ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Cheap Treats/Snacks for Kids

Updated on June 27, 2012
Cast your vote for Summer Snacks

Summer is here!!!

When summer hits, does your fridge take a beating? Is it opened and closed all day long? Are there children in and out of your pantry asking, "Is there anything to eat?" Do your children have friends over and when they leave is there the remains of a dish tornado left behind - glasses and plates all over the counter and empty food containers everywhere?

This is what happens at our house. I think our food bill triples in the summer. My kids do not eat much more than they do during the school year (as evidenced by their lack of weight gain), but it seems to me that we just go through food faster and in larger quantities. A lot of it is that they eat a little differently - instead of sandwiches, they eat leftovers much more than usual. When friends are over, there seems to be more food requested and more consumed - obviously.

When inviting friends over for meals, I try to find foods that stretch out so our food bills don't stretch as well, but it is not always easy.

If you add a few chocolate chips, everything tastes better.  Even zucchini bread!  This was gobbled up within minutes.
If you add a few chocolate chips, everything tastes better. Even zucchini bread! This was gobbled up within minutes.
Rice Krispie treats are just plain fun.  You can make shapes, you can leave them squares, you can add things.  We usually add chocolate chips (of course) or even dried fruits.  so Yummy.
Rice Krispie treats are just plain fun. You can make shapes, you can leave them squares, you can add things. We usually add chocolate chips (of course) or even dried fruits. so Yummy.

If you feed them, they will come....

Here are some of the foods that we keep on hand to feed the masses:

popcorn - This is such a cheap item. If you pop it yourself, it is even more economical. It fills them up and even gives them a little fiber. You can season it with herbs or butters to make it fancy without spending a lot of money (

fruit/vegetable breads - Leftover fruits or vegetables can be used to make these. We make a lot of banana and carrot bread. If you add some chocolate chips or even some frosting or Nutella/peanut butter when sliced, it will be gobbled up before you know it.

tortilla chips and salsa - We can buy a 6 lb. box of tortilla chips at Sam's Club for $7.26 along with a 64 oz. salsa for $3.98. A little healthier than chips (tomatoes/onions/lycopene in the salsa) and a LOT cheaper. The fiber in the chips and the veggies in the salsa fills kids up more than chips.

pretzels - At Sam's Club, I can but a 6 lb. box of mini-pretzels for $6.48. We like to dip them in mustard, honey mustard, pretzels, and sometimes, when I am feeling like a nice mom, melted chocolate. You can also season pretzels with cheap herb mixes (like powdered Ranch and powdered cheese). A little healthier than chips and the fiber helps fill them up as well.

shortbread cookies - These are the eaiest cookies to make ever! I stink at sugar cookies, so these are my specialty. Flour, butter, sugar and vanilla. Four ingredients that I make into bar cookies. You can fancy them up by adding chocolate chips (do you see a theme here in our cooking???), dried fruits, nuts, flaxseeds, peanut butter chips, etc.... The possibilities are endless.

snow cones/slushies - Ice and syrup. Water is free from the tap and the syrups we usually get on sale or clearance at our grocery stores or Dollar Stores. You can make your own syrups as well if you have the time and energy. Allrecipies has an easy recipe for that at We bought an electric snow cone machine a few years back on clearance at the end of the summer for around $10. We have not stopped using it since. On a hot day, this is the treat that they all want.

rice krispie treats - Krispie cereal is usually one of the cheaper cereals. We often buy the generic because it is not as sweet and even cheaper. Marshmallows we always buy when they are on clearance after a holiday. The red ones from Valentine's Day and the green ones from St. Pat's and Christmas are our favorites. The HUGE ones after summer rock too. Add a little butter (and sometimes chocolate chips - of course!) and you have an easy pan full of smiles.

cereal - Aldi is the best for cereals. They are reasonably priced and I think they are less sweet than some name brands. Cereal goes fast in our house - they gobble it up before I can sit down. Sometimes we mix two boxes of cereal together. Sometimes we add some goldfish or pretzels to Cheerios and thus creating our own mixes. The possibilities are endless.

jello - If you plan ahead, this is a yummy treat when you add some whipped topping. Jello is cheap (especially the generic stuff). Whipped topping can be bought on sale as well.

muffins - We like to make muffins. The varieties are endless, you can use stuff in your fridge, you can top them, stuff them, and even freeze them. I usually make several batches at a time and freeze portions. You can throw a frozen muffin in a lunchbox and it is thawed by the time kids eat. If I know friends are coming over, I pull out a bag in the morning, and by the time the kids are hungry, they are ready to eat.

pre-sliced fruit (watermelon, apples, pears, grapes, melons) - Depending on what is on sale, pre-sliced fruit is a great way to feed kids. A whole watermelon may cost a few dollars and feed a dozen kids. It is refreshing and the lycopene in it is healthy. We sometimes make a cream cheese/marshmallow fluff dip to go along with the fruit. It intrigues the kids! You can also dip apples in peanut butter or yogurt.

This is our snowcone machine.  I think I paid about $10 for it on sale.  We LOVE it!
This is our snowcone machine. I think I paid about $10 for it on sale. We LOVE it!
A great way to cool down on a hot summer day!
A great way to cool down on a hot summer day!
Various flavors.  We got ours at the grocery store on clearance.  We paid a little over a $1 a bottle.
Various flavors. We got ours at the grocery store on clearance. We paid a little over a $1 a bottle.
Shortbread cookies with chocolate and nuts on top.
Shortbread cookies with chocolate and nuts on top.

popsicles (homemade and store bought) - Ice cream can be expensive, but I think that popsicles are cheaper. You can purchase them on sale for a few dollars and they last longer than a cookie. They melt quicker on a hot day (the only drawback I see) and some are sugary, but not bad if they are a treat, not a meal.

If you have molds, you can make your own. With homemade, you can get creative - limit sugar, add fruit, mix in yogurt, and add fun surprises in the middle. You can use pre-made juices, add your own, use milk, or just freeze yogurt.

oyster crackers - We LOVE these little crackers. They are cheap (especially at Aldi and other discount stores), small, and fill you up. We add seasonings to them or combine with some other crackers to make those last longer (ie: great with goldfish or in a Chex-mix).

graham crackers - The possibilities with these are endless. Obviously s'mores rule, but I have used the following toppings and had success with kids: cream cheese and jelly, peanut butter, Nutella, peanut butter and bananas, peanut butter and jelly, marshmallow fluff, and cream cheese and fruit. Buying the lower sugar/lower fat ones helps too. When they go on sale, we stock up as well. Aldi has them at a much lower price that the major chains.

peanut butter cookies - A cookie, yes, but fewer ingredients and some protein in there to keep kids full. They are infinitely healthier when they are homemade, but again, you can add things in there to make them heartier to keep kids fuller longer. Nuts inside make them crunchier (if you like that). Adding cranberries or other dried fruits adds to the hearty factor. Chocolate chips (yes, again) are fun as are adding cream cheese to the recipe (

popcorn balls - You can pop the popcorn fairly cheap and make it into popcorn balls (,171,150187-247200,00.html).

homemade mixes - A few times we have had to scrape the barrel of the fridge and pantry to find something to eat. That is when we get creative and make our own snack mixes. If you have a cup or two of several different things, you can throw it all in a bowl and "create" your own snack. Some of the foods that you can combine are: goldfish, oyster crackers, popcorn, cereals, nuts, dried fruits, raisins, chips (ie: Bugles, Doritos, Cheetos, etc...), mini marshmallows, sunflower seeds, granola, small crackers (ie: Cheez-its, wheat thins, etc...), etc.. Having even a half cup of most of these, combined can create a whole bowl full of fun. Some of our most interesting mixes have come from clearing out the pantry.


juice packets - Hawaiian Punch and those types of drink packets are relatively cheap when on sale (we can usually get them for less that 10 cents per packet). Since you add your own sugar, you control how much is added. I admit that ours are a little less sweet, but no one really complains. It is a lot cheaper (and healthier) than pre-made drinks or pop.

water - This is the cheapest and healthiest drink I have ever found. And ours comes from the tap (the horror!). No one in our house complains. We have ice and we have water. Sometimes I add sliced citrus fruits (ie: lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit) to a pitcher in the fridge to give it a little flavor.

Some final thoughts....

These are some of our creative ways to solve the bottomless stomach pit of kids over the summer. I am sure that there are a million other ideas out there. These are some of the ones that work in our house.

Some of these are healthier than others, some are just plain fun. There are times I am a crazy mom worried about what they eat, and there are times I want to treat them and their friends to some fun. Both ways work and neither is better than the other. It is summer and we should all have some fun!

By the way, our Nestle chocolate chip are form Sam's Club - a 72 oz. bag for $10.28. A little pricy, but if you use it sparingly, just to add some chocolate to a mix, it lasts a long time.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)