Best nutritious snack buys under $3.00

There is so much nutrition that can be had for just $3.00; the cost of two bottled waters.

Three dollars may not sound like much, but there is so much nutrition that can be had for just a few dollars. If you bought two bottled waters, one for each of the two kids who are hungry and bugging you at the check-out on your way home, you’d spend $3.00 or more. Water is good, it is an essential nutrient, but you could have filled up a water bottle for free and saved the environment the burden of processing two plastic bottles. Let’s look at what kind of nutritious snacks you could have served your child for that same $3.00.

A gallon of milk:
For about $2.99 you could have given each of your children 8 glasses of milk. That is a snack a day for eight days! At a little more than two cents an ounce they would get 30% of the calcium needed to grow strong bones and teeth, 25% of the Vitamin D and 10% of the vitamin A they need daily AND 8 grams of protein. Who is it that keeps saying that milk is expensive?

A two to three pound bag of apples:
Apples are a powerhouse. Think about building long term habits that protect for a lifetime. The high level of fiber and antioxidants in apples may decrease the risk of certain cancers and heart disease, and may lower blood pressure in people with hypertension. Recent research also points to a connection between eating apples and improving memory function. Helping your children reach for an apple regularly as a snack might be an investment with a tremendous return in the years ahead. Many varieties are grown in Michigan too!

A 16 ounce jar of peanut butter:
Unless your child has a peanut allergy, don’t shy away from peanut butter. Peanut butter is a good source of potassium which helps offset the negative effects of sodium and may improve heart health and help maintain weight. It is a good source of inexpensive protein, so it has “staying power”. It is one of the all-time best packable snacks. For about 14 cents for two tablespoons and a few more pennies for some whole grain crackers you have an inexpensive snack that is equal to a high priced protein bar.

A three pound bag of carrots:
This bag provides a lot of snacks (10 or more) and a lot of vitamin A. A half cup, or about one carrot, is a serving. Don’t fall for the baby carrots or carrot shorts. These are just regular carrots that have been ground down to remove the skin and create a cute shape for a whole lot more money. You don’t need to peel carrots. A good scrubbing under running water with a vegetable brush is all that is needed before eating. Most school-aged kids can manage this task on their own.

Try not to confuse treats with snacks. Treats are foods that we eat just for pleasure; they may not have a lot of nutritional value, like a cookie or a piece of pie. It is healthy to eat those occasionally, but snacks are different than treats. They are whole foods that we need every day and are good for both children and adults. Snacks keep our energy level high, help to keep us from overeating at meal time and can boost our calcium, fruit and vegetable consumption – for a lot less than $3.00 per serving.

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