Spring and summer in the North means that life can finally take place outside. Whether it is picnics, trips to the park, beach visits, or days spent watching outdoor sporting events, food is almost always involved.
If you are headed somewhere that food is offered, it often comes with a hefty price tag. If you are feeding a family that is the size of mine, this could be expensive. Very expensive. This means that I have had to come up with ways to make these adventures a bit more frugal without having to sacrifice the fun of these snacky type food and drinks.
Tonight, we are headed to the ballpark over the dinner hour so we are taking our dinner with us. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but if you are looking to save a bit of money, here are some ideas to get you started on making a fun meal on your own. This is what we will be having:
- Hot dogs: Hot dogs can be very portable as long as the condiments are not involved until they are ready to be eaten. Cook them ahead of time, put them in the buns, and then wrap them in foil. Just grab the ketchup, mustard, pickles, and onions in the way out to assemble later.
- Popcorn: Popcorn is always a special treat around my place. I have an air popper, which I love, but you can also make it in a pan. My air popper happens to be one that used to be my grandparents so I’m sure they look a bit prettier these days than mine does. We simply pop our popcorn and use coconut oil in the place of butter to keep it a bit more healthy. Actually, we prefer the taste of the coconut oil over the taste of the butter, too. Add a sprinkle of salt…Yum!
- Grapes: Let’s not go crazy with all the snack foods—there’s got to be something healthy in there, right?
- Jumbo brownies: Brownies are always a well-loved treat, but making them jumbo sized can make them just a bit more fun and out of the ordinary. Again, the idea is to give our kids the fun experience that these outdoor activities can provide without the high price tag. Finding a way to make the ordinary things (like brownies) more fun by making them jumbo sized is a great way to make your kids feel like they are getting something special.
- Juice boxes/drink pouches. We only have these when we need a portable drink, so these are always fun for the kids. Just make sure that everyone has a straw 🙂
In order to live within our means and feed a super-sized crew, I have had to come up with some ways to bring dinner or lunch along with us. Of course trying to keep my kids excited about having to take our dinner places rather than buying it means I have to put a bit more effort into it that just grabbing a loaf of bread and some chips to throw at them.