7 tips to feed your kids healthily on a tight budget, with 4 yummy snack recipes
Rent, fuel, school fees and a never-ending list of bills can make quality nutrition easy to compromise, but an expert says you don’t have to.
Too often parents think that good snacks have to come in the form of already-portioned health foods, but that's simply not true. Check out these recipes. (iStock)
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Times are tough and if you’re part of the huge group of parents living on a shoe-string budget, then juggling the ever-rising cost of living, while still feeding your family healthy, nutritious food, may seem impossible to do. But some valuable advice from clinical dietitian Katherine Megaw, can help.

Katherine Megaw, founder of the Nutripaeds clinical dietetic practice, has over 18 years of specialist experience in Paediatric and Special Needs Dietetics and believes it is still possible to feed our families healthily, even on a tight budget. 

Megaw suggests that parents plan meals and use the following key principles when it comes to preparing affordable, healthy meals:

  • Use fresh ingredients and cook from scratch – healthy foods seldom come pre-packed.
  • Feed your family from all the food groups. 
  • Only use in-season fruits and vegetables.
  • Keep protein portions realistic – you can bulk meals up with vegetables to reduce protein portion.
  • Use leftovers to minimise waste – roast chicken dinner can easily become a lunchbox snack the following day or soup for supper.
  • Cook in bulk to minimise the chances of buying fast foods on days that you’re running late.
  • Avoid packaged snacks.

Also see: WATCH: Delicious & nutritious lunchboxes for the kids for every day of the week! 

And  WATCH: 3 easy muffin recipes even the kids can make


    Healthy snacks that are cheaper than store-bought snacks

    Too often parents think that good snacks have to come in the form of already-portioned health foods, which can be quite pricey. 

    Megaw suggests the following homemade snack options to tie your kids over between meals…

    • Sliced fresh seasonal fruit with peanut butter
    • Homemade banana cake (see recipe below)
    • Peanut butter and jam whole-wheat sandwich squares (one slice, cut into two squares)
    • Brown bread French toast cinnamon squares (sprinkle cinnamon over French toast and cut into eight squares)
    • Mini pancakes (see recipe below)
    • Ants on a log (cucumber, peanut butter and raisins)
    • Homemade sweet potato chips (see recipe below)
    • Homemade dried apple rings (see recipe below)
    • Frozen yogurt (mix plain yogurt with mashed fruit and freeze)
    • Homemade fruit sorbet (cook up a fruit of choice, mash it and freeze)
    • Stove-popped popcorn (use popcorn kernels) 

    Also read: Actress, parent, farmer: Jennifer Garner shows off what home-cooked means


      Recipes

      Homemade banana cake 

      Homemade Microwave Chocolate Mug Brownies with Pow

      Ingredients:

      • 1 mashed banana
      • 1 egg
      • 1 Tbsp cocoa 

      Method:

      • Beat ingredients until smooth.
      • Spray a big mug and pour the mixture into the mug.
      • Microwave for 2-3 minutes.

      Mini pancakes recipe

      Stack of small pancakes with berries on a plate

      Ingredients:

      • 1 egg
      • 100g stone ground flour
      • 300ml full cream milk

      Method:

      • Mix the egg, flour and milk into a batter and fry mini portions in a non-stick pan.

      Homemade sweet potato chips

      Hearty sweet potato crisps served in a bowl.

      Ingredients:

      • 1 large sweet potato
      • Canola oil
      • Salt to season

      Method:

      • Cut the sweet potato into thin rounds and brush with canola oil.
      • Sprinkle lightly with salt and place on lined baking tray.
      • Bake at 200 degrees Celsius for 15-20 minutes, turning repeatedly. 

      Homemade dried apple rings

      Apples chips on wooden background, top view

      Ingredients:

      • Large, cored green apple
      • Canola oil
      • Cinnamon

      Method:

      • Cut apple into thin rounds and brush with canola oil.
      • Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon and place on lined baking tray.
      • Bake at 200 degrees Celsius for 5-10 min, turning repeatedly.

      Chat back:

      Do you have any nutritional, budget-friendly recipes you make for the kids? Share them with us and we'll publish them for other parents to try. 

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