Planning a full day or evening chasing kids for games or events? Whether your game is in town or across the state, here are a few ideas of how to save money on food. The post goes through drink ideas, snack ideas, and meal ideas….
- Water bottles– save and reuse. Fill the bottle half full of water and freeze it. Then fill it the rest of the way up with water right before you leave. (My money saving advice would be to stay away from pouch drinks and sodas. You are just spending money, when water would serve the purpose just fine. Occasionally, I will mix up a pitcher of punch and pour it into used bottles. )
- Slush – Mix up a container of punch, juice, or sports drink and then freeze it in individual little containers with lids (I prefer orange juice). You can put the containers and spoons in the cooler and get them out around lunchtime when it is hot. They will have thawed just enough to for the kids to enjoy a slush…and then the concession stand doesn’t get your money.
- Block of Ice– For the “ice” in your cooler use a plastic juice bottle filled with water and frozen. By the end of the day, when you need to refill water bottles you can use the partially thawed jug of water.
- Hot Chocolate– For chilly days, it is fun to get out the thermos and make hot chocolate to take with you.
- Baby Carrots– a pound bag of baby carrots is an easy thing to buy and grab out of your fridge to take with you. (It is amazing what kids will eat when they think they are hungry.)
- Sliced Apples– these may get slightly browned, but not enough to go to the effort of dipping them in lemon juice.
- Rice Crispy Treats– Make them in a 9X13 container with a lid. We just drop a knife inside and snap the lid shut.
- Pieces of Candy– I buy a bag of candy and disperse it into smaller sandwich bags with one or two pieces per child. I put the little bags in a special place so I can just grab one each time there is a game.
- Cookies– Save some cookies from your next batch. Put them on a paper plate and put the plate in a plastic bag. Then freeze the plate of cookies. When there is a game, get it out and take it with you.
- Pretzels– dollar stores sell a bag of pretzels for a dollar, obviously :). I like to keep some on hand for a quick addition to the game snacks.
- Looped Cereal Necklaces– for little ones, it is fun to get everything ready to make looped cereal necklaces on the go. You need a piece of yarn with tape on one end and a looped cereal piece tied on the other (to stop the loops from siding off). Place the yarn in a bag of looped cereal. Let your kids make their own necklace. It serves as breakfast or a snack throughout the day.
- Tortilla Chips and Salsa– a neighbor of mine had a great idea, she puts about a ¼ cup of salsa into a snack bag and seals it. Then she puts tortilla chips and the snack bag of salsa into a sandwich bag. It makes a great individual serving!
- Homemade Muffins fit nicely into a 9×13 pan with a lid. They help kids keep something in their belly and push off needing a real meal until you get back home.
- Bananas– these are the perfect snack for in between games for the child that is the athlete…it is hard to keep them from getting bruised, but they are a natural energy source that isn’t too heavy.
Meals—(The busier life gets the more we want to turn to fast food restaurants and concession stands, resist that urge with a little preparation.)
- Chicken Patty Sandwiches– Heat the pre-cooked chicken patties in your oven and right before you leave take them out and put them all together in a piece of tin foil. To keep them warm you can use a heated rice bag and put them in a little cooler. You can take a package of hamburger buns and ketchup or mustard squeezed into a plastic bag. You just cut the corner of the bag and squeeze it on. This keeps you from having to keep the ketchup and mustard bottles cold all day/evening. We have used the heating pads for keeping the patties warm for up to 1 ½ hours. Be wise; you will know how long is too long before you get them eaten….it really depends on the weather.
- Hot Dogs– boil the hotdogs and keep them warm until you are ready to go. Then put them in tin foil. Place them in a little cooler with a heated rice bag. Pack the buns and the condiments.(Putting the condiments in a snack bag and then cutting the corner works great.)
- Quesadillas– make quesadillas and pack them with a heated rice pad to keep them warm.
- Lunch meat sandwiches—to switch it up, we sometimes buy hamburger buns instead of a loaf of bread. Once again the condiments in a snack bag makes it easy…you just use them and then throw away the bag.
- PB and J sandwiches – so…these may not be your favorite, but it is quite wise to put a loaf of bread, peanut butter, a snack bag of jelly, little scissors, and a knife in a plastic container (the container keeps the bread from getting squished). It saves a lot of money…maybe you could have a PB and J sandwich and then get an ice cream cone on the way home. 🙂
- Sauce for pasta– a lot of times when games are in town, I take snacks for the kids and then plan a quick dinner for when we get home. I like to pre-make a sauce like spaghetti sauce or chicken cacciatore. Then when we get home we just have to cook the pasta and warm up the sauce. Quick and filling.
There are many other possibilities! Here is a link to a recipe for Mini Corn Dog Cups. I will soon post recipes for Homemade Pita Pockets, and Thin Wheat Crackers.
A little preparation saves a lot of money. Good luck on your adventures!
Great tips! It always cost my family a small fortune during softball season. I will have to start using some of your great ideas… 🙂
I love your rice bag idea! Thank you! 🙂