Homemade Back to School Snacks: Healthy and Budget Friendly

Well folks back to school time is here. We have a little under two weeks until school is in which means it is time to start stockpiling lunch box foods and think quick and easy breakfast.  This year I am trying a couple new things and a couple of household favorites! One of the best things about all of the reciepes I am going to share today is that they are:
  1. Simple- all of the ingredients are pantry items
  2. Inexpensive- none of the ingredients cost much, the yield is much higher than the store bought versions
  3. Healthier - Each recipe is a healthier version of the store bought counterpart and can be adapted to be even healthier depending on your eating habit 
I choose to take my prep day on Monday to make all of these items, however, for working mom's it is just as easy to prepare one item each night for a week or spend a couple hours during the weekend. Don't forget to get the kids involved!

I enlisted the help of my oldest son.

Here is the overview of what we made:
  • Granola Bars
  • Cheezits
  • Vanilla Wafers
  • Butter
  • Applesauce Muffins
  •  Egg "Mcmuffins"
Most of the recipes are adapted or taken straight from Pinterest. I will provide link to each site as we go.

Granola Bars
(From How Jen Does It)

 1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup honey
2/3 cup brown sugar
4 cups quick cooking oats
2 cups rice cereal
1 teaspoon vanilla
(If you would like to make peanut butter chocolate chip granola bars, use 1/3 cup peanut butter and 1/3 cup brown sugar instead of the 2/3 cup brown sugar and add chocolate chips at the end)

For complete directions check out How Jen Does it.

TIP: I use a smaller baking dish to press the granola down firm

How I use them: These granola bars are used ALL THE TIME! A quick breakfast with yogurt, Snack, a side for lunch. I may have even used them for dinner one night when my little one was not feeling well!

How much do you save: This recipe Yields 18 bars all of the items except the rice cereal are pantry items meaning the total cost would be the box of rice cereal or around 2.50. 18 bars sell in the store for $4.50. So this is a $2.00 savings plus keep in mind you will get multiple uses from the cereal box!
(From ShopGirl)

8oz shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 tbs butter, softened
1 tsp salt
3 - 4 tbs ice water
For complete directions check out Shopgirl
How I use them: I bake these to use for one week in lunches. Since they are homemade they do not last as long as the store version.
How much do you save: Given all the items are pantry items you are saving the cost of a box of cheezits! That is around $3.00!!
 Vanilla Wafer
(From Baking Bites)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder

TIP: These are mini wafers split the dough in two and freeze the felt over
TIP: A little trick to filling a pastry bag

How I use them: These are perfect for a sweet treat in anyone's lunch box! This is the first time I made them but they are already a favorite in the house!
How much do you save: All the ingredients are pantry items! This is a complete savings!

1 Container of Heavy Whipping Cream
Pinch of salt if wanting salted butter

Pour whole container of heavy whipping cream into food processor. Turn on and let it go!
It took about 4 minutes for my processor to get a nice butter
Then use a cheese cloth or coffee fitters to drain the buttermilk into a different container.
Whats let is yummy homemade butter!
  TIP: use the buttermilk to make buttermilk biscuits!
How I use It: I use the homemade butter to actually butter bread and rolls, I also use it in cooking recipes
How much does it save:  The savings are not huge if you are using store brand whipping cream and real butter around .60 or 8oz. However, if you are using organic the savings are upward of $2.00!

Applesauce Muffins
(From Simple as That)
½ cup butter
½ cup sugar
2 eggs

¾ cups Applesauce
1 ¾ cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp Salt

Topping (I only use the topping when I am serving these fresh from the oven, not when I freeze for lunches or breakfast)
¼ cup butter, melted
½ cup sugar
¼ tsp cinnamon
For complete directions go to Simple at That!
How I use them: I freeze a batch of these muffins in 4's I defrost a pack and use two for breakfast one morning and reserve 2 for Chris's school lunch.
How much do you save: There are many ways to look at this. Would you normally buy breakfast or lunch? Than you are saving around $4.00-$8.00. Would you buy pre-made muffins to serve? Then you are saving round $2.00-$3.00! Even better again all of the ingredients are pantry items!
Egg "McMuffins"
 English Muffins
Canadian Bacon (or sausage patties/bacon)

Crack the eggs into a  greased muffin tin, add salt and pepper if desired
bake in the oven for 15 or 20 minutes
while the eggs are baking assemble the English muffins
 place eggs on the assembled English muffins let cool completely
wrap individual sandwich in foil and place in a freezer bag
To heat turn oven on to 350 heat for 15 minutes and enjoy!
How I use them: These sandwiches are actually not for my kids! These are for my and my husband. Mornings during school are hectic, and dropping off kids at school then running through the drive thru is OH SO SIMPLE! But so is popping these little guys in the oven while you pack lunches and our the door you go!
How much does it save: An Egg mcmuffin is around $3.00 for the sandwich at McDonalds. The cost to make 6 sandwiches is $7.14 or 1.19 for one. So on the sandwich you are savings around $2.00.


This was such a fun afternoon with my son. It also helps take some of the pressure off the first few weeks of back to school as well!

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