Feed 5 for $500: Breakfast Menus & Grocery Savings (part 3)

Strawberry Margarita Muffins

If you are giving your kids (or yourself!) cereal for breakfast, you are probably spending more on your monthly grocery bill than you should.  I've always enjoyed the fact that my kids can make their own bowl of cereal in the morning.  But they usually have 2-3 bowls per morning!  This meant I had to buy at least 2-3 boxes of cereal per week, plus we consumed at least 2-3 gallons of milk each week.  So as much as I hated the idea of cooking breakfast each morning, I decided to try it as a way to save money.

  • Make your own baked goods: granola bars, muffins, pancakes, etc. The more you make yourself, the more money you save and the healthier the food is. By eliminating preservatives from your diet, you will see your overall health improve greatly! Be sure to use organic ingredients as much as possible. Even though they cost more, you're still saving money by making your own.  Adding ground flax seeds and almond meal help to make them healthier and more filling. I freeze these in ziplocs.  They stay fresh and can easily be reheated.
  • Buy from the bulk section. If you have a recipe that calls for 1 tsp or 1 T of something you can find in the bulk section, it can save you a lot of money rather than buying an entire container of the item.  Also, I've found a great savings on buying organic cocoa powder, oats, and several other items by buying from the bulk section of my local health food store.
  • Buy from local farmers. I buy most of my yogurt, milk, cream, and eggs (and sometimes beef and chicken) from a local Amish farmer, which we pick up weekly. This costs us approximately $200/month.  Even though purchasing through him is a little more expensive than buying "regular" dairy and meat at the store (especially when I used to shop the sales....), we are consuming much higher quality food that is very filling!

  • Oatmeal (organic steel cut oats are the best).  Throw in some milk or cream and some fruit or cinnamon and apple butter for a yummy warm breakfast.
  • Smoothies.  I use yogurt or kefir as a base along with frozen fruit.  Sometimes I add a little honey for sweetness.  That's it! Other add-ins: almond meal, almond milk, coconut milk, flax seed, various nuts, wheat germ, etc.  This is a very filling, healthy breakfast for you and your family.  The first time I gave my kids a smoothie for breakfast, they said, "Why are we having ice cream for breakfast?" 
  • Eggs.  Buying eggs from "happy chickens" locally actually taste better and are better for you!  We get a dozen eggs for $3.50 which is approx the same cost as organic in the store.  Ours are organic and we know for sure the chickens only eat grass and bugs.  We hope to start a chicken coop in the spring and start getting our own eggs.  (In addition to scrambled, poached and hard boiled, I like to make breakfast burritos -- just scramble and serve in a tortilla.  My kids love them.)
  • Toast.  I buy Nature's Own bread from the Dollar Tree and keep it in the freezer.  It's another easy and quick breakfast with little prep.  We keep natural peanut butter and apple butter on hand for topping.
  • Granola bars.  I love to make these for easy and quick breakfasts on-the-go.  (See my post for the recipe.)
  • Muffins.  Make a double or triple batch and freeze them!  Make mini ones for quick snacks on the go.  (Here's a recipe for Morning Glory Muffins & my Strawberry Margarita Muffin recipe.)
  • Yogurt.  I'm working on a recipe to start making my own yogurt, but for now, I purchase the large containers of plain yogurt.  I also make my own kefir.  Both yogurt and kefir make a great base for smoothies.  My kids love to add natural apple butter (I buy from a local farm) to their yogurt.  Because we use plain yogurt, this adds enough flavor and sweetness while keeping our cost down.
  • Fresh fruit.  Buy from your local farmers' markets or pick your own locally.  You can always freeze it and set in fridge overnight to thaw for the morning, or throw them in frozen to your smoothies.

    Up next in this series:  Monthly lunch menus and homemade snacks!