There is a common phrase that is popular when families begin to change their eating habits.  Maybe you have said it or heard it yourself.

Healthy food is expensive!

I have even uttered it myself, so please don’t think I am looking down on anyone who has ever said this.  Staying within a tight budget is indeed hard and takes planning.  I am not dismissing this fact one bit!

This post may not apply to you if you make everything from scratch and are already eating well, but here me out.  We’re going to be shifting our thinking today, which requires some examination.

What if it is not the healthy food that is busting your budget, but it is actually the junk food that you may still be buying?  When you are wanting your family to eat well, you have no room for healthy food plus your old junk food.  Juice boxes, snack cakes and bars, chips, crackers, yogurt tubes, and cereal add much stress on a food budget when you are prioritizing quality meat, produce, grains, dairy, and legumes.

Junk food is expensive!

Let’s just face it.  Food costs money.  We can either choose to spend it on our old ways of eating or our new ways, but trying to mix the two can really jack the cost of groceries up sky high.

Inexpensive swaps

So what is a family to do then when the kids are used to pop tarts, chocolate milk, yogurt tubes, and cereal?  I certainly don’t think we should starve our children, but slowly we can make swaps out of our former junk food for inexpensive homemade items that can be made with frugal pantry ingredients.  Here are a few of my ideas.

crackers? homemade crackers

microwave popcorn? stovetop popcorn

yogurt tubes? homemade yogurt sweetened with fruit and maple syrup or honey

chocolate syrup? homemade chocolate syrup made from pantry ingredients

cereal? oatmeal using bulk rolled oats

juice boxes/soda/koolaid?  water, kombucha

Lunchables? DIY lunchable

pop tarts and other sugary breakfast food? any of these inexpensive breakfast ideas

If you are not into making a lot of extra items from scratch, I would just focus on three solid healthy meals for your family and offering fruit, cheese, veggies, hard boiled eggs, or muffins made ahead of time as snacks.  Simple is best for your sanity.

Let’s kick the junk to the curb and give a little breathing room in that healthy food budget!