Save Money on Snacks While Helping the Earth

© 2014 Christy King
© 2014 Christy King

It’s easy to save money on snacks while also improving your health and helping the environment. How’s that for a win-win proposition?

1. Eat more fruits, vegetables and nuts. Try to grow some of your own and shop for the rest at your local farmers’ market.

2. Don’t buy single-serving sized items. They have a lot of extra packaging neither you nor the environment need. Just buy the bigger container and divide it up. This applies to chips, crackers, cookies, applesauce, and yogurt.

3. Try eating non-snack foods for snacks. A piece of toast with peanut butter is a healthy tasty snack, as is a corn tortilla wrapped up with salsa and/or cheese inside.

4. Do the chopping yourself. It doesn’t take long to make a Lunchables-type snack by slicing up some cheese and adding crackers from a box. It’s a fraction of the cost and you save a ton of packaging.

5. Shop in the bulk section. Our local Winco has a good selection of nuts, dried fruits and granola. Try to remember to bring your own container to save any more packaging.

6. If you’re a popcorn lover, buy an air popper. It will pay for itself pretty quickly compared to the cost of microwave popcorn. Alternatively, make your own microwave packets. At least you can compost the brown paper bag.

7. Rice Krispie bars are a breeze to make. It’s easy to make treats like Rice Krispie bars even if you’re not known for your cooking expertise. No reason to buy the individually wrapped versions at the store. For a splurge, try the brown-butter version.

8. Use sweetened cereal. If you don’t normally let your kids have things like Froot Loops for breakfast (and hopefully you don’t), they’ll consider them a special treat.

9. Make your own pita chips. Buy a bag from the bakery department, cut them into slices and peel apart the two sides. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit, flipping once, until they’re crunchy. Plain is fine if you’re using them for hummus or another dip. Otherwise, spice them up.

10. Energy bars are easy to make at home, too. Try these “granola” bars and these Larabar style treats.

11. Cheap low-packaging healthy dog treats. Buy a different flavor of dry dog food than you normally buy. Every dog I’ve had is convinced those kibbles are special treats. You’re not only saving a bunch of money, but avoiding those chemical-laden treats that come in unnatural colors.

How do you save money on snacks? Do you have tips for more sustainably snacking? Please share in the comments below.