1. Allocate a ‘treat’ time. Stick to a set time in the day or week when sweets and crisps come out, so that other mealtimes don’t get disrupted.
2. Encourage healthy eating habits by putting out a bowl of fruit that’s always available on the kitchen table for your children and their friends to snack from.
3. Keep the kids amused one day and make a few cheap snacks while you’re at it: make a batch of biscuits together; or for a great kids’ snack idea make mini ice lollies with fruit drink poured into ice cube trays (stand cocktail sticks in each hole – these will be the ‘lolly sticks’ when they’re frozen).
4. If you see an offer on kids’ yoghurts (the ones that are packed in tubes), buy an extra packet and put this in the freezer. They make great treat-sized snacks for the kids, especially on hot days in the garden.
5. Plan ahead for days out. It sounds obvious, but it’s easy to forget that eating out can cost a fortune. Avoid too many calls for ice creams and other treats by keeping a ready supply of kids’ snacks bought from home – a multi-pack of crisps or biscuits from the supermarket will cost a lot less than a visit to a café.
• A good way to keep control of your spending is to give the children a small allowance (50p or a £1 is more than enough) to spend on snacks.
• Each Monday morning in the holidays, visit the local shop and let the kids choose what they want to spend that allowance on.
• Give younger children a bag or an old shoebox to decorate as their own ‘treasure chest’ to store their treats in.
• Now they have their own snacks to eat when they want, but it’s up to them to spread out the treats if they want them to last all week!
Pass it on – keep school holiday costs down
Feeding everyone for every meal seven days a week can make school holidays an expensive hassle. Check out our useful advice – School holiday meal planner.