Kroger. It's my grocery store choice because it's 45 minutes closer to me than Trader Joes (the ultimate store for the label-reader health-conscience, budget minded shoppers).
It is a second best store for me due to their variety of natural and organic food, the distance in which I have to drive (15 minutes), and it's more affordable that Publix. (here in North Ga, these are the options). BUT! Kroger is still a bit on the pricey side. I use coupons on top of sales and typically save around 60% off of my total grocery bill when I use the sale and coupon method. But. Again. It's still expensive. ESPECIALLY when I have found that I need quick meals more often than not, and being the label nazi that I am, I have to buy the quick and much pricier organic/natural Quick Food (double the cost).
Breakfast with a 22 month old, 4 year old and a 6 year old can get quite messy. Cereal with milk is not what I would concider a quick and easy meal choice for the A.M. meal. I need something that the baby can feed herself, and an option to eat-on-the-go if need be. Breakfast in and of itself could cost us $12 per day if I were to purchase a quick on the go Clif Bar, Apple, and Organic Milk in juice box. Each item costing (with coupons!) $1/each. Nutritionally, we're getting a lot of protein and essential vitamins in the Clif Bar, plenty of fiber from the apple, and a good combination calcium/protein and vitamin D in the milk. But? Breakfast could cost $60/week. Who can afford that?!
So... here are my quick and easy, on the go if need be, finger food, young children in mind, super nutritional Breafast Food Options:
What You'll Need:
-Blender or Food Processor
-Cup w/ a Lid and a Straw (going to Moe's a few times for lunch or dinner can land you a perfect size, washable, lid and straw accepting, kid-sized cup collection if you're uncertain of where to begin your search)
-Orange Juice (not from concentrate is healthiest)
-Frozen Fruit (berries are high in antioxidants, pineapples are scrumptious, bananas are filling... mix it all up, or choose just one)
-Plain (full fat) Yogurt (Dannon is affordable in the 32 oz. containers)
Simply blend orange juice, yogurt and frozen fruit- the amount of each you use will completely depend on the number of smoothies you'd like to make and the consistency. Remember, your child needs to be able to use a standard straw to drink this.
Start out small- 1/2 cup of each untl find your perfect recipe.
(lactose intollerant can omit the yogurt, or use soy)
From this frozen treat, you and your child will be consuming the daily needs for fruit, a well balanced amount of protein and calcium, AND they'll believe they get to 'drink' ice cream for breakfast.
Estimated Cost? For our family, it cost maybe $2 per day
Freshly Frozen French Toast:
Pick a day. Any day.
What You'll Need:
Atleast an hour to premake all the French Toast in preparations for freezing
Break out the griddle, or just use a regular skillet.
WHOLE WHEAT (organic if you can) Bread
Gallon Freezer Bags
Whisk Eggs, Milk, Vanilla and Cinnamon.
Heat griddle/skillet, and place a small dab of (REAL) butter on the surface to prevent sticking.
Dip each piece of bread into the egg batter and cook well.
Set each cooked piece to the side to cool.
Once you've completed your desired amount of French Toast (ideally, enough for everyone to eat every day of the week) arrange the French Toast onto waxed paper. Place 2-4 slices of FT per sheet and begin layering. Place inside the Freezer Safe Bag, and freeze.
Each morning pull out frozen French Toast, place in the toaster, and serve with a fresh fruit. For on the go- no syrup is needed because the cinnamon, vanilla and real butter have created a pleasing taste.
The protein from the eggs, and grains from the bread provide a nutritionally balanced meal when served with fruit or juice
Pre-Bagged Cereal and Apples.
Not only is cereal great for a snack, it's also good for an 'in a really big hurry' meal when served with a fruit.
What You'll Need:
Apples, Grapes, Blueberries, Bananas or any other favorite fruit.
Snack Sized Bags
Lemons or Lemon Juice
Pre-Bag several snack sized baggies of an organic, low sugar cereal (Cascadian Farms has a yummy favorite called Clifford Crunch)
Cut up several apples and toss them in lemon juice to prevent them from turning brown.
Place apples (or other fruit choice) into a snack sized baggie as well.
Have pre-bagged apples and bagged cereal in a ready to grab out of the fridge location, and allow the children to eat their food in the car along with a sippy cup or water bottle.
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