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Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Feeding Kids Frugally During the Holidays



As I previously mentioned, my 3 daughters may look like delicate flowers but they almost eat as much as the All Black front row.  It is a constant challenge trying to keep them fed well over the holidays without breaking the bank.  Here are my tips for keeping hungry tums satisfied these holidays.

Are they really hungry or just bored?  My girls whinge they are hungry if they are bored, keep the kids entertained and try to stick to 3 main meals and 2 snack times each day.  Make a packed lunch even if you are staying at home to cut down on portion sizes and keep fridge raiders at bay.

Make sure kids and adults are properly hydrated.  Sometimes our brains trick us into thinking we are hungry when in fact we are thirsty.  I always keep a large jug of water in the fridge so my girls can help themselves.  In the hot weather it is really easy to dehydrate, particularly if out and about, so make sure cool drinks are at hand - preferably not sugar laden fizzy drinks. Taking a bottle of water is much cheaper than buying bottled water when on outings.

Ice lollies are cheap and fun to make.  You can make ice lollies out of pureed fruit, fruit juices, yoghurt, custard or diluted cordials.  Ice lolly moulds can be purchased cheaply, from as little as £1.  Using ice cube trays to make flavoured ice cubes is a great way to perk up drinks in the summer too.  

Fritters are your friend.  Fritters can be savoury or sweet and can be whipped up in next to no time.  Use wholemeal flour if you want more fibre and/or want to keep hunger pangs at bay a little longer.  My 13yo can make a batch of fritters by herself, a useful skill to have.  It means she can cook the fritters whilst I help the younger two prepare the accompanying salads and salsa.  Our favourite savoury fritters are courgette or sweetcorn and chive, you could add some chopped ham or cooked bacon too of you like.  I've blogged a recipe for Whatever Fritters or use "The 1 technique" which is 1 free range egg, 1 cup of self raising flour, 1 cup of milk and 1 tin of sweetcorn.  You can use a coffee mug as a measure if you don't have measuring cups.  If you are using courgette don't forget to grate them then squeeze as much moisture out of them as possible before using them in fritters.

Sweetcorn and chive fritters made by my 13yo, accompaniments prepared by 10yo and 6yo
Bread is easier to make than you think.  One of my daughters favourite lunches is bread they have made themselves.  It feeds them cheaply and keeps them amused for a while too.  You can flavour bread too, adding herbs, cheese and vegetables or add fruit for a sweet version.  You can check out some of my bread recipe here.



Scones are versatile, quick, cheap and easy to make.  Once you've mastered baking scones you can whip up a quick snack or lunch in no time.  Scones can be sweet or savoury and can also be made into Versatile Savoury Swirls which are great in packed lunches or on picnics.  



Muffins or Muffin Tin Snacks are easy and a good portion size for kids.  Bread cases are versatile and quick to make, use what ingredients you have available.  Mini quiches, fritatas and savoury muffins are fab for packed lunches and picnics.  Sweet muffins are a welcome treat for afternoon tea too.

Fresh fruit and vegetables can be expensive.  Keep an eye out for cheap fruit and vegetables in the reduced section supermarkets, at greengrocers or visit a Pick You Own Berries farm.  We grow our own salad greens and berries in our small back garden which cuts costs and keeps the kids amused hunting for ripe berries and weeding the garden.  We're lucky enough to have access to 1.5 allotments so our growing has gone into overdrive and we can easily spend a couple of hours at the allotments weeding, watering and harvesting.  

What are your top tips for feeding kids well but cheaply in the holidays?

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