Why I’ve Stopped Buying Packaged Snacks
I’m trying a little experiment with my grocery shopping. I’ve mentioned before that I try to stay away from processed and packaged foods as much as possible. Providing healthy food options for myself and my family is so important to me. I love cooking and baking from scratch, and homemade always tastes so much better than store-bought.
So what is my grocery experiment?
Beginning about four weeks ago, I stopped buying packaged snacks. No crackers, pretzels, snack mix, granola bars, or fruit bars. We do have a lingering box of graham crackers in our pantry, but once those are gone I plan to buy no more.
It’s not that I was buying tons of processed snacks before this. I’d typically stock graham crackers, cheddar bunnies, and granola bars in my pantry. But since I’ve been making more and more homemade snacks, I decided why not go cold turkey and see how long I can resist the convenience of those boxes on the grocery store’s shelves?
There are a few packaged snacks that are on my ok list, since the ingredient list contains just a few recognizable items. These are Larabars and Triscuit original 100% whole wheat crackers.
You know what? Not only are we eating healthier and more flavorful snacks, but our grocery bill has been lower than usual for the past few weeks. I haven’t changed much about my meal planning, so I’m thinking the packaged foods must have something to do with our dollars saved.
Why I’ve stopped buying packaged snacks:
1. My kids can’t constantly ask for the cheddar bunnies (or graham crackers, or fruit bars, or whatever) if they aren’t in the cupboard! We were to the point where they were asking all day long, and I’d much rather they eat Greek yogurt, cheese, fruit, or a homemade breakfast cookie than processed grains from a box.
2. Real foods (think fruit, veggies, homemade hummus, or cottage cheese) and homemade snacks are healthier than processed foods. We feel better and have more energy when we eat real foods. I like being able to recognize each ingredient that I put into my body. Processed foods are made to last, which means they have all sorts of preservatives and other questionable ingredients. No, thank you.
3. I enjoy making homemade snacks. Plus, it’s something fun that my kids and I can do together.
4. I’m saving money. The cost of those convenient boxes of crackers and bags of snack mix can add up quickly.
So what is my family snacking on these days? Some of our favorites are:
1. fresh fruits and vegetables
5. whole-grain graham crackers (homemade)
7. toast with nut butter
8. raw nuts, such as almonds and cashews (not recommended for kids under age 4)
9. homemade whole grain fruit bars
10. homemade muffins
12. cottage cheese
13. hard boiled eggs
14. granola (with yogurt or milk)
15. Greek yogurt
You’d think that with how busy my life is, I wouldn’t have time to make homemade snacks, but I do. It really doesn’t take as much time as you’d think. Sometime soon I hope to do a post about how I keep us stocked with healthy options, including how I stock my freezer.
One last thing: I do not judge. I know that a few pretzel sticks or bunny crackers can sometimes be a lifesaver. My hope is to inspire others to make the healthiest food choices they can given their stage of life and circumstances. With two young kids and a third on the way, I totally get the crazy busy pace that most of us are living. We all do the best we can on a day to day basis, myself included. 🙂
What are your favorite healthy snacks? If you have kids, do you have the same struggle with them always wanting grain-based snacks, like cheesy crackers? My kids (like me) love their carbs, but I strive to keep things balanced!
I too just love making my own healthy snack options! I feel better about eating them, and enjoying the making process. I make a batch of granola bars nearly every weekend to snack on through the week!
I’m glad that you enjoy making homemade snacks too! I’m always trying new kinds of granola bars!
That’s great that you are making your own snacks, so much healthier! We do struggle with needing convenience from time to time, and I wish I was better at planning ahead for those circumstances, because the prepackaged stuff does add up!
I totally get the need for convenience! It would be nice if life would slow down a bit, wouldn’t it?
I applaud your move to not buy packaged snacks! All of your reasons are great and I, too, refuse to buy packaged snacks! Waste of money and the ingredients are ridiculous! Plus you can’t eat it, if it’s not there!
I’m so glad you’re with me! It’s much more fun to make your own anyways, right?
That is such a great idea to not buy packaged snacks. I really admire you for that, Kristine! I can only imagine how much better it feels to be eating more wholesome, healthier ingredients. Plus you save some money, too!
Thanks, Gayle! I appreciate your thoughtful comment!
I think it is just wonderful that you’re doing this! I always try to steer my kids towards “whole” foods to snack on, like fruit/veggies and yogurt, but they find the pre-packaged stuff so irresistible. Major kudos!
Thanks, Allie! It means a lot to hear you say that! The kids just love the packaged snacks, don’t they? When we have them in the house, mine just keep asking and asking for them.
I often think that my husband being diagnosed with Celiac was one of the best things for us because we were forced to cut processed foods out of our diet. I still make homemade granola bars and some snack type foods but generally it is so much easier to reach for some grapes or apples and peanut butter so we inadvertently eat much better than we would have!
Isn’t it interesting how those major challenges in life can lead to some pretty good things? Apples and peanut butter are one of my favorite snacks! 🙂
Nice! I’m not much for home made snacks. I’m really a terrible cook hahaha! But I have been trying very hard to keep fresh fruits & veg stocked for snacks. It usually works pretty well. And like you said, if there’s no junk in the house, I can’t eat it!
Good for you! Fresh fruits and veggies are about as good as you can get when it comes to healthy eating!
This is super interesting! As much as I’ve loved packaged snacks in the past (way too much!), I’ve started to realize how little you get for your money. Companies are so stingy…the weight of a ‘granola bar’ vs something wholesome which you can bake at home in 30 minutes or so is ridiculously airy and light – there is nothing in it but sugar (and not the good kinds). You are so right, there is little goodness in anything store bought compared to what you can make at home, store bought/packaged things are so ‘dilute’ in nutrients etc =total waste of money. I think we all have more time than we realize to bake fun things and make healthy snacks, it’s just all about a little planning! Sorry for the rant haha!
Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Tash! I totally agree! Planning makes all the difference, and it’s so worth it in terms of the nutrition you get.
I’m seriously impressed! We don’t eat much from a box, mostly pretzel crackers. Giving them up would be hard, but I can definitely see the benefits of forcing healthier Snacks!
Thank you, Bri! Now I just have the problem of my son asking for Cheerios all day long! My kids (like me) just love their carbs. I guess it could be worse. 🙂
I can’t agree with you more, Kristine — my kids go for the packaged snacks over everything else. I’ve limited them to lunch only for the most part, and I’m trying to make more and more homemade snacks, which they always love. I should just go cold turkey — I love that you’ve done that! All of your snack recipes look amazing, and I need to try them. 🙂
It’s a little more effort to go for the homemade snacks or fresh fruit/yogurt/etc., but I’m loving not having the kids ask for the packaged stuff all day long! Thank you for your thoughtful comment. 🙂
love this, can’t wait to check out your recipes!
it’s hard to find recipes for homemade snacks that don’t have a ton of expensive or odd ingredients that we can’t find out here in the sticks or that my kid will eat.
Totally agree on the healthier snacks and cost savings 🙂 I find if we make homemade protein bites and have things like snack baggies of veggies/fruit/yogurt/cheese sticks etc in a little bin in the fridge, my kid will ALWAYS go for these because he can be Big and get them himself 🙂
we love to bake, and your recipes will be sooo much healthier than junky cupcakes and cookies lol