider making kettle corn instead.
  • Homemade crackers. These do take a bit more prep time than the previous suggestions, so they can't be eaten immediately, but fortunately they store well for a few days out of the fridge, so if you make up a batch one day, a few days later when you want to munch, you've got some waiting for you.
  • Homemade tortilla chips. These also take a bit more prep time, but if you make a bunch of homemade tortillas and freeze them (already cooked), you can defrost the tortillas, cut them into wedges, and bake them at 450 degrees for a few minutes until they're crispy. Eating these with some homemade canned salsa is a total treat!
  • Frozen home baked goods. Though its veering a little towards the more unhealthy side, if you make a bunch of cookies, muffins, and cakes and freeze them, you can take out some to eat whenever the urge hits you without needing to whip up a whole batch then and there.
Hope you liked these ideas of what to do when you get a case of the munchies and want a snack when you don't keep snack packs or traditional snack foods in stock. Then again, you can always eat some leftovers from previous meals if you're really hungry.

What do you do for snacks in your house? Do you pre-plan a snack every day so that you never are unprepared, or do you throw together something quickly when you want to snack, or are you a completely snack free house, eating only during meals? What foods would you add to my list?

I wanted to apologize for slacking in post frequency the past week. We've all been a bit under the weather, and taking care of my family came first. Don't worry- Penniless Parenting has no plans to bite the dust any time soon!

1 comment:

  1. I tried this tonight. Super easy recipe and great results!


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