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10 Lunchbox-Friendly Snacks That Won’t Break Your Food Budget

10 Lunchbox-Friendly Snacks That Won’t Break Your Food Budget
Justin Stewart Dec 10, 2019
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When it comes to eating healthy throughout the day and making sure that your snacks meet the requirement of filling, nutritious, and budget friendly, there are tons of options that you can incorporate for yourself and your whole family.

It might seem next to impossible to get your kids to eat the healthy snacks you put in their lunchbox, but you don’t have to worry about convincing them to get with the nutritional program you’ve created for them, or yourself, because there are plenty of snacks that fill the need of being absolutely delicious and good for the body.

There are countless snacks that you can purchase from a store that are pre-packaged, but a lot of these foods are processed and contain ingredients that are added as preservatives or have heavy amounts of food coloring, which your body doesn’t need and they aren’t very healthy.

If you’re interested in finding budget-friendly foods that are good for your body, there are ways to go about it without compromising taste, and making a lot of the possible options at home is easy which will allow you to share the budget friendly snacks among members of your family.

If you’re looking for some delicious and healthy snacks that are budget-friendly, take a look at this compiled list of excellent options that you can incorporate into your or your kids lunchboxes every day!

10 Budget Snacks for Your Every Day Lunch

There are tons of snacks available that you can purchase at your local grocery store that are ready to be dropped into a lunch box, but some of these snacks are expensive or have high amounts of processed sugar and ingredients that you wouldn’t wish to feed your family.

If you’re wondering where to start with developing new snack ideas for your family, here is a look at some healthy, budget-friendly options that don’t compromise quality or taste for a lower price tag.

1. Fresh Fruit

It may come as no surprise that the first item on the list is fresh fruit, but this is a genuinely excellent option for budget friendly snacks that are tasty and inexpensive.

Any member of your family can enjoy a fresh fruit snack in the middle of their day, and there’s no reason to shy away from fresh fruit because it is both nutritious and delicious!

There are all kinds of options you can incorporate into your lunch box and not a single one of them is going to cost you more than a few cents to a little over a dollar a piece.

If you’re interested in adding fruit to yours or your children’s lunchbox, then you can start with the classics.

Apples are delicious options that cost cents on the dollar to purchase.

They have enough sugar in them to be considered sweet, and these sugars are natural and healthy!

Adults and children alike are fans of apples, so you’ll be able to buy a bunch and disperse them amongst your family members for a healthy snack across the board.

There are tons of health benefits associated with apples, and they are high in fiber which is great for the body.

Another option is bananas, which are excellent choices for growing bodies and adult bodies alike.

Being high in potassium, they’re a great snack for kids who are active in sports at their school or after school programs, and they are equally as beneficial to the adult body.

Bananas are packed with healthy fiber, natural sugars and tons of belly-flattening nutrients that will keep yours and your kids bodies fit and healthy.

Bananas are probably one of the cheapest options you can incorporate into your rotating snack supply, and you’re bound to find that you and your kids look forward to enjoying them.

Other types of fruit that you can incorporate into your snack options are melons like honeydew, cantaloupe, or watermelon.

You can easily dice up these melons and store them in a plastic container that can be carried around through the day.

They don’t have to remain refrigerated, so it’s easy to put in a kids lunchbox and not worry about the fruit spoiling before lunch time.

You can also consider stone fruit like plums, nectarines, peaches and many others that are delicious and great foods for the body.

Grapes are another great option, and these can be stored in your freezer to lengthen their shelf life.

This also helps to keep them really cold when you pack them, so by the time you get around to eating them they are still cold and delightful.

There are plenty of different options when it comes to fruits for a snack as well as different ways to store and pack them.

If you want to get real crazy, you can store a mixture of fresh fruit in a travel-safe container and throw an icepack in your lunchbox to keep them cold and fresh.

Making a little fruit medley to enjoy can give you or your kids something to look forward to during your day.

Add some strawberries, pineapples or raspberries to the mix to keep it lively and fun!

There are countless options, and they’re all budget-friendly and great foods for the body.

2. Whole Grain Crackers with Peanut Butter

If you’re looking for a cheap snack that travels well and you or your kids will enjoy, a simple afternoon snack of peanut butter and whole grain crackers can go a long way.

Whole grain crackers are known to be excellent sources of fiber, which helps quench a strong appetite in the middle of the day.

Peanut butter is great to include in your snack because it is high in protein and healthy fats which will give you an energy boost and help turn snack time into a low-key meal time.

This is a very savory snack, one that keeps your lips smacking but doesn’t have the same feeling as a sweet one.

To add a little something extra to this snack and up the ante with a bit of sweetness, you can incorporate fruits or honey into this snack to help keep your kids interested or your tastebuds tingling.

You can also make little peanut butter and jelly cracker sandwiches by packing some preservatives alongside the peanut butter, giving yourself the option of enjoying a rendition of the age-old peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

This can help make lunch time a little bit fun, and the snack itself will be a delicious option that is both healthy and sweet enough to keep you going back to this option every week.

Alternative spreads if you have a peanut allergy in the family are almond butter, nutella, or different seed butters.

There are chia seed butters, sunflower seed butters, and many more.

These jars might cost slightly more, but to avoid an allergic reaction or to keep a different mix of options available, these options are great and healthy choices for your family as well.

3. A Healthy Serving of Nuts

Another great healthy snack that leans into the savory side of things are nuts.

There are all kinds of nuts available for you to enjoy, and after enjoying them during snack time, you’ll be going nuts for nuts!

If you’re interested in incorporating nuts into your snack time, there are a few options you can try.

If you have a nut allergy in your family, of course this may not be ideal, but if you don’t have to worry about that being an issue, then you can choose from the vast amount of nut options out there to get a healthy snack in during your week.

Peanuts are great options for the whole family and can be easily bought at your local grocery store.

They’re a good source of fats, protein and fiber, making them a healthy snack any day of the week.

If you’re tired of the same old song and dane when it comes to peanuts, you can try to incorporate different nuts like almonds, pistachios, walnuts or macadamia nuts instead.

These are all incredibly healthy options that can take the place of a snack high in sugar or ingredients that are processed.

If you like to add a little sweetness to the mix, you can always make your own trail mix and have that be your snack for the day!

The beauty of trail mix is that you can build up a mixture of your favorite nuts to keep things interesting and then throw some chocolate chips or candied chocolate into the recipe and add a dose of sweetness.

If you want to steer clear of chocolate or other kinds of morsels like caramel or white chocolate, you can sweeten up your homemade trail mix with dried fruit.

Adding raisins, banana chips, dried cranberries, dried peaches, dried mango, or any other kind of dried fruit you have on hand can make a homemade trail mix a little more diverse and interesting.

This is also a great way to get your kids to actually eat their snack at lunch time.

Knowing how hard it can be to get kids to eat things they aren’t drawn to can lead you to finding ways to encourage them to try out savory snacks.

Adding dried fruit or some bits of chocolate can help, unless of course they only pick out the sweet stuff!

After they give your homemade trail mix a try though, they’re bound to love it and ask for more!

If you want to add another diverse element to your trail mix, consider adding different kinds of seeds.

Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds or hemp seeds are all great additions to a trail mix that are healthy, relatively cheap, and delicious!

4. Greek Yogurt

When it comes to keeping a delicious snack on hand, greek yogurt is a great healthy option!

Finding coupons for large tubs of greek yogurt is a great idea, especially if you desire to buy multiple tubs at once because they last for a very long time.

You can easily spruce up the greek yogurt you have at home and make it into a cheap but fancy snack by incorporating different fresh fruit and honey to create a quick and healthy snack.

Greek yogurt must stay cold though, as it is a dairy product, but this can be easily done by throwing an icepack into yours or your kids lunchboxes.

Another great way to make greek yogurt an exciting snack is to turn it into a parfait.

You can easily do this by adding a bit of granola that you can make at home for really cheap.

To keep the ingredients from turning into a soggy mess, keep them in separate containers and build them together right before you eat it.

Simply place a healthy amount of yogurt in the bottom of a cup, add the granola on top of that, followed by some fruit, and then drizzle some honey over top to create a snack that will leave you sighing with delight as you enjoy it.

Greek yogurt is one of the most popular kinds of yogurt, and on its own its great for those who are lactose and gluten intolerant.

If you or other members of your family have dietary restrictions that do not allow gluten or lactose, this is a great snack to help fill you up and avoid any adverse reactions.

Just remember to keep the yogurt chilled as it has live cultures in it and can spoil easily if prepared early in the morning and left away from cold temperatures until lunch time.

5. Homemade Energy Bars

If you want a healthy snack that you can easily make at home and that packs a punch of energy boosting nutrition, then you can make some energy bars right at home!

Energy bars are a good on-the-go snack, and they don’t cost much pre-made, but you can save a ton of money throughout the year if you make your own from scratch.

If saving money is your greatest concern when it comes to developing a healthy snack, you can make this snack easily and save yourself a few dollars avoiding the cost of Kind Bars or other kinds of energy bars.

To make your own energy bars, start with 2 cups rolled oats and 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut.

Add one-half cup each of dates, raisins, cranberries, or other dried fruits, chocolate chips, seeds, and nuts of your choosing to the mix.

Stir in 1.5 cups of peanut or almond butter, 1 cup of honey, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla to bring the consistency of the mix to a point where you can easily shape them into energy bars.

The peanut butter will act like a glue, and add to the protein and fiber aspect of your energy bars.

Shape the mixture into bars that are about 1 inch thick.

You can have some fun here and spread the mixture onto a baking sheet and use a cookie cutter to create different shapes that your kids will love.

These energy bars will be on the “wetter” side due to the ingredients, so if you desire something thats a little drier and can be stored in a ziplock bag without breaking apart or causing a mess, bake your energy bars for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees for a drier texture.

These energy bars will be packed with a bunch of nutritious foods, they will have tons of protein and fiber, and they can be easily transported and consumed at any point during the day!

6. Hummus and Fresh Veggies

When it comes to healthy snacks, hummus is by far one of the best options.

This savory snack is great for adults and kids alike, and its relatively easy to make at home.

Getting your kids to eat their veggies might be tough, but if you through this classic mediterranean dip into the mix, they’re likely to enjoy this snack and have fun eating it too!

Hummus is made from chickpeas which is a vegetable itself, but your kids don’t have to know.

Chickpeas are high in folic acid, protein and fiber.

You can easily puree them at home to make a healthy homemade hummus, or you can purchase hummus in bulk at your local grocery store.

To make your own hummus, you’ll need chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini, garlic, and olive oil.

It’s cheaper to make it yourself, but if time is a problem, you can easily portion out hummus bought from a store into portable containers and throw some fresh cut veggies in a ziplock alongside them.

Veggies that you can include for dipping into your hummus are baby carrots, broccoli, celery, or bell peppers, and you can serve them raw!

These veggies are all healthy on their own, but adding some hummus to the mix will amplify the healthy benefits of this delicious snack.

Hummus lasts for a long time thanks to the preservative quality of the lemon juice in the mixture, so you won’t have to worry about getting through a homemade or store bought batch within a week.

Try out some hummus as a snack and you’ll be surprised at how much energy it gives you and how gentle on your body it will be while doing a great job of filling you up!

7. Homemade Popcorn

One all-time favorite snack for kids and adults alike is popcorn.

Popcorn has the nostalgic memory of going to the movies tied to it, and it’s a delicious snack for movie-lovers and snack lovers alike!

This is a cheap, easy to make snack that travels well and makes every tummy happy.

Considering that it’s a relatively simple snack, there are ways to spruce it up and keep the experience exciting.

Popcorn is surprisingly healthy for you, and the cost is even better.

You can get a pound of un-popped popcorn kernels for around $2 or less.

That’s a pretty good deal!

Whole-grain popcorn is packed with fiber and antioxidants, plus its very filling.

If you’re accustomed to microwave popcorn, you can make your own version of it at home and save money on store bought versions of this snack.

Take a paper bag and pour about a 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels, then roll the bag shut and stick it in your microwave until you hear the kernels slow down between pops.

You can also make it on your stovetop easily by using a covered pan, some butter or olive oil and a 1/4 cup of popcorn!

You can easily watch this process so you’ll know when the popcorn is done and avoid burning it.

Once your popcorn is popped, you can customize it so make it taste either savory or sweet.

The simplest way to make your popcorn’s flavor stand out is to drizzle it with olive oil and a healthy dash of sea salt.

If you like it a little bit spicy, add some cayenne pepper on top.

A great sweet and salty popcorn snack can be done by adding chocolate chips to your salt and oil popcorn.

Sweetness can also come in the form of a favorite breakfast condiment, maple syrup.

Different seasonings can make this snack exciting, and you can easily portion out your snack into ziplock baggies and take them wherever you go!

8. Cheese, Cheese, Cheese

If you are a cheese lover like many of us out there, then one go to snack that can be really delicious and healthy is, well, cheese!

An alternative dairy option to greek yogurt, cottage cheese is a great healthy snack that is high in protein and light in calories.

Cottage cheese has the nine essential amino acids that every body needs to function properly, and it’s a cheap and easy snack!

You can add black pepper for a strong savory snack, or honey to sweeten it up and bring a smile to your face.

Another great healthy and cheap option is string cheese.

This is a fun one because you can enjoy this food by pulling it apart and eating it like you did when you were young.

Kids and adults alike like this snack, and it’s a very cost-friendly option during lunch.

If you want another easy-to-pack lunch that is budget-friendly and delicious, try bagging up some whole wheat crackers and cubed cheddar or pepper-jack cheese for your lunch.

This protein packed snack will fill you up and keep you satiated until dinner time, and it’s easy to travel with as long as you store it in at a decent room temperature.

9. Oatmeal

One great way to fill up on the cheap during lunch is to enjoy a delicious bowl of oatmeal.

This dish is packed with fiber and protein and has a very low calorie count.

This is a great option for kids and adults alike because there are instant oats that you can buy in bulk for very cheap and it’s delicious!

This is a great lunch any day of the week and you can easily customize it to make it a delectable afternoon snack.

You can add fresh berries, honey, maple syrup, cinnamon, or chocolate morsels to your oatmeal to liven it up and make it an exciting meal.

Being that its easy to make, you won’t have to worry about carrying around wet oatmeal during the day that may get too mushy as it sits in wait for you to consume it.

You’ll be able to take a brief moment to make it and then can enjoy the benefits of feeling full until dinner comes along.

10. Homemade Muffins

If you like to bake and find joy in creating savory options for you and your family, a homemade muffin can be great for lunch time.

This option gives you a lot of room to be creative because muffins come in so many different ways, making it easy to develop the perfect muffin recipe for yourself and your kids to enjoy.

Banana nut muffins, flax and chia seed muffins, corn muffins, oat bran muffins, you name it!

There are tons of recipes available online, and you can definitely make batches big enough to last you the week.

The best part is that savory muffins don’t always need sugar, which makes them even healthier and waist-line friendly.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to finding cheap and easy snacks to incorporate into your day, there are plenty of options available!

Some of these options are great on their own, or you can add them in as a side dish to a larger lunch, keeping the cost of your daily meals low and keeping an eye on your figure.

Kids and adults can enjoy any of these snacks, but be weary of dietary restrictions as you might find lactose, gluten, and nuts in some of the ingredients for your food.

There are plenty of alternatives that make this a problem that is easy to avoid, and once you try your hand at some of these cheap yet filling options, you’ll be hooked!

Justin Stewart

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