Just clarifying is all. We have a small family but the cost of food has been going up for us too. I can fill a buggy, have NO meat in my buggy and it easily cost $100! We do not buy a lot of prepared items like frozen lasagna, etc. or boxed stuff. We do like a boxed mac and cheese but I am going to try a scratch recipe when I use up what I have.
On a weekly basis we are buying the following for smoothies:
1 jug fusion v8
several bags of different frozen fruit
a couple of quarts of yogurt
a bag of almonds
fresh local honey
These ingredients add considerably (to me) to our grocery bill. However, we are making smoothies every morning and it usually makes enough for breakfast and lunch. Dh does his and I do mine. I like the idea of getting “real” food that is not over processed. I don’t know what your kids are eating but maybe some thing like this will help them feel more filled up. You could add a protein powder to help them get that filled feeling for longer.
Our grocery store will have 10 for $10 on some items. You don’t have to buy 10 to get the deal. Recently I bought up a bunch of pasta because we have gotten on a spaghetti kick. I also bought several packs of the small shell pasta for a chicken dish I like. It will also work with homemade mac and cheese. Look for these type offers for things you already eat.
I am only buying meat when it goes on sale. It is too expensive not to do it that way. I have been holding off on getting some ground beef the last few weeks because of this. Besides we have plenty of chicken, some pork chops, and a couple of roasts in the freezer, besides a box of Omaha Steak products a salesman sent us around Christmas.
You might try offering stuff that is filling but cheap for meals … rice and gravy, mashed potatoes and gravy using fresh potatoes not flakes, etc. Rice is used a LOT in south Louisiana and it can be used with so many things as a side. You can cook a lot of it for almost nothing. Cooking basic but flavorful foods from scratch is usually the lease expensive way to go. Try to have leftovers for them to eat on when they get in from school. Hard, I know, with boys to have leftovers for the next day.
Try to avoid expensive snacks like chips and dip, soft drinks, prepackaged cookies, etc. Cookies and cakes are okay but try to make them yourself so they are less expensive. When you bake them you know what is going into them and can try to make them healthier.
I heard the other day that we prepare healthy snacks at the beginning of the week to have on hand that we are more likely to make a healthier choice. They gave examples of cutting up fresh veggies, boiling a dozen eggs at once, etc. to keep in the fridge to grab when hungry and/or in a hurry. How about peanut butter on celery, or crackers or pbj sandwiches?
Hey, I said my family is small and I am stretching to come up with something! LOL Hope that helps.