Breakfast and Lunch – Made Better, For Less!

Amy Hannold
247Moms Frugal Living Editor
Cut “convenience” from your grocery bill. Individually-packed foods eat up your grocery budget and they rob you of the opportunity to discover a family-fun approach to daily nutrition.  When you assemble your own packaged lunch, you can choose the best nutritional ingredients. Experiment with healthier breads, crackers, and snack alternatives.
Homemade meals will be an ongoing success when you invest some planning, creativity and time – the payoff is healthier meals made more affordably.  To avoid boredom, discover new recipes, adding a variety of ingredients into your menu options.
Make it a family activity to find new recipes and include the kids so that they’re learning important home-economics skills.
Biscuit/pancake mixes are a great convenience, but if you learn to make the mixes yourself – you’ll experience better flavor and save money.
The following “five-star” recipe has inspired us to create better breakfast pancakes.  Reviews of the recipe rave of the fluffiness and give several ideas for modifying the pancakes with whole wheat flour, etc:
Tip: Follow Pete’s directions to the “T” (mixing slowly and being patient enough to let the mix alone for 10 minutes) – it’s a recipe for a perfect weekend meal.  Be sure to double the recipe, making extra pancakes.  Stack pancakes between parchment paper and freeze for weekday-quick breakfasts. 
Weekday Breakfasts:  Thaw frozen pancakes and serve with fruit.  Add peanut butter or other spread for taste and protein. 
Cheese: While “string” cheese is a favorite, cheese “sticks” are cheaper.  Buy cheese in 2-lb blocks and slice the cheese into sticks.  Seal in reusable boxes, with crackers, making enough portions for the week. You’ve saved yourself some time as well!
Fruits/Veggies:  Compare the price of bagged fruit to fruit bought by the pound.  Weigh the bagged produce to be sure you’re getting your 5-pounds – or more.  Prepare fruit/vegetables in bulk, dividing into separate packages – including for yourself as you’re on the go too!  Carrots, celery and zucchini, and other vegetables can be fun to eat when dipped into a healthy dip. 
Salad:  When making a salad for dinner, package an extra salad or two for upcoming lunches.  Be creative with ingredients, trying a new topping or vegetable.  Add nuts and/or canned tuna, beans, salmon or chicken for healthy protein. 
Beverages:  Choose a reusable juice box or water bottle.  Buy frozen concentrate, increasing the amount of water to the juice you serve. 
Dessert:  Bake several dozen cookies/brownies and freeze them individually.  Stack the dessert squares in a large freezer box, in an undisclosed location. 
Breakfast and Lunch are made!  Share your ideas for homemade breakfasts and box lunches!

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