fresh fruit and vegetables on a platter, bananas, pears, grapes, apples, avocado, bell pepper, carrot

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.

apples with cinnamon yogurt dip

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.

homemade graham crackersYou 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.

pumpkin smoothie in mason jar

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.

oatmeal breakfast cookies

So what is my family snacking on these days? Some of our favorites are:

1. fresh fruits and vegetables

2. white bean dip

3. smoothies

4. breakfast cookies

5. whole-grain graham crackers (homemade)

6. granola bars (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

11. cheese

12. cottage cheese

13. hard boiled eggs

14. granola (with yogurt or milk)

15. Greek yogurt

greek yogurt with blueberries

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.  ๐Ÿ™‚

homemade granola bars

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!


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