Specially-packaged kid snacks are outrageously expensive, so I wanted to share my favorite cheap kid snack ideas! My sons don’t know what they’re missing, and I save a ton of money by literally never buying them (unless we are going on an airplane, which you can read more about in this post).
Let’s start with drinks. I have never bought juice. It’s not that I’m that opposed to them having the sugar, although that’s a factor. I just don’t want to give them another option. Our toddler literally has two choices: milk and water. He’s always had those two options and he’s never complained. In fact, this Valentine’s Day, I splurged on a carton of dark chocolate coconut milk. I’m pretty sure he thought he’d died and gone to Heaven. Even since then, whenever I pour regular coconut milk in my coffee, I hear: “Chocolate milk? Chocolate milk?” Keep it simple. You don’t need to give them tons of options.
I’ll share another secret: I’ve never bought Puffs. You know, the expensive but easily digestible air-like snacks that literally melt in the baby’s mouth and cost like $7 a package? (Okay, maybe like $3. But still.) It’s my opinion that advertisers have scared us into thinking that our kids will choke on everything. Instead, I give my babies Cheerios and small pieces of bread. We have never had a choking incident.
Note: I am not a doctor, nor am I claiming to be one. I’m just a really cheap stay-at-home mom, sharing the strategies that have worked for me.
I also buy regular yogurt. Again, I’m sure there are great reasons to buy the special “baby yogurt,” but I just haven’t because it costs more. And my kids are fine.
Other great snacks that (in my experience) are totally acceptable for babies are: graham crackers, pretzel rods, saltine crackers, rice cakes, raisins and most cereals. Yes, even if they don’t have teeth yet. Again I am not a doctor but I am sharing what has worked for me. When I’ve asked our pediatrician, she’s reassured me that babies just use their gums to mash up food. Even steak is fine, she said, before they grow teeth. (Blew. My. Mind.)
Also, I buy the large jars of unsweetened applesauce and section it into smaller containers when I travel. Same goes for yogurt and raisins. You can buy the smaller to-go sizes of yogurt and applesauce, but it costs more. Since you have to bring a spoon anyway, I usually just fill a small, reusable plastic container with applesauce or yogurt and pack them both in my diaper bag. Incidentally, I’ve found the twist-off lids are better than the suction tops at holding in liquid. (You can read more about why I recommend buying applesauce, rather than making it, in this post.)