Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Decanting lunch snacks can save you money

As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm making a huge effort to provide my children with healthy and fun lunch snacks that they will enjoy eating.  My kids love fresh fruit and though I don't like melons, they love them.  Honey Dew, Canteloupe, Sprite Melons... they love them all.  They'll actually willingly eat these and begged all summer for me to buy them for them.  I don't like melons, but I do love strawberries.  My Food Lion, however, doesn't carry the most robust and fresh fruits and I refuse to buy strawberries with severe bruising or puckering, denoting a lack of freshness.

While at Costco, I spied a large bag of melons, pineapples and strawberries in their frozen food section.  While I don't recall the exact price, it was about $7 for a 6 pound bag. This was significant for me since it costs $2.50 per canteloupe here and often more for the other melons my children like.  Tallying up the cost of individual fruit, I saw savings right away.  It would cost me more to buy the fruit individually, not to mention prepping it.  The fact that the fruit was frozen was a huge bonus because then I could decant them into containers as needed for lunches, while not needing to worry about the fruit going bad before it could be consumed. 


About.com explains that a serving of fruit and vegetables is about 1/2 cup.  I would probably put a full cup in my child's lunch, so that's easily 2 out of the 5-9 servings of fruit and vegetables that they need every day. 

You can also decant things like apple juice to save money on pouch or drink boxes for your child's lunch drink.  I personally don't mind forking over .60 a day for my children to drink milk at school.  The steel FUNtainer that I have for drinks specifically says not to use dairy (milk) in it and I agree.  Once milk starts to go bad, it will stick in the straw and be very difficult to clean.  However, I wouldn't hesitate to occasionally put apple or grape juice in their FUNtainers if they got tired of milk at school or wanted a change.

So give the idea of frozen fruit a try!  One nice thing about buying the bag of fruit is that my daughter doesn't like strawberries, but I do.  I'll just fish out the strawberries for myself and leave her all of the melon!
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