agree nix the juice. My kids didnt get any juice until they started preschool, then they get juice there. They get diluted juice occasionally at home as a treat and I will sometimes put a splash of juice in my water. (1/4 cup in a pint glass)
If you must buy it, juice is something to only buy on sale - it can vary so much in price. Apple juice can run from 0.99 to 3.00 for a 1/2 gallon. Frozen is usually cheaper and then you can make it and dilute it ahead of time and the kids will never know. If you are looking for lunch box size juice items buy a refillable container. (Edit: I don't support giving the kids crystal lite or other sugar free stuff - kids dont need artificial sweeteners )
Fresh fruits and veggies rarely have coupons, but if you coupon the other items and stick to the special. Frozen is not a bad way to go for veggies and occasionally you can get coupons, although store brands without coupons are often cheaper. Never use a coupon for anything you cant use or for name brands that are still more expensive than store.
Bread products freeze well so when bread is on special stock up. We have one brand of bread we love that is ~ $4/loaf, but every once in a while the store will have it for $1.50 a loaf and I buy 4 loaves and freeze
One thing to remember is although processed crappy foods seem cheaper, you can sometimes make stuff cheaper if you do a little prep.
Canned chicken noodle soup seems like one of the cheapest foods out there. But take my frozen broth from my whole chicken I bought (free!) and remember that canned soup hardly has any chicken in it so yours doesnt need much to beat it (good place to dice up a little of the dark meat, you use so little it wont be noticed) an on sale bag of frozen veggies - any kind, but the peas/carrots always work and some chopped up whole wheat pasta or cooked brown rice. The equivalent of 8-10 cans of soup for about $1.50 - freeze in individual portions for fast lunches
Many of the diets will lead you to think the dark meat of the chicken is SO bad, but it is still better than processed foods and a whole chicken is so much cheaper than chicken breasts. Use the white meat for a dish that is primarily meat, use the dark meat for stir frys and to stretch beans in a burrito - just enough for flavor.
Learn how to cook dried beans. You can make lowfat refried beans in a crock pot.
Bake your own bread, pizza crusts etc. I know it is tough to start if you have never done it but you can make basic whole wheat bread for cheaper than you can buy it and with fewer preservatives.
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Last edited by ennay; 12-20-2009 at 07:36 PM.