Weekly Woot & Grumble: Help Me Find A Frugal Snack Hack
Today I write to ask your advice on a topic near and dear to my frugal heart: snacks! Not just any snacks, mind you, but healthy and frugal snacks. I want the full package here people, and I bet it’s not going to come in a package.
As a lifelong lover and consumer of snacks, I have a broad range of experience with this particular culinary facet. In first grade, I somehow convinced my incredibly health-conscious parents to buy me fruit snacks and granola bars, which were the crème de la crème of playground snacks at Sundance Elementary. I was a connoisseur of gummified sugar and would often swap my more “natural” fruit snacks for my friend’s saccharine and entirely synthetic Gushers (what was IN those things?). Those were the days, as far as snacks were concerned.
My tastes have matured (slightly) as I’ve aged, although I sometimes have a penchant for the simplest of flavors–peanut butter, egg salad, mac-n-cheese–you know, the five-year-old special. But alas, the primary drivers of our snack (and meal) decisions now stem from our three-pronged goal of healthy, tasty, and inexpensive.
My current snack retinue includes:
- Apples, oranges, or pears (whichever is cheapest that week)
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Air-popped popcorn
- Olives (these are more Mr. FW’s thing, but I chomp them from time to time)
- Homemade whole wheat mini muffins with applesauce instead of butter
- Dried fruit (consumed less frequently due to higher cost)
I don’t necessarily eat all of these things everyday (although, let’s be honest, it has happened on occasion), but, this is my basic rotation. I find all of these foodstuffs delectable and, with the exception of the apples/oranges/pears, they’re dirt cheap.
Bananas clock in at $0.39/pound from Stop-n-Shop (Boston-area peeps: bananas are cheaper at Stop-n-Shop than at Market Basket! They’re this price every single week, so it must be a loss leader). Eggs ring up at $1.79 per dozen and air-popped popcorn is too cheap to even calculate.
Our food bill is typically $300-$330/month for the two of us (though we ballooned to $400 last month, whoops) and I’m not looking to add mega bucks onto our grocery expenditures with wild and crazy snack options. We’re able to keep our food costs low by not eating out, preparing just about all of our food from scratch (like bread! and hummus!), and eating very little meat or dairy.
I believe it’s possible to eat well and eat frugal at the same time and we certainly don’t feel that we sacrifice nutrition or flavor with our menu.
But I’m craving some snack variety, folks. And I thought, who better to ask for advice than the Frugalwoods diaspora? I know you frugal people have excellent snacks that you prepare and consume. And I want to know all about them!
We don’t buy much packaged food, so I’m not one for pre-made granola bars, crackers, or chips. And, while I like nuts, they always price out as way too expensive (but if you have a cheap nut source, let me know!). Yes, I do realize what I just wrote and no, I’m not going to edit it.
It’s really too bad that Cheetos are neither healthy nor frugal. I know they’re gross and I know they’re full of chemicals and I know they have zero nutrition, but dang it if they’re not freaking delicious.
I haven’t eaten a Cheeto in nigh on two years now, which is probably for the best. Why, you might ask? Because I’m a chip-destroyer. Any type of chip is not safe in my vicinity, but Cheetos are an especially endangered breed of junk food.
In much the same way as I haven’t bought any clothes in 16 months (and counting), I haven’t purchased any Cheetos either. These two things are not unrelated as Cheetos were one of the contributing factors to me gaining 20 pounds during graduate school (which I subsequently lost, but come on Mrs. FW, Cheeto weight?!).
Sometimes it’s best to know my own limits. And I cannot be trusted around a bag of Cheetos. It’s more like, “Cheetos? There was a bag of Cheetos here? All I see is Mrs. Frugalwoods covered in orange powder…”
Ok, seriously, I’m hankering to hear what snacks you munch on. Tell me!
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I’m guilty of eating chips with dip, but, like you, I can quite happily eat most of the bag without thinking about it. So, I try to limit how many/how often I buy them! My husband eats them everyday, but he’s nice and slim and can get away with it – me, not so much. Frugal Feeding posted this recipe recently: http://frugalfeeding.com/2015/04/01/fennel-and-chilli-roasted-chickpeas/ which is really tasty and cheap. I also like roasting chickpeas with some soy sauce which is also really tasty and cheap! It’s just a tin of chickpeas with whatever seasoning you fancy 🙂
Chickpeas are on the list! So excited, we never even thought to roast them!
Roasted chickpeas are the absolute best! I just use olive oil, black pepper and garlic powder – so easy!
Yum! We’ve got to try these!
I’m not very frugal so I don’t know how much I have to offer here. But I love all fruit snacks. I especially love baking (or microwaving) the fruit with a few oats and some maple syrup and it’s like a cobbler.
And black licorice jelly beans are to me like Cheetos are to you. Not safe. Hubs once bought me a 5 lb bag thinking it would last a while. Is 36 hrs “awhile”?
Great idea mixing some fruit with oats. I’ll have to experiment!
5 pounds in 36 hours? That’s beyond impressive. I bow to your jelly bean disappearing skills!
*whispers behind hand* Whatever’s in the dumpster, man. I haven’t bought any food outside of a few gallons of milk in several weeks. It’s el primo dumpster season. The weather is just close enough to a fridge and the lion’s share is the healthy stuff. My recent snacking sensation? Mandarin oranges. Those things are in those mesh bags all sealed up and as soon as one gets too ripe the whole bag ends up outside in the green gift box. Boy, oh boy are they good.
But there does end up being some not so good stuff too. Today, for example, I’m taking a dozen bottles of caramel sauce to the food pantry donation box. I couldn’t let it go to the landfill and we’re not eating caramel on every meal for the next two years. (I also take them all the peppers I find because we’re not huge fans.)
That so nice of you to make sure all that food doesn’t go to waste! And I too would be clueless as to what to do with that much caramel sauce. 🙂
Have you ever tried wasabi peas? They are quite delicious and most certainly healthy. They can start to tip the pay scales a little bit, but if you can find them in bulk that helps. Or I know it’s possible to make them yourself though I’ve never had, well made, the time to do so. Oh and talk about clearing your sinuses… Got a cold? Eat some wasabi peas and you’ll breathe free again in no time!!
Cheetos are like kryptoniye to me too. I love all chips, but Cheetos hold a special place. Perhaps it’s because my grandfather remained firmly convinced his whole life that the best meal in the world consisted of a hot dog and Cheetos. Who am I to argue with my elders??
We have tried wasabi peas, though it’s been a long time. We’ll have to see if we can find a good bulk price. Thanks!
I’d say give nuts a shot! Yes, they are more expensive per lb, and probably per serving than your other snacks, but they are very filling, so you might find yourself consuming fewer snacks. (1 per afternoon instead of 2?) We do a lot of nuts, and for the past year I’ve also been making a lot of snack bars (out of nuts, oats, seeds, etc) from the recipe book Power Hungry. (She’s also got a recipe website by the same name that contains more non-snack food.) This week we had homemade “Kind” bars (almonds, walnuts, coconut, apricots…) and “power pucks” made with bananas, almonds, eggs, and vegan protein powder – both amazingly tasty! I rotate through different recipes and variations on them in the book so we don’t get tired of any.
If you do give nuts a shot, our cheapest source of high quality raw nuts is Trader Joes, though there are a couple types of nuts/seeds that are cheaper in the bulk bins at Whole Foods (sesame seeds and pepitas). Other grocery stores around here don’t sell enough of them so they can get stale and aren’t tasty. I probably spend $20-$30 on nuts and seeds most months, but they’re the basis of most of our snacking.
We too go quite heavy on nuts. We both eat them every day. Our trick to keeping the cost down is to stock up BIG TIME on the 9-ounce cans of Medallion brand mixed nuts at Wal-Mart any time they go on sale. They get marked down to $2 a can often, and when we see them at that price we scoop up every single can we see on the shelf.
(And, before anyone starts rolling their eyes at the cost per pound — just under $4 — do realize that nuts go a long, long way to satisfying a snack craze. And I’m absolutely positive they have to be cheaper by the pound than Fritos.)
Huh, interesting. We unfortunately don’t have a walmart nearby, but that sounds like a sound strategy if we did. We’ll take a gander at Trader Joes, and maybe see if there’s some decent online supply. Thanks!
Oh yum, that bar sounds absolutely delicious! I just requested that book from the library, so we’ll have to check it out!
We do have a TJ’s near us, and it’s a good point that their nut prices are pretty good. Good call!
I make granola, which I eat for breakfast every morning, so I end up buying some nuts. Trader Joe’s prices are very high compared to what you can find at BJs or online.
I said I buy SOME of the nuts because we have nut trees – two pecans and two black walnuts! The black walnuts are very labor intensive, but shelling some of them is worth it. They have an amazing flavor! The pecans are easy. My husband and I can easily crack a pound while watching a movie. They have become a staple for us. We have transplanted some of the baby trees that come up every year, and have recently started hazelnut bushes!
Potatoes! Not exactly straight-out-of-the-box snacks, but definitely nutritious, cheap, and filling. For my teenage sons, for a while we’d just leave a bowl of raw potatoes on the dining room table. They’d come home and nuke one after another, and stave off their hunger until they could get mondo-piles-o-food for dinner. Sometimes they’d have potatoes for dessert, too.
If I were doing potatoes as a snack, I’d chop them into 1″ cubes, mix with oil and seasonings, and bake. It’d be the left-overs that I’d nosh on as a snack.
Very good point. I also know that baked sweet potatoes keep pretty well… maybe I’ll bake some up on Sunday and Mrs. FW can slice off rounds as she needs. Thanks!
I roast 2-3 sweet potatoes every week and have 1/2 every day with cinnamon. So filling, so sweet, so delicious!
That sounds delicious! I really like the flavor of sweet potatoes–and, they’re so satisfying.
I understand your Cheetos issue – because I am a pretzel addict. Can’t have them in the house. I’ve walked up and down 10 sets of stairs in my office building trying to find a vending machine with pretzels. What about sprinkling cheese on your popcorn (like parmesan?) That might make it Cheeto-ish.
Anyways – I find I need to switch up snacks. So, I like crunchy veggies in the afternoon – but I get tired of all one thing, so maybe carrots one week, snap peas the next, Mr SSC loves celery and peanut butter.
Have you tried making your own granola? You could make it chunky so it is more snackable – and since its mostly oats – that’s cheap!
Huh, interesting idea about parm on the popcorn. We’ll definitely try that out. We haven’t made our own granola, but Mrs. FW’s mother has a killer recipe. It’s pretty sweet though, might have to tweak the recipe to make it healthy enough for normal snacking.
Whenever I’m craving chips, I use this popcorn seasoning:
1 part salt
2 parts garlic powder
2 parts cumin
2 parts [smoked] paprika
2 parts curry powder
1 part cayenne
I make a big batch of this seasoning now and use it all the time! It’s more interesting than plain old salt…
Sounds delicious! Thanks for the recipe!
I make homemade protein bars that are just oats, vanilla protein powder and apple sauce. If I have sunflower seeds those are good in it too. Cinnamon would be ok in them too but I don’t like it.
I love Cheetos more than I love most of my family but I am trying to skip those and have pear dipped in hummus instead.
Yum, those bars sound good! I’m assuming you bake them? Do they stay together OK?
I bake a big batch and freeze them. I don’t measure anything and getting the right amount of applesauce is the secret to them staying together.
When I over cook it or make them too dry I just crumble it and call it granola.
Love me the roasted chick peas. Alton Brown has a great recipe here that is similar to how I make them myself. Almost like a corn nut.
This we have to try like ASAP! 🙂 Thanks for the recipe!
Too much like a corn nut. 🙁
I made these today and I was hoping for more “kasugai pea” texture. I scrubbed the mission, boiled ’em up, and used them like regular chickpeas in my work lunches this week. I’m hoping the roasting will give them a nice umami and the vinegar will add interest.
I’m glad I tried it, after hearing raves about roasted chickpeas for years. I’m just more of a crispy gal than a crunchy one.
How about spicy baked chic peas like these?
If you already have the spices (which I do cause we are Indian food addicts in my house), they are cheap – especially with home boiled chic peas. I bake mine extra extra so that they really take some chewing. If you don’t have the Indian spices, I am sure you can get them cheaply in some great Indian market in your area. There are also many other versions for more Mexican spices, Italian spices, etc..
If you have a mandolin or food processor, you could also bake your own potato and sweet potato chips. Much better for you and tasty! It is just hard and tedious to cut them thin enough by hand without one of those two.
I am making these tonight, for the 4th time in as many weeks. They are so, so, so good!
I originally learned Channa Chaat from a coworker (who works in bangalore), but I find that the recipe Sara provided is easier to have all the ingredients on hand.
What are you doing for fat intake? I find that fat helps fill me up, so maybe make those hard boiled eggs into deviled eggs and you will be more full.
Oh good, glad to have another confirmation that we _must_ make this recipe! So excited!
We usually have olive oil as a component of dinner, and there is also olive oil in the rice&beans lunch, but it’s a good point that a fat earlier in the day could be helpful. I’ll have to think about how we can work some more in. Thanks!
This chickpea recipe may get tried this weekend, it looks so good! And we already buy chickpeas in bulk for our hummus… so this would be perfect, thanks!
Ah, the snack. The best method I found to fill myself up is to have a well rounded snack. Don’t just eat a banana or an orange .Have an orange (I love the Halo clementines, no seeds and peel so easily), a hard boiled egg, and 3 almonds. It’s a really filling snack. If I’m really hungry it’s 2 oranges, a hard boiled egg, a cheese stick, and 6 almonds.
As to the nuts, we used to buy ours at BJs. The baking aisle is the best for it, although we only have a Costco now that has 3lb bags instead of the 5lb ones at Costco. There’s a Sams close by so I might look into that if it’s the same price.
I also limit how many nuts I have in a meal. It’s ridiculous counting them out, but you shouldn’t be having more than 15 almonds in one sitting.
And for the unhealthy stuff, eh. We buy chips but I weigh out the amount I have so even though they’re not super healthy, you can be healthy enough on the back end by limiting the quantity.
Yeah, portion control on the nuts has been a challenge in the past. Though we also didn’t plan our lunches nearly so closely back then either so maybe we’ve evolved enough that we can be trusted with a bulk nut purchase 🙂
I eat full fat Greek yogurt. Trader Joe’s sells their own brand which is pretty affordable for Greek style yogurt. Fat and protein are most filling when consumed together so it’s a great afternoon snack when I need to eat something to hold me over before dinner. Another one I do is I make crust-less egg bakes with cooked ground beef or pork, tons of cooking greens from my CSA (kale, spinach, mustard greens), a little cheese, and seasonings in a 13×9 cake pan. Then after it’s baked and cooled, I cut it all up into 16 pieces, wrap them in foil, and keep in my freezer. As of late, I’ve been having that instead as an afternoon protein-packed snack that keeps the hunger at bay even if dinner is delayed.
Crustless quiche is a great idea! I used to make some scrambled-egg-muffins that served a similar purpose. May need to dig that recipe out… Thanks!
Fellow Cheetos addict here *hangs head guiltily* what ‘s in those things that make me loose control?
I often have plain greek yogurt (with a teeny bit of sugar on top) for snack. Otherwise I would stop and buy every kind of food I pass driving home from work! Also, I keep a block of cheese in the fridge at work… It’s great by itself or with apples/pears…
Glad I’m not alone in my Cheeto addiction ;)! Greek yogurt is a good one–yum.
I make homemade yogurt. It’s so easy and basically costs as much as milk. Also works well with almond or coconut milk if you avoid dairy. Just scald a gallon of milk to about 200 F in a big pot. Then transfer to a large non-metal bowl (I use the stoneware from my crockpot) and allow it to cool to 110 F (use meat thermometer, or when both pinkies can stand a dip for 10 seconds). Stir in 1 TB of plain yogurt. Now keep around that temp for 12-16 hours. I use the oven with the light on. Great plain, with fruit, homemade granola, or even cereal crumbs.
Nice! I’m impressed! I don’t eat much yogurt, but I’m intrigued by the process!
homemade yogurt makes fantastic dip if you strain it a bit more. it would perk up your carrots.
Yum! That certainly would make carrots more exciting 🙂
Sweet potatoe chips. Slice sweet potatoe into thin slices. Add salt and a little oil. Bake 10 mins each side at 160 degrees Celsius. Or until crispy
Similarly, homemade kale chips (depending on how inexpensively you can procure kale–it’s a bandwagon I never jumped on, but I have friend who swear by it, and there’s a thousand kale-chip recipes online).
Kale and sweet potato chips are both wonderful! We’ve had those for dinner from time to time, but they’d make great snacks too. Thanks for the suggestions!
I often have coffee as an afternoon snack — it’s filling 🙂 If I’m at home I might make a slice of toast (homemade bread, very cheap) with jam (also homemade). At work, I usually just bring a cut-up apple, so I’m not much help there. I think my best frugal snacking tip FOR ME has actually been to work harder on having a satisfying lunch so I don’t hit that 3:00 crash as often. I’ve been really focused on good lunches this year and it’s dramatically reduced my desire to snack. In the past I used to make my own granola bars, but I’m not sure I’d recommend that since you’re already eating oats for breakfast and really how many oats can a person eat? I like Tara’s egg-bake suggestion — sounds interesting and filling.
I can eat a lot of oats! I love them :). Homemade jam sounds divine–I’m super impressed!
Not the frugalest, but I make “Energy Bites.” They are Oatmeal, PB, Coconut, flax seed, honey, mini chocolate chips and vanilla. Like these: http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/no-bake-energy-bites/
When I’m feeling a little blah, they are just enough of a fancy treat (chocolate chips, com’on!) that I can go splurgy for 1 batch (1 or 2/ day) and then get back into my normal snacks. They are also excellent for an afternoon pick me up.
Sounds delicious! I could make those in lieu of my whole wheat oatmeal mini-muffins… Thanks for the recipe!
I love these! I make them with whatever I have in the house and keep them in the freezer for hiking and snacks. Chia seeds are wonderful as well, you can make an easy chia pudding with about 2 tablespoons of chia seeds and a cup of almond milk, add in cinnamon, store in fridge or freezer depending on your desire consistency.
Yum! Thanks for the suggestion!
I bake my own sourdough bread, slice it up, slather it in butter, and microwave it. Carbs + Fat, what a delicious combo. 🙂
Probably not very good for you, but easy on the wallet!
Oh wow, I love sourdough bread so that sounds amazing 🙂
Almonds, pretzels, yogurt, string cheese (for the kid in you). I’m also a chip destroyer. There was an incident with an entire bag of Doritos not too long ago…..
Doritos! I love all those fake cheese chips…
I made home made granola bars – they sound similar to Kate’s Energy Bites. The base is toasted oats with honey to hold it together and then I throw in flax/hemp seeds/sunflower seeds/pumpkin seeds/sliced almond bits/cranberries/mini chocolate chips/or basically whatever sounds healthy and delicious! With all the goodness in them it doesn’t take a huge serving to fill me up and keep me going. I pick up the ingredients at Bulk Barn – not sure if that’s in the US too.
Those sound fabulous! Do you happen to have a recipe you could share? I’d like to make something along those lines instead of my whole wheat mini muffins one week. Thanks for the idea!
Cheese! Any and all kind of cheese…but the real stuff. No Kraft packages or Velveeta. We have the best cheese in Vermont, Cabot being one of my favorites. It’s healthy but also fattening, so I guess that’s an oxymoron, but it’s got to be better than Cheetos. One or two slices with a cup of herbal tea, and I’m good for hours and hours. I also snack on good quality almonds, also very filling and healthy. We buy a lot of stuff from Nuts.com. Wonderful website and excellent service. Neither of these options are the most frugal, but we do enjoy good quality food. If we splurge, that’s where it’s going to be.
Mmmm, I’m with you on good cheese. When we do eat cheese, it’s very nice cheese! That’s just one more thing that we love about Vermont. We bought the most amazing local cheese for our dinner when we were last up there and it was simply divine. I’ll have to check out nuts.com. Thanks for the tip!
Dill pickles! Salty, delicious, and cheap in bulk at Costco. I also love celery and the occasional nuts. Throw some peanut butter and raisins on the celery and you can be healthy/appease your inner 5 year old with ants on a log!!’
Mmm pickles and ants on a log both sound amazing to me right now! Thanks for the suggestions!
I don’t remember where, but I recently saw a recipe for homemade Cheez-Its. I haven’t tried it, but I plan to. I even pinned it to my “recipes to Try” board. (That’s the extent of my Pinterest knowledge, btw. The whole thing is mystifying to me.) Anyway. I also really enjoy nuts, and seeds, especially sunflower, are a somewhat cheaper options. Or roasted soy nuts?
Mmm, Cheetos! I haven’t had them in ages. Similarly, I found myself thinking longingly about Cool Ranch Doritos the other day. It’s quite possibly been 20 years since I had any of those babies…
Homemade Cheez-its sounds very tempting and definitely like something I would enjoy (probably a bit tooooo much 😉 ). Oooo Cool Ranch Doritos–those things are delicious! What is it with those weird chip flavors that are so oddly good…
I was never really a snack person, but now I have a three year old who eats more or less constantly so I have come up with a lot of cheap snack strategies.
Roasted chickpeas- crunchy and filling like nuts, but way cheaper. You can spice them to your personal preference
Granola bars are easy to make and you can make them as a healthy as you want, though the healthier they are, the more expensive they are to make. I’ve made crunchy and soft varieties, there are tons of recipes online.
Edamame- not too expensive Frozen, good hot or cold, fun to eat
Inferios- this is what we call generic Cheerios. Eaten as a snack and not as breakfast, a $1.49 box lasts quite a while
Applesauce- keep an eye out for imperfect apples on managers special. It is easy to make in the crockpot and easy to freeze in small portions
Popcorn- I know you already do this, but have you tried changing up the toppings? Like if you love Cheetos, get yourself a thing of popcorn cheese powder at Costco. Try making kettle corn (not hard at all on the stovetop) or a little olive oil and a little garlic powder and Parmesan cheese. Just start googling, there are so many popcorn variations folks have come up with (maple syrup and bacon fat? Mexican hot chocolate?)
I have to second roasted chickpeas. Actually, we fry them in a pan, but it’s the same idea. They crisp up and pop. Fun! Add some olive oil, sea salt and spices and you can’t ask for more. Do iiiiit.
I’m so excited by all of these roasted chickpea suggestions–I’d honestly never heard of them, but it sounds like all of our readers eat them! We will definitely be giving them a try (especially since we already buy huge amounts of chickpeas from Costco for our homemade hummus).
Edamame is yummy too! And, never occurred to me to make my own applesauce, but what a good idea. I use it in baking, so it’d do double duty for me if I snacked on it too… delicious.
I’ll admit we haven’t been super adventurous in our popcorn recipes–we just add olive oil, salt, and pepper. But, I’ll have look into it.
Thanks for all of the suggestions!
This probably isn’t the healthiest, and I know you said you don’t like crackers and chips, but here’s my two big snack additions to yours:.
1. For savory cravings, Saltines (with sour cream). Size-wise, there might be nothing cheaper at the supermarket than saltines. You can get a four-sleeve box fox under $2. I don’t know if you get crunch cravings like we do, but saltines satisfy that! And if you add sour cream, plus we have a powdered version of Franks Red Hot Sauce, and you’ve got a taste sensation.
2. For sweet cravings, graham crackers with peanut butter, and sometimes honey!
Mmmm both sound delish. I wonder if I could make my own graham crackers… now you’ve got me thinking 😉
Actually, Marge has been making her own crackers for the last month. It’s very easy, but it’s hard to make a lot since you’re limited by baking sheet size. But man are they tasty.
She says they are two parts flour to one part water, plus some oil and your nice smelling flavor add-ins, play with it until it’s elastic-y, roll out, bake and break.
Don’t know about graham crackers. Marge says you need graham flour. Also, I’ve been wanting to try to make this recipe for oatcakes:
I must sound obsessed with crackers, but I’m really not…
I sort of love crackers, which is why I try not to eat them too often. They’d quickly go the way of Cheetos with me :). But I’m very intrigued by homemade crackers!
Homemade granola bars. Holy cow, are they delicious. (Full recipe on my blog, of course :-). I say they’re for the kids, but I often eat most of them myself. Unsweetened coconut is an expensive ingredient, but I haven’t given up on finding a cheaper source. Chocolatey, peanut buttery goodness. Mmmmm. ‘Cause I want something really delicious when it’s 6 pm and I still have to work till 8 and finish putting the tots away before I can have my dinner.
I’ve been thinking about your homemade granola bars lately and how I want to try them! I really love anything resembling a granola bar, but don’t want to buy the packaged ones, so I would probably love these 🙂
http://www.thekitchn.com/heres-why-you-should-never-throw-out-potato-peelings-tips-from-the-kitchn-212565. Here’s a suggestion from a crunchy/salty snack fan. Unless there are cookies….
Those look delicious! We make sweet potato fries sometimes, but those look even crunchier :). Thanks for sharing!
I would say the weirdest things I snack on our peppercini’s and the really big whole sized pickles, both seriously make my mouth water just by opening the jar/bag.
I like pickles too! Salty goodness.
Cheetos are the best but we can’t buy them anymore if we want to keep our relationship fight-free. We bought a bag the other day and we were eating some while watching a movie. A few minutes later half the bag was gone so I decided we should stop and save some for another day… that didn’t go well with Mrs. Cheetos Lover. She grabbed the biggest handful of Cheetos and stuffed her mouth trying to get as many as possible before I could take the bag out of her hands. She later thanked me for stopping the madness. Unfortunately, the Cheetos only survived one more day. RIP Cheetos… in my belly
Haha, sounds exactly like me with Cheetos! It’s seriously dangerous!
I’m constantly snacking! I like raw veggies and hummus and fresh fruit, but my favorite snack lately has been chia seed pudding which is not quite so frugal but very, very healthy. Lots of omega 3, and fiber for clean energy. All you need is something creamy, flavoring, and chia seeds. I usually make it one of two ways. 1. Blend up hemp seeds, dates or honey, water, and either cacoa/cocoa or vanilla and cinnamon. Pour mixture into jars to fill them halfway and add two tablespoons of chia seeds. Soak for 15 minutes. Best slightly chilled. Or 2. Blend up unsweetened yogurt, dates/ honey, and either chocolate or vanilla flavoring and add chia seeds, wait, chill, and eat. You can also add whatever else you want such as oats, nuts, berries, chocolate chips, etc!
Those sound delicious! And super healthy :). Thanks for sharing!
Banana sorbet! Ok, so more like a dessert but a great snack. Freeze 3-4 bananas, add 1/4 cup soy/almond/whatever milk – or whatever for no added sugar at all – a dash of vanilla extract, and 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder.
Also, the Basket has those huge bags of roasted peanuts. $10ish a bag but lasts a long time, seal it tight with clips or something or they go stale though.
That banana dessert sounds amazing! And, bananas are so cheap!
Thanks for the tip on the Basket peanuts–I’ve honestly never noticed those before, but I’ll check them out tomorrow. thanks!
Furthermore on the cheap bananas at Stop & Shop: they have “ripe bananas”, which are frequently just bruised bananas but sometimes they’re actually freckled ripe bananas, for $0.19/pound. They’re in paper tote bags on the cart with the other marked down produce.
Oooo, I haven’t seen those before! I’ll hunt around for them next time. I need more bruised bananas for my muffins and breads!
Do you have a dehydrator? Can you access one easily? I borrow one from friends, and there is an environmental group in town that rents them (well, they rent them in other towns and hopefully are buying one for our town soon). Buy apples, bananas, and whatnot when they are in season and make some of your own dried fruit. The rural homestead would probably do well to have a dehydrator. I am dreaming of owning an excalibur… but really, really do not need one, so that’s an expenditure I don’t need for now.
We don’t have a dehydrator–but, we’re planning on getting one once we’re growing our own fruits on the homestead. I do love dried fruit :)!
I’m joining the chorus of people who like roasted chickpeas! They are so cheap and so yummy. You can make all sorts of different flavors, but try a batch with nutritional yeast for a cheezy flavor.
I’m so excited by this roasted chickpea chorus! I’d never heard of them before, but they sound like the perfect snack for us. Thank you for that recipe! We’re definitely going to make these 🙂
Since you like dried fruit, investing in a food dehydrator may be a good, frugal investment (like the soda rig the mister hooked up). With banana that cheap, you can buy a ton and make a pretty frugal, sweet snack.
And thinking about it, Mr. FW may be able to jury rig a nice model just on extra parts and such he can repurpose.
Yum, dried fruit! A dehydrator is definitely on our list–especially after we’re on the homestead and are growing our own fruits and berries. I bet you’re right about Mr. FW being able to figure out some sort of contraption… hopefully he’s reading this ;). Thanks for the suggestion!
I actually don’t mind spending more on food or snacks as long as it’s healthy choices, so I’ll buy nuts and chop up a few and add them to my yogurt. Do you not eat dairy at all? I get Fage (plain, non-fat) for $1 per yogurt. You can even split that up into two servings if you don’t eat a lot (that’s not me-ha). I also like celery with some hummus.
I do like Greek yogurt, but eating it too often doesn’t make my stomach happy (ditto for other dairy too). But nuts in yogurt sounds really good!
I don’t particularly care for sweets but give me a bag of crunchy Cheetos and I am totally helpless. I need to go to a 12-step Cheetos Addicts Anonymous group. I have declared (as I sit at my work desk grabbing a Cheeto between typing) that I am helpless before Cheetos and that only a Higher Power can guide me to a Cheetoless sanity!
Haha, yes! I’d go to Cheetos Anonymous with you!
Dang! Reading all these food comments has made me hungry for lots of things simultaneously that don’t even go together… I love to snack on dill pickles, grandola bars (homemade mostly) and cashews (though they can be expensive as you point out). Otherwise, I don’t snack that much. Maybe some raisins or yogurt once in a while too.
Oh cashews, how I love thee. I know, I’m making myself hungry again just reading these :)!
I have to admit, I’m also a chip monster though my choice is generally Doritos! I could eat the whole bag at once if I’m not careful, especially if I snack on them while working on my laptop. I don’t realize how many I’ve had until the bag is practically empty…
Yum. Doritos rank pretty highly for me as well… it’s dangerous!
So glad I found your blog ( I’m also a frugal weirdo!)
I buy a large can of garbanzo beans at Costco ( not more that $3, methinks)
I drain and rinse them, roll them mostly dry in a dish towel. I speak them out on a Baking sheet and lightly sprinkle with salt and garlic powder. Bake until crunch but not pebble- like. Perhaps at 325 for 15 minutes? Adjust as needed. Stores well in a sealed container.
It satisfies my need for crunch, it’s frugal AND healthy.
I love Cheetos, too.
I was going to recommend this idea too! I just go with whatever seasoning combination I’m hankering for.
Roasted chickpeas it is! Neither Mr. FW nor I had ever heard of them before this post, but the number of people who’ve recommended them is astounding! We are super excited to make these :). Thank you both for the suggestion!
Ok, just read many previous posters mention garbanzos/chickpeas. Need to read previous comments before commenting!!
I love the ringing endorsement of the roasted chickpeas :)! So excited to try it!
Pretty much all those things you mentioned. And all the bad stuff (I’m a connoisseur of fine chips and junk food). I’d say a typical week of snacking for us is 1/2 healthy and 1/2 junky. Healthy snacks are bananas, apples, oranges, or whatever random fruit we have on hand (last night it was strawberries). Also sunflower seeds, peanuts, walnuts, almonds. Sometimes I’ll slice up celery and leave a ton in a bag. Also yogurt, applesauce, oatmeal.
Unhealthy – oh wow I bet there are 4-5 bags of half-eaten chips in our pantry. They seem to last a long time which means we aren’t consuming them a lot (because apparently you can gain 20 pounds from eating them…). Fiery hot jalapeno cheetos (Aldi store brand of course). Chili limon potato chips (my weakness – also an Aldi generic). Funion knock offs (mmm). Tortilla chips (mostly used as a base for nachos).
Oh man, I would eat all of your chips in an afternoon! Better not invite me over :). We once had the Aldi’s generic Fritos (after a hike, so we felt less guilty) and wow were they delicious.
I might add roasted lentils to the already often mentioned roasted chick peas. Also, if you’re interested in drying your own fruit, you might try the Alton Brown method of setting up a “dehydrator” using box fans.
Roasted lentils sounds like a great idea! And, I’m intrigued by this Alton Brown dehydrator… I’ll have to read about it. Thank you for sharing!
The fan “dehydrator” was used in a couple different episodes of Good Eats, but the dried fruit episode (clip with dehydrator: http://www.foodnetwork.com/videos/dried-fruit-0137116.html) probably has the most information (bonus: i remembered wrong and it only used one fan (but does require air filters)). When I was searching for the video link, I also found this recipe for a microwave peanut butter “fudge” (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/peanut-butter-fudge-recipe.html) that I might use as a “snack” for myself.
You might also re-substitute some sort of fat (coconut oil, butter, whatever your favorite oil is) into your applesauce muffins to make them more satiating. You two seem to eat pretty healthily, so a little extra fat shouldn’t hurt you, and you can add in chopped apple bits if you want the extra fruitiness.
If you do want to try making your own graham crackers, you might try the recipe at Smitten Kitchen (no graham flour required: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2009/05/graham-crackers/). The recipes there are usually pretty well tested (by her and her commenters) and also tasty.
Your post has inspired me to snack better, so I unsuccessfully tried to find the roasted lentil recipe I used before. This one looks pretty good/similar, though: http://www.edibleperspective.com/home/2013/1/3/crunchy-roasted-lentils.html
Thank you for all of these links, Jude! I really appreciate all the ideas :)!
My colleagues introduced me to “Dang” chips (toasted coconut chips), and they’re absolutely delicious…until I realized they were close to $5 for a tiny little bag (yikes)! I knew there had to be a way to have this treat in a more frugal manner.
So I now pick up a bag of unsweetened coconut flakes from the baking aisle (sub $2 for 8oz/3 cups that goes a long way)! Filling & tasty you can throw the flakes on yogurt, eat paired with oats and/or dried fruit, or if you want more of a treat pair with chocolate! Also, you can make your own homemade toasted coconut chips by baking in the oven. Hopefully you like coconut! 🙂
I love coconut, yum! Thanks for the idea!
Ah, snacks. How I love snacks! 😉 Finding something with a bit of protein would be a good bet. Nuts and chick peas would be a great option. The good thing about nuts is that you don’t need a lot for a serving size. You can toast them with spices, etc. to make them more tasty.
How about cottage cheese? (I don’t like it, so have no idea how it stacks up price-wise) and the homemade yogurt sounds pretty frugal and tasty.
I think I’m the only one who doesn’t get the cheetos thing! They taste like packing peanuts with orange dust to me! lol
Haha, that’s because they probably are packing peanuts with orange dust ;)!! I’m with you on the protein angle–I’m definitely going to try the roasted chickpeas and see what I can find for discount nuts. My stomach won’t tolerate too much dairy, so the cottage cheese is something of a non-starter :). Thanks for the suggestions!
I also have to second roasted chick peas. Cheap and delicious with a few spices added. I brought some to work for my morning snack and can’t wait to make more.
I’m convinced! You all have totally won me over–we’re going to try these 🙂
I also have to second roasted chick peas. Cheap and delicious with a few spices added. I brought some to work for my morning snack and can’t wait to make more.
Another vote for the chick peas :)! Alright, we’ve got to try these!
Try kale chips. They take a little bit of prep, but are a great chip replacement. Lay them on a baking sheet, drizzle with a yummy fat (olive oil, butter, ghee), sprinkle with salt and your choice of spices, then bake for 15-20 minutes until crispy. My 1.5 year old daughter and I can devour a whole bunch of kale in one sitting. It’s healthy and delicious!
We love kale chips too! Haven’t made them in a long time though, so thank you for the reminder–yum!
Here are some relatively frugal ideas (note I have not priced these out yet).
Eggy Quinoa Bites – cook up some quinoa (I usually cook 3/4 c. dry), saute whatever veggies you’ve got lying around or any half bags of frozen veggies are left in a little garlic and olive oil (mushroom/kale/onion is a fave); combine everything in a bowl with 4 eggs. Pour into a well buttered Pyrex dish (7×11 ish). Bake at 400 for 45 min. These come out into cute little eggy-quinoa cubes and are so versatile. Add cheese if desired. I get 12 pieces. (could use leftover rice too if cheaper)
Timbales – these are rice, egg, veggie cups cooked in a muffin tin.
Fruit Roll Ups – this would be most economical when you get a basket of pears or apples from a U-pick kind of place or find a free fruit tree somewhere. And you need a dehydrator. Cook down all the fruit, put through a good mill (the thing you crank so it filters out the skin, stems and seeds). Spread on to dehydrator sheets. These last like a year once rolled up and bagged! Better yet! Google “where to find public fruit trees” and locate a public tree to pick for free. We have a plum and pear in a nearby park that’s free for the picking! Plus we have two apple trees in our yard.
Kind of fancy pants, but Olive-Pomegranate tapenade. A way to stretch those expensive olives. Chop up green olives, add pomegranate seeds (get it on sale of course), chop up some onion. Drizzle with olive oil, balsamic and garlic. Good with pita chips.
Refrigerator Pickles – when farmers’ markets are booming, get some cucumbers and put them into Mason jars already sliced into spears. Add a boiled mixture of water, sugar, vinegar, dill and salt (Google it). It’s hard to buy pickles after knowing how tastes refrigeration pickles are! Lasts 2 months in the fridge. Good to make even in small batches.
Make up new dips – I’ve seen recipes using white beans, green peas ways to stretch guacamole or hummus.
Love these ideas, Shannon! Thank you! The Eggy Quinoa Bites sound especially up my alley–yum. Our friend made refrigerator pickles for us with cucumbers from her garden last year and they were incredibly delicious! Thanks so much for sharing.
Love this post and all of the ideas I’m getting from the comments. My snacks are usually expensive and unhealthy, so I definitely need new ideas.
Oh good! There are a ton of great-sounding snacks in here :)!
something healthy, filling and tasty – stuffed dates 🙂
take pit out of dried date, spoon some nut butter into it and top with walnut (well, this last step is totally optional ).
sweet, bit salty, very filling and healthy 😉
I love dates and that sounds amazing!
Mmm – reading this post got me hungry. When I was pregnant last year I had hard time satisfying my constant hungry belly with nutritional, yet tasty snacks. My go to snack was (and still is) nuts – I recommend checking out your local grocery store in their bulk section for all types of nuts! My favorite are almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts, the list goes on. We found Costco has decent per lb price on nuts, but our grocery store (Sprouts – may only be found on the west coast?) has better pricing on their bulk nuts on sale, so we bulk up when they go on sale! Another low-cost option is trail mix that has more peanuts mixed in it, these tend to be cheaper. Dried fruit is expensive, we are fortunate to live in an area where there is an abundant supply of fruit almost all year long (even right in our backyard!) and we have dehydrated the fruit from our fruit trees. But some low-end but very tasty dried fruit are apricots and dates. Dried fruit will also make you feel fuller than fresh fruit leaving your belly feeling full for longer. I don’t know if you like chocolate, but I sure do! I recommend (again) getting this in bulk – you will find dark chocolate pieces (also great for baking) which you can munch on and it’s much better than the milk chocolate that comes prepacked and you don’t have the waste of packaging! Popcorn is great; during my pregnancy I would have this once a week (sometimes twice)! Hope that helped!
These are all great suggestions–thank you! I really wish we had plentiful and cheap fruit here, alas, looking forward to the day when we can grow our own. It’s interesting on the dried apricots–they used to be very reasonably priced at our Costco, but, they’ve recently tripled the price! I’m hoping it’ll go back down again… And, yes, I definitely love chocolate, probably a bit tooooo much 🙂
I know you said you already eat air popped popcorn but this is a staple for us. When we get bored we change up the flavors. My favorite at the moment are cinnamon & sugar and black pepper garlic powder. MMMMMM.
Very creative! I like the idea of fancy popcorn 🙂
Both of my parents are Indian and a very common snack was roasted chickpeas, sometimes mixed with roasted peanuts. They were a very common snack that people brought back from India. The Indian chickpeas were smaller than the kind you get in the US, but tasty and crunchy and totally yummy. I am happy to see so many people enjoying this in the US! I tried a hommeade version of the big that almost broke my teeth. I will stick to the ones from India!
I love to bake up a bunch of potatoes and hannah sweet potatoes. The potatoes I then cut into wedges and eat with ketchup (this is a Gira-fry) and the sweet pototoes I can eat plain. The Hannah sweet potato is my favorite and are $1.69/lb at the Whole Foods. That is always my biggest expense, but I really like them and it’s worth it.
I also like homemade granola without oil or refined sugar by following this recipe. This one is not very sweet, and you can adjust to your tastes.
I buy raw almonds in 3lb bag from Costco and keep them in the freezer. I do not use any oil in my cooking at home because I prefer to use mainly whole foods, so I am ok with spending some money on nuts, but I have to be conscious to eat them with other food and not by themselves because you can easily eat too many! They are expensive, but they last a long time if you don’t eat too many. Maybe 10 at a time with a banana or sweet potato.
Good luck staying away from the Cheetoes!
Thank you for these suggestions, Gira! All sounds delicious. We’re definitely going to try out the roasted chickpeas. We’re big fans of sweet potatoes and will sometimes have them for dinner. I’ll need to check out the almonds at Costco–you make a great point that I wouldn’t need to eat too many at a time, which would make them last. Thanks again!
Can you find those sort of chickpeas at an Indian grocery in the US? We have a few Indian grocers around here.
I haven’t seen the roasted ones in the Indian grocery, but I haven’t looked either. Please ask your local Indian grocers if they carry them, and don’t be alarmed at how small they are!
What about smoothies ? we make ours using frozen fruit and the cheapest natural yoghurt we can find. Nice and filling 🙂 you can also have the yoghurt with the fruit on the side OR free the smoothie mix and make them into popsicles.
We’re a fan of smoothies, but sometimes I think we go a little overboard with ingredients and then realize as we’re contentedly sipping that it’s a $3 cup 🙂 Sticking to frozen fruit and reasonable yogurt would probably do us some good. Thanks for the suggestion!
Don’t know if you have a blender or the time, but I find a smoothie as a nice snack or light meal. Right now I’m having one of blueberries, half a banana, arugula and kale, with water as my mixer. It’s perfect to get some fruits and veggies in and not overly filling. Also makes a great breakfast on the go for this days Mr. FW is away traveling!
Smoothies are a great idea–thank you for sharing!
Mrs. T made some spice balls and they were fabulous snacks, not only that they’re healthy that’s great. Basically in a food processor add any nuts and seeds that you have laying around, dried dates, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, and other items you like, mix everything, then make small balls. They’re delicious and good for you.
Those sound amazing! Yum!
Hi, my name is Christina, and I am a snack addict ;). Love me some snacks! I get so hangry without them.
Some of my favorites are greek yogurt, apples with peanut butter, apples with cheese, nuts, and green smoothies (although the ingredients aren’t cheap, I still think it’s frugal because I try to use up random leftovers of fruit and spinach that might otherwise go bad).
You had me at “peanut butter” 😉
Hmm, I’ve always considered peanuts a really cheap snack (and other nuts to a lesser extent). Plus, research shows that nuts are amongst the healthiest food you can eat.
An ounce of peanuts has 161 calories. At Whole Foods, they’re $4.29/lb which works out to $0.26 per serving (160 calories). That’s pretty darn cheap; a lot cheaper than fruit if you’re looking at calories (not that I recommend skipping fruit). And I bet you can get them cheaper at Market Basket and/or Costco. I just checked an old MMM post and he lists raw almonds as costing $0.80 for 667 calories from Costco.
Ooo, thank you for the Costco nut tips! I do like nuts a lot, but just haven’t found a good source. I’ll have to do more digging next time we’re at the store!
Good Old Raisins & Peanuts & Sunflower Seeds
The nuts & seeds have complementary proteins. This snack has protein, fat & fibre in that order.
To avoid addiction, use roasted but unsalted nuts & seeds. In Canada, this has the advantage of avoiding the sales tax on “snacks”.
That sounds so good to me. Yum. Can’t believe I hadn’t thought of that! Thanks!
It’s not Cheetos — but Tostitos with Lime for me. (sigh)
You need something salty — try Cheese Guys: tortillas with a sprinkle of cheese, baked til crunchy.
Have you thought about varying your popcorn? Air-popped is good, but caramel corn is better:
We have one of those stirring theater-pop type poppers, and I just found a very easy way to make kettle corn:
make your popcorn as usual — but add 3-5 teaspoons sugar while popping. Sweet, salty — and totally addictive.
Mmmmm kettle corn… so tempting! And Cheese Guys sound right up my alley. Thanks for the suggestions :)!
Walnuts are pretty pricey but super tasty with dried blueberries. I also love protein smoothies. When the garden is going I love to enjoy fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, and avocados (store bought) with an olive oil, ACV, and Himalayan salt dressing. Yum! Oh my! Can’t wait!
Sounds delicious! I envy your awesome garden!
On almonds: If you visit CVS before end of day tomorrow (04/11), CVS is selling their store brand (Gold Emblem) lightly salted roasted almonds for $4.99 a pound. I also get email coupons from CVS (e.g., $6 off a $30 in-store purchase), and I regularly get almonds (sometimes store brand, sometimes Blue Diamond) from CVS and Walgreens for between $4 and $4.50 a pound by combining email coupons and checking up on sales.
Walgreens also has sales relatively frequently for eggs (usually $1.29)!
And while this isn’t cheap, I buy stroopwaffel at Whole Foods about once a month — $4.44 for ten, and they are great with tea (I put a plate on top of the mug with the stroopwaffel on top for the caramel to melt without getting soggy).
Thank you for the tip on almonds at CVS–I never would’ve guessed! Yum… almonds. Stoopwaffel is pretty tasty too–we had some while we were in the Netherlands and loved it!
I eat frozen fruit when I want something sweet. I put them in a cup and eat a few at a time as they thaw. Raspberries, peaches and cherries are my favorites as the texture doesn’t degrade too much. Especially good in the winter.
Huh, that’s an appealing idea! I’m also thinking a cool dessert snack like that would be really great in the summer too!
My 8 year old likes to take sliced up corn tortillas and fry them up in a pan. They come out crispy and yummy. Sprinkle with salt, spices and it becomes your own homemade corn chip or Doritos chip. We, also, make sweet potato fries. Super easy, yummy and healthier than real fries.
Yum! That sounds excellent! We’re also prodigious sweet potato consumers, but I should try and get a crispy-ish fry. I think in the past our homemade baked fries have gone limp pretty quickly after making. There’s probably some trick to get them to stay crispy for longer.
I am fan of home made granola bars – oatmeal, peanut butter, jelly (or honey) I recommend the recipe from Leanne Brown’s cookbook Good & Cheap…. she has a free PDF on her website … Also, your own trail mix – the air poped popcorn with some dried fruit & raisins & nuts … it will expand your dried fruit bring the cost per serving down a bit and nuts you’d have to price shop I have not purchased any in some time – but its a way to mix up your snack using what you likely already have which is always the best option from a frugal stand point ….
Oh, I admit to never having considered adding popcorn to trail mix! What a great idea! We’ll definitely have to try that, thanks!
You all are making me hungery! Best between meal snacks include fiber & protein which will fill you up and stick with you.
Our favorite are sliced apple and peanut butter. Either dip or spread on the slices
Celery stalks washed cut each stalk into 2 or 3 sections, fill with cream cheese filling, peanut butter, or whatever you like
And for fun, great anytime of year……
Oh yes, ants on a log! Best use of celery ever invented in my opinion 🙂
And we’ve never heard of glitter grapes, but those seem like they would make a particularly nice summer treat!
I think eggs are by far the best thing to snack on because of how much protein you can get out of them. I really only buy organic cage-free eggs now, though, so it’s more than double the ‘regular’ eggs. I even struggle with those eggs, though, because I know farmers typically “throw out” the male chicks since they won’t lay eggs and therefore aren’t profitable to keep alive. Not sure I feel right supporting these practices : /
Eggs do seem to be a great source of energy. We’re especially eager to be able to raise our own on the homestead, since it seems hard to find eggs that don’t have dubious lineages.
I don’t really snack… but when I do, it’s very similar to yours… Fruit, dried fruit and nuts, and popcorn. I also love hummus with anything… Veggies, crackers, rusks.
We’d be lost without our hummus!
Since warm weather is coming, why not try making flavored ice cubes. You can suck on them when you’re hot and they’re cheap to make. I personally like strawberry lemonade ice cubes. Yummm…
Huh, never would have thought of that… but it sounds like a fun and easy thing to try! Maybe frugal hound will also want one in her water bowl… 🙂
Veggies and hummus are our current go-to (snap peas, baby carrots, sliced persian cucumber, and grape tomatoes all make decent ‘dippers’).
The old spoonful of peanut butter is another fav.
I think this is the weekend we go and get a popcorn popper, too, and see how those dip into hummus. 🙂
Our air popper is a lifesaver. It’s a great snack, and not that bad for you! In the winter it’s also nice to stand in front of the warmth it puts off 🙂
Ok, this requires some investment up front but it will save you lots of money in the long run. Get a dehydrator. You can dehydrate fruit and make chewy sweet snacks, or you can dehydrate meat and make jerky-type snacks. You can dehydrate kale and make kale chips. You can also make veggie burgers on them and freeze them for later. I’m telling you, I bought one about 3 years ago and I still use it every weekend to make snacks for the upcoming week.
We’re on the lookout for a used dehydrator! I have a saved craigslist search for that and a pressure cooker 🙂
I also sometimes make big batches of mini honey popcorn balls. (The recipe is at http://www.gimmesomeoven.com, “naturally-sweetened honey popcorn balls”.) There are only 2 ingredients: popcorn and honey!
Yumz. See, this is perfect for while we’re waiting to find the right dehydrator 🙂
While nuts are expensive, this is one thing I splurge on. They last longer if you make your own trail mix. I usually buy them when they are on sale at Fred Meyer (I live on the west coast, not sure if you have FM over there!). I’ve never noticed any stale taste when they are on clearance. I love cashews and almonds. I throw in raisins (cheapest dried fruit ever), coconut slivers, any other dried fruit that’s on sale. I love taking an apple to work and dipping it in almond butter, but dang it’s expensive. I also learned recently that it takes one gallon of water to grow one almond, and that really gnaws at my conscience.
I see that you’ve already got the homemade hummus thing dialed. Ooh, what about some refrigerator pickled veggie mix? Carrots, jalapenos, onions, or whatever is cheap during farmers market season (cauliflower?). That could add some pazazz to the old veggie and hummus snack.
Sorry I can’t be of more help. You seem to have the same ideas I do.
Fridge pickles are a good idea! In a couple of months we’ll be inundated with cheap seasonal produce, and we really should make some pickles!
…and when you eat the pickles or other veggies up, save the brine. Add more cucumbers or veggies, and in a few days, you’ve got more pickles!
We start with a jar of the expensive garlic deli-style pickles, and reuse the brine all summer long.
Also, is that a vase full of Cheetos? Or baby carrots? Love it.
Carrots, but everyone in the house (including frugal hound!) wishes it were cheetos 🙂
It’s so funny how something as weightless as a Cheeto can be so freakin’ caloric. I have no snack frugal hacks. I think 25% of our grocery bill is spent on snacks (I also think I’m lowballing it there). We do eat the crazy crap like Cheetos and Pepperidge Farm cakes and Cadbury Eggs and those SCRUMPTIOUS little yellow Peeps! 😛 mmmmmm …
ANYHOO, I hope everyone else is way more helpful! 🙂
I do love bananas, but mostly slathered in peanut butter. 😛
Hah! Peeps! I had nearly forgotten about those! Tis the season I suppose…
I always have an apple, peanut butter sandwhich, and bananas in a day. These snacks are what I can’t live without. Aside from it being healthy, I just love its taste, making it some of favorite snack ever, and it makes me feel full even in small amount of serving.
Those are all tasty snacks for sure!
I love your blog and really appreciated your post about being privileged (a topic that is all too often ignored on financial blogs). I also have the luxury of being privileged and share your values around healthy, minimally processed foods (and packed lunches!). However, my husband and I are willing to spend a bit more on food because we know it has such a huge impact on our environment, economy, and the people producing it. Purchasing high quality, organic food from companies/farms that pay fair wages and safe working conditions (minimal exposure to chemicals/pesticides, breaks, etc) is more important to us than money in the bank (and we work in the public sector, so there isn’t loads in the bank!). Plus, organic foods are healthier for us and knowing your farmer is really enriching-so we experience a bunch of other benefits by voting with our dollar. I think everyone above has mentioned snack ideas I would’ve suggested, so I’d just encourage you to look for ingredients that have the value of benefiting our food system, too.
We’re definitely fans of shopping organic as well. We are fortunate enough to be able to buy most of our produce and dairy organic, which I’m very grateful for!
I popped on here to offer popcorn topping suggestions, but it sounds like you’ve got that covered! I also wanted to say that I just prepared a full week of black beans and rice for my lunches, a la Frugalwoods, because I’m having an extra-busy week and didn’t want to be caught without (usually I just eat leftovers, but I can’t really count on that this week). Thank you for the inspiration!
That’s awesome! I’m so excited to hear you’re rice-and-beaning it :)!
Lots of great ideas in the comments here! I do love roasted chickpeas, but one problem is you really have to eat them right after roasting to get the crunchy affect….if you bring them to work, by the time you eat them they’re just seasoned chickpeas. Which are still good! Just not AS good.
I’m big on popcorn and nuts for snacking. Nuts are expensive but they are SO good for you that I think its worth the investment. I’m like you in that I can’t keep any junk food in the house or at work because I apparently have no self control (I test this once a month or so, and yup, its always still the case!)
One other frugal snack suggestion that I didn’t see mentioned was pureed beans. You can do it with any bean, really – maybe not chickpeas – but I’ve made great purees with white, red and black beans before. It’s a great dip for vegetables or toast topper. I use my food processor for it, but you might be able to get it to work in a blender too? I’ve never tried that.
Good to know on the chickpeas. We’re really going to have to try that recipe out! I’m with you on the nuts, I’m on the hunt now for some that are more reasonably priced… hoping Costco can come through for me :).
We have a food processor and make our own hummus with it, but we haven’t ventured into trying out other beans in there… thanks for the idea!!
I feel your pain with the Cheetos, they are disgusting but I love them ever once in awhile and I don’t even like cheese. Weird I know. The latest thing I’m addicted to is sweet potatoes with a little oil sugar and cinnamon . They last a couple days in the fridge if they last that long 😉
Oh Cheetos, why am I so weak before you ;)?! Sweet potatoes are definitely winners!
Roasted squash seeds! Most people roast pumpkin seeds but I also roast up the seeds from butternut squash (which I make far more often than pumpkin). A touch of salt and they’re a fun crunchy snack.
Yum! Sounds fabulous!
I LOVE this post more than anything for the comments and now I can’t wait to roast some chickpeas myself. I am totally a snacker and I could eat a bag of cheetos without even thinking about it. When I am in a snacky mood I typically go for celery and carrots because the crunchiness makes me feel like I am eating more but it doesn’t always fill the craving I have for something salty like chips.
I feel the same way about carrots–they’re crunchy but just not as satisfying as a Cheeto ;).
I don’t know if you are a big fan of sprouts, but I actually really like them as a snack. I buy mung beans at my local grocery store in the bulk-bins for pretty cheap. Something like $2/lb. You can make a sprouter out of an old mason jar. You can sprout mung beans, alfalfa, even peanut sprouts!
Huh, we’ll have to give it a try. Never eaten them as a snack, only on salads. Will give it a try, thanks!
We enjoy smoothies, usually just frozen fruit (strawberries at the moment) banana, protein powder and milk. The protein powder is more to get the daily amount being pregnant.
Or we keep frozen pretzels on hand. Maybe not the most frugal or healthiest but I have seen recipes online to make homemade soft pretzels.
I have also been seeing homemade cheez it type crackers that I have wanted to try.
We make homemade tortillas and will dip them in peanut butter for a healthier type of snack.
My husband likes to snack on sunflower seeds.
And we also do homemade ranch powder mixed with yogurt for dipping veggies.
Maybe not all the most frugal and healthy, but I make most the “convenience” foods to cut down on the not so healthy that so often goes into these ingredients.
Great ideas, Rachel! These all sound tasty. Thanks for sharing!
I have to agree with the 200 others in championing roasted chickpeas, extra credit if you make them using your own cooked beans (from dry) instead of canned. Cinnamon, sugar and coconut oil are my favorite but Sriracha or chipotle are nice for spicy crunchy cravings.
Dry roasted edamame is another tasty high protein snack and it’s pretty frugal if you get it from the bulk bins. The bulk bins are my favorite place to find frugal snacks, you get to try something new without having to buy a 20 serving package, perfect for a 2 person household.
Yum! Edamame is a good one!
One of my favorite snacks is this: toast sunflower seeds until they’re brown and aromotic; toss ’em in a bowl. Do the same with sesame seeds. Add them to the bowl. Add a teeny bit of ghee or olive oil, just enough to coat the seeds. Now you have a choice on seasoning. Sometimes I’m in the mood for savory, and I’ll do curry powder and ground coriander and cayenne with a touch of salt. Sometimes I want sweet and I’ll use ground ginger, cinnamon, a touch of fresh ground nutmeg, a touch of salt, maybe a wee bit of honey. You get the idea. This is cheaper than most nuts and very satisfying. Enjoy!
That sounds delicious! Thanks for the suggestion!
I just started making kale chips and I love them! It’s super easy to make. You just buy a bundle of kale, then cut it off the stem and break it up a little into bite sized pieces. Toss some olive oil on a cookie sheet. Then place your pieces on kale on the oil and season with a little salt then stick it in the oven. They cook for about 15 minutes and I turn them over halfway through. When the edges are crisp, your kale chips are ready 🙂
I’m a huge fan of kale chips! So delicious :). Thanks for sharing!
Maybe this post will help — and it’s got a link back to you.
Thanks for passing this along–appreciate it!
late to the party, but have to put in another vote for the pureed bean dip. White beans, tons of garlic, parmesan, put in tiny pan and heat up in the oven. It’s like, a dollar and lovely for an appetizer when you have guests over. Eat with pita chips or whatever veggies. The other day, I had a million girlfriends over as one of the stops on an all day bachelorette party, I fed them homemade ice tea (like ten cents), seltzer from the soda stream (cost of co2), heaps of stovetop popcorn made with coconut oil (maybe a quarter?) and a pan of brownies that i made from a box that was on sale for a dollar. It was quite the little spread and it was under $2. It’s all about presentation, people! Everyone was totally satisfied and I was like, trying not to apologize for only spending $2 on entertaining all these people.
Sounds delicious! Your style sounds very much like ours–seltzer, popcorn, brownies… yum! We puree garbanzo beans for hummus, but white beans are a great idea–thanks for sharing!
Pickled Beets! Sounds strange, but are so tasty when you get used to them;)
Late post, but I can’t resist. Nuts grow for FREE on trees. I make a point to visit my Uncle in California to raid his pecan tree when the nuts are ready. We also have a local park with chestnut trees, a classic choice for your area. Freeze large quantities and then roast for snacking. Extra points when your roast them with chili powder or curry, yum! Planting a few trees on your property will give you all the nuts you can eat.