What a mom shouldn’t miss to give healthy meals on a budget

What a mom shouldn’t miss to give healthy meals on a budget

Sticking to the budget and giving healthy foods to the little one at the same time are challenging. Toddlers are very fussy with their food habits. Most of the times, they waste the whole meal and demand snacks just a little later to fulfill their hunger. This made a mom little confuse while budgeting is an another issue to take into the account. Don’t worry! There are many ways to save on your food bill while giving nutritious foods to your growing toddler.

1. Shop wisely and healthy

If you want your toddler to eat healthy, then you must shop healthy items. Remember, buying healthy doesn’t have to bust your budget. It just needs your little bit concentration while shopping. With a little planning, you can buy healthy items to serve healthy meals! Here you go!

  • There are many other places to buy food instead of the conventional grocery store. Search and visit to the stores in your area for comparison shopping. This way you’ll save a lot of money.
  • Consider discount store like Costco, Sam’s to get a bargain price. Get seasonal products with lower price there.
  • You must buy a smaller size and plan carefully to balance both nutrition and food waste. This will help you to manage the portion size as well.

2. Consider Farmer’s Markets to get fresh veggies at a lower price

Sometimes local farmers bring their items to sell. You can get fresh vegetable directly from them. However, generic brands are good as well. So, you can consider generic brands instead of those brand names.

3. Guide your toddler to eat healthily

You have to serve healthy, balanced diet for toddlers so that they meet all the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. But, don’t shout or make noise if they seem to be picky with their foods. Picky eating is quite a normal thing in toddlers. Just build some positive eating habits that will work in the long run.

4. Follow an ideal meal plan

A toddler needs to be meet proper nutrients at this stage. They seem to be busy all the day so you must provide proper meal to your toddler. Try to offer three meals and two to three small snacks to your toddler. Remember, snacks play a vital role to fulfill the hunger of a toddler. They usually feel less interest to eat the big meal. They love to eat yummy snacks that fits with their small time and take the little time to finish. Proper snack will produce energy to keep your toddler busy all day long. Offer water to your toddler in between meals and snacks. You can even offer milk and juice that don’t contain sugar. Remember, too much juice can spoil your child’s teeth. Serve small portions each time and let your child finish it first and then repeat if required.

5. Don’t buy processed items for your toddler

If you really want your toddler to eat healthy things, then say “NO” to the processed items. Snacks attract toddlers, but you shouldn’t offer processed items as they contain harmful ingredients and artificial colors. Give fresh fruits, fruit, yogurt smoothie and thinly sliced vegetable sticks instead of giving processed snacks to your toddler.

6. Follow some tricks

  • Use some tricks to make simple food into an interesting one. For instance:
  • Add more colorful veggies and fruits to the meals and snacks eg, small pieces of strawberries in yogurt, corn, green herbs, carrots as and when required to make the dishes more colorful.
  • Go for grilled instead of frying.
  • Serve corn bread, crackers, whole wheat tortillas.
  • Consider some DIY food arts to attract your toddler.

7. Consider homemade food as much as possible

Less eating out allows to provide healthier options for your toddler. How? Having homemade food saves a lot of money, which give more chance to pick healthier foods for your child. There are many easy and simple recipes available. Search on the Internet and pick the best one that goes perfectly for your kids as well as for the whole family

8. Make mealtime peaceful


Toddlers are fussy eaters and they have constantly refused food at this time. If you face the same scenario, then don’t make the situation worse by making noise. You must take it normal and make a calm environment when your toddler is eating. Thus, you’ll be able to build a positive eating experience in your toddler that helps to reduce food waste in the long run.

9. Low-cost snacks and drink ideas

  • Some easy to made and low-cost snacks and drink ideas as follows:
  • Figs, raisins are a good snack for your older sweet-toothed toddler.
  • For a younger toddler, use raw and well-boiled vegetables and finger foods such as boiled and slickly cut carrot, beans, and so on.
  • Offer cracker with cheese at the snack time.
  • Homemade soup, cheese and fruit sticks are also good options.

Final thoughts

Feeding healthy to the toddler doesn’t have to cost most. Smart shopping for veggies, fruits, meats, proper meal planning can do the magic. If you experience frequent power struggle time while feeding your toddler and your kid sleeps less than usual, then seek pediatric consult for help.

Are Farmers Markets Too Expensive?

Are Farmers Markets Too Expensive?

Fresh Georgia peaches

Summer brings about the return of farmer’s markets, local garden, and fresh produce. Farmers markets usually have fresher, higher quality goods and produce than the grocery store selections. Their haul is also often organic and locally grown and produced. But when you visit your local farmer’s market, are you paying more money than you should?

What Consumers Believe Versus The Actual Facts

People often claim cost as the main reason why they don’t frequent their local farmer’s markets. Many consumers believe that farmer’s markets are more expensive than their grocery store when comparing the same items. But is it true?

The Nevada County Public Health Department gathered data from the prices of their area farmer’s markets and compared it to prices obtained from area grocery stores from January 2014 to July 2014. They found that while farmer’s market produce is very similarly priced to the grocery store counterparts. In fact, 5 out of 10 item prices measured found that the farmer’s market prices were equal to or cheaper than the grocery store alternative.

Organic Produce Prices from Placer and Nevada Counties

Another study in 2007 by University of Seattle economics professor, Stacey Jones, found that a comparison study of 15 items revealed that the farmer’s market items were slightly cheaper than the nearby grocery store’s items. The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture studied conventional food in four Iowa cities and reported that the farmer’s market prices were more often cheaper or equal to prices at the neighboring grocery stores.

Across different tested regions, farmer’s markets proved to be cheaper than most consumers expected them to be. But are you always saving money when you visit your local farmer’s market?

It seemed to depend on the produce; for more commonly found vegetables that are easy to mass-produce, the grocery store prices tended to be slightly cheaper than the farmer’s market prices. But for more specific kinds of produce like sweet potatoes and butternut squash, the prices were equal. For things like apples, beets, and chard; the produce at the farmer’s market was cheaper.

Pros and Cons of Grocery Stores and Farmer’s Markets

So with prices that are fairly comparative between the two, which offers a better buy?

The Grocery Store

  • Pro: You can find out-of-season fruits and vegetables that have been shipped in
  • Con: Their frozen produce is typically cheaper than their fresh selections
  • Pro: There is greater consistency in product with factory farming methods
  • Con: You’ll pay much more for organic produce here than at the farmer’s market

The Farmer’s Market

  • Pro: Produce is much fresher (usually harvested within the last day or two before your purchase) and often organic
  • Con: Your selection is limited to local growing conditions and season
  • Pro: You’re supporting small, family-owned businesses
  • Con: Non-produce items like locally-raised meats, honey, etc. are more expensive here than the grocery store’s factory-produced versions

In the bigger picture, the grocery store offers more selection that offers slightly lower prices than the farmer’s market. But much is factored into the price of your produce: production and shipping costs, time, labor, variety, season and weather conditions, demand, and quality, just to name a few examples. Take that into mind when deciding whether or not your farmer’s market is excessively expensive.

What You Pay Depends on What You’re Shopping For

In another study done by Jake Robert Claro, a graduate student at Bard College, they found that organic items found at farmer’s markets were 40% cheaper than the grocery store’s organic counterparts in the area. So if you’re looking for naturally-grown, organic produce that you know exactly where it came from… the farmer’s market will have cheaper selections for you and your family.

But if you’re buying imported produce in bulk- the grocery store is still marginally cheaper than the farmer’s market. Another consideration to make… how long is the shelf-life of your purchase?

Price becomes tricky when you’re trying to pin down what you’re paying for. It makes it difficult to determine whether or not you’re paying too much for your produce. Something to consider is how long you’ll be able to use that head of lettuce before it spoils.

Grocery store produce isn’t as fresh as farmer’s market produce. That’s almost always a guarantee just because it’s more cost-effective to have that produce shipped into the store from further away. Farmer’s market produce is local, so it was more recently harvested.

So if you buy a head of lettuce from the grocery store for a cheaper price than you would at the farmer’s market, but it only lasts you two days before it begins to wilt rather than the farmer’s market lettuce that would have lasted you the week… are you really saving money when you just had to throw away the majority of that lettuce?

Again; it depends. You’d be saving money if you use your grocery store produce within the first few days after purchasing it. But if you need to keep your food fresh a few days longer, the farmer’s market might be your more frugal option.

How to Make Farmer’s Markets Cheaper

If you do decide that your local farmer’s market is a better deal, then you should know how to get more bang for your buck. While data seems to support that farmer’s market prices are often equal to (or even cheaper than) grocery stores, not all farmer’s market selections are going to be cheaper than the grocery store versions. You’ll need to know what to look for and when to shop!

Some money-saving tips to help you shop smarter at a farmer’s market:

  • Scope out the area, and go for a smaller market rather than the bigger, busier ones that tend to be higher-priced.
  • Become a repeat customer; get to know your local farmer… they’ll tip you off when the prices dip lower.
  • Don’t become set in your shopping list; often the items you planned on buying are too expensive… opt for cheaper produce and try out a new recipe instead.
  • Buy in bulk; because seasonal items are in surplus, buy a lot of whatever’s at a low price then freeze or can what you don’t need right now, or go in on the purchase with your family/friends and pay almost nothing.
  • Walk through the entire market before making your purchases; some vendors will offer lower prices than others for the same items, or have buy-one-get-one deals.
  • Play the waiting game; prices often drop just before the market closes, or if you haggle a bit. It’s risky since you might not buy what you came for, but it can save you money.
  • Bring cash; most vendors deal exclusively in cash (or in goods and services if you have those to offer for a better bargain).

Farmer’s markets don’t seem to be “too expensive.” In fact, they seem to be trying to compete with or even beat out the grocery store prices to capture your business. Visit your nearby farmer’s market this summer and take note of the prices then compare them to your grocery store selections. Those prices can change on a daily basis, but if it ends up being cheaper than your local grocery store it could be well worth the change in your routine.