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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>Most Cost Efficient Meals/Snacks...Yucky Medical Bill :(
SunflowerMama 08:46 AM 03-07-2011
Ok long story short I just got off the phone with the insurance company and have an ER visit bill for over $3,000 (why do I have insurance again). So I'm thinking of ways to cut back on costs a bit for the next few months while I take care of this bill.

Currently I'm spending about $150-$200 week for 6 dcks and my 2 kids and husband. I know I can do better than this.

What are your most cost effective and as healthy as possible meals/snacks for the dcks. I do crock pot a little but not as much as I could.

Any cost cutting suggestions??
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jessrlee 08:57 AM 03-07-2011
I have a ton of suggestions for you! Would you be willing to pm me your #? I can give you a ring during naptime.
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lil angels 09:02 AM 03-07-2011
I need some ideas to!!!
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tenderhearts 09:29 AM 03-07-2011
Do you like to clip coupons? You can go to several places online and clip coupons printing them right on your computer, a great place that helps you with all the "deals" is krazycouponlady.com, she teaches you how and she writes out the deals and how to do each one.
This is just one way, there's a lot more. I feed 6 daycare kids plus my family of 4 on $80 - $100 per week, with some times going to $125 but that's maybe once a month - month and a half. I'm sure others on here will have some great ideas too.
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SunflowerMama 09:45 AM 03-07-2011
Originally Posted by tenderhearts:
Do you like to clip coupons? You can go to several places online and clip coupons printing them right on your computer, a great place that helps you with all the "deals" is krazycouponlady.com, she teaches you how and she writes out the deals and how to do each one.
This is just one way, there's a lot more. I feed 6 daycare kids plus my family of 4 on $80 - $100 per week, with some times going to $125 but that's maybe once a month - month and a half. I'm sure others on here will have some great ideas too.
What kind of meals/snack do you typically serve the daycare kids to keep it b/w $80 - $100/wk?
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nannyde 09:48 AM 03-07-2011
Sun do you make home made bread?
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marniewon 09:59 AM 03-07-2011
1. Coupons are great, especially when combined with a store sale.

2. Cook/bake from scratch. Always cheaper.

3. Think outside the box. Want roasted red peppers for your homemade pizza? Or croutons for your salad? Instead of buying pre-packaged, make them yourself. (croutons and bread crumbs are super easy and cheap using heels of bread or stale bread).

4. Go to www.hillbillyhousewife.com for all sorts of money saving tips. They also have a whole week's worth of meals for $45 and $70. Recipes, tips, etc.

5. When you go to the grocery store, always check the "manager's specials" on meat, bread, produce. As long as you use/freeze them right away, they are still good.

Last month, out of necessity, I fed my family of four (myself, dh and 2 teen boys) and 3 full time dc kids for around $200 for the month. All of dc meals/snacks were healthy, and most of my family's were healthy.
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nannyde 10:06 AM 03-07-2011
Originally Posted by marniewon:
1. Coupons are great, especially when combined with a store sale.

2. Cook/bake from scratch. Always cheaper.

3. Think outside the box. Want roasted red peppers for your homemade pizza? Or croutons for your salad? Instead of buying pre-packaged, make them yourself. (croutons and bread crumbs are super easy and cheap using heels of bread or stale bread).

4. Go to www.hillbillyhousewife.com .
I learned a lot about cooking from hillbillyhousewife. Simple recipes kids really love.
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tenderhearts 10:35 AM 03-07-2011
Mains

grilled cheese

Cheese quesadilla (when we have tacos for dinner that way I'm not wasting
refried beans)
corn dog bites-
I cut a turkey dog into 3 pieces cut croissanst in half and roll them so a package of croissants ( .99 for off brand) makes 16 mini corndog bites.

I do the same with pizza except I don't cut them in half, little tom. sauce, sprinkle cheese and roll.
Or
Pizza sub same but on a hoagie roll

Spaghetti, I make enough to have left overs the next day for lunch.

Tuna casserole(same make enough for dinner so there is left overs the next day)
Box mac & cheese(I only use half of the cheese stuff in the box)
crm mush. soup
peas/carrots
tuna
top with a little shredded cheese
pour a little milk so it's not too dry


theres more some ideas
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My Daycare 10:54 AM 03-07-2011
With the coupon thing that others mentioned you can pick and choose. If you don't want to do coupon deals on processed food, then don't do the deal. You can save a load of money on cleaning, laundry, hygenic supplies, and kitchen supplies like ziploc bags and tin foil, which can really add up.

I don't buy certain foods with coupons or when there are deals. Although, I do when the deal is on stuff like ketsup, mustard, ect...

You can also make your own cleaning supplies, but I think I read somewhere that you already do.
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cillybean83 10:56 AM 03-07-2011
I have a zillion recipes, pm me if you'd like them!
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SunflowerMama 11:12 AM 03-07-2011
Originally Posted by nannyde:
Sun do you make home made bread?
I do homemade bread and that helps a bit but snacks get me because I always serve some sort of grain/protein with fruit and these kids are bottomless when it comes to fruit. Also my organic milk is from a local farm so that is close to $25 - $30 a week just in milk. I've done homemade granola bars and they usually go for those unless I make them uber healthy .

I'm definitely going to check out hillbillyhousewive.com and I also need to learn how to make homemade tortillas. We do so much with tortillas during the week for lunch and snacks so if I could make those from scratch the could save me a bit too.
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jessrlee 11:43 AM 03-07-2011
It sounds like you need to limit portions. It isn't "starving" a child to have one correct potion. It will help them in the long run know what correct portion sizes are. Look at your budget: do you know what you need to spend per child per snack? I spend .25-.40. So if I want to serve an expensive fruit or veggie I will serve it with saltines or a super cheap grain. Give lots of water. You eat a lot more if you are not hydrated. You can make a batch of plain muffins for about nothing, pair it with whatever .99lb fruit your grocery offers that week.

Also- put the word out. I always make it clear that I'm not too proud. If you have extra fruit or veggies you think might go to waste bring em on over! I get gobs of apples in fall, bumper squash crops, tomatoes when mom gets tired of canning, and once 50lbs of spaghetti from a family that aparently hates pasta (they would get it in their Angel boxes) Lol!
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SunflowerMama 12:02 PM 03-07-2011
Originally Posted by jessrlee:
It sounds like you need to limit portions. It isn't "starving" a child to have one correct potion. It will help them in the long run know what correct portion sizes are. Look at your budget: do you know what you need to spend per child per snack? I spend .25-.40. So if I want to serve an expensive fruit or veggie I will serve it with saltines or a super cheap grain. Give lots of water. You eat a lot more if you are not hydrated. You can make a batch of plain muffins for about nothing, pair it with whatever .99lb fruit your grocery offers that week.
I'm sure I do give 2nds and 3rds of foods way too often. I'm a sucker about that. I never give 2nds of fruit until they have at least made a dent in their veggies and main dish but I'll dish veggies and other sides out until they are completely gone.

For lunch today they went through a whole large tub of organic yogurt and a large bag of frozen organic corn and that was in addition to a large cantaloupe and whole wheat pasta with ground turkey veggie sauce. They are just all big, big eaters.

They have water bottles available to them all day so I know they are drinking some H2O but could probably drink more. I think I'm just going to start making more and more heavy/whole wheat muffins/breads/tortillas to pair with other things to keep those little bellies full!
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tenderhearts 12:27 PM 03-07-2011
What are the ages of your daycare kids? Yours definetley seem eat way more than mine. A large tub of yogurt here lasts at least 2 weeks, and I do give seconds.
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Blackcat31 02:13 PM 03-07-2011
Originally Posted by SunflowerMama:
I'm sure I do give 2nds and 3rds of foods way too often. I'm a sucker about that. I never give 2nds of fruit until they have at least made a dent in their veggies and main dish but I'll dish veggies and other sides out until they are completely gone.

For lunch today they went through a whole large tub of organic yogurt and a large bag of frozen organic corn and that was in addition to a large cantaloupe and whole wheat pasta with ground turkey veggie sauce. They are just all big, big eaters.They have water bottles available to them all day so I know they are drinking some H2O but could probably drink more. I think I'm just going to start making more and more heavy/whole wheat muffins/breads/tortillas to pair with other things to keep those little bellies full!
Wholly cow....that is alot of food! I make the correct amount of portions needed and if anyone is still hungry they can have a slice of ww bread with pnb or butter. We do a good hearty breakfast and a P.M. snack so I know that no one is starving, but if I allowed them to eat however much they wanted, they would all have 2nds and 3rds.

Personally, I just don't think 2nds and 3rd are necessary. If I have some food left over, I gladly let who ever asks have them, but I do NOT cook anything with the intention of having enough for 2nds or 3rds. School lunches don't give out seconds and the kids don't get anything until snack after school so I don't feel like I am doing anything out of the ordinary.

I think you would save a ton if you cut portions down to only what is required
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Pammie 05:04 PM 03-07-2011
Originally Posted by SunflowerMama:
I'm sure I do give 2nds and 3rds of foods way too often. I'm a sucker about that. I never give 2nds of fruit until they have at least made a dent in their veggies and main dish but I'll dish veggies and other sides out until they are completely gone.

For lunch today they went through a whole large tub of organic yogurt and a large bag of frozen organic corn and that was in addition to a large cantaloupe and whole wheat pasta with ground turkey veggie sauce. They are just all big, big eaters.

They have water bottles available to them all day so I know they are drinking some H2O but could probably drink more. I think I'm just going to start making more and more heavy/whole wheat muffins/breads/tortillas to pair with other things to keep those little bellies full!
I'm sorry - but if you had 6 daycare kids that ate all of that for lunch today - that's simply overeating - not big eaters! I strongly encourage you to educate yourself on healthy portions and begin teaching your dc kids about healthy portion eating. You're currently doing your dcks and your family budget a huge disservice if you always serve the quantities that you did today.

If you're not on a food program, you can still follow their guidelines for # of servings and serving sizes. For a 3-5 year old child, their lunch today should have looked like:

6 oz fluid milk
1/2 cup corn OR 1/2 cup vege sauce on their pasta
1/2 cup cantaloupe
1/4 cup pasta
1.5 ounces of turkey in their sauce OR 6 oz yogurt

The previous poster was correct that when these kids get to school, their school lunch will follow the same USDA guidelines (age adjusted). No seconds or third servings on school lunches. There's really no reason that a child should eat to that excess.

And remember that a snack is a snack - not a meal. There are great guidelines from the USDA for snack servings and portions too.

Just my very most humble opinion.
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nannyde 05:27 PM 03-07-2011
Originally Posted by SunflowerMama:
I do homemade bread and that helps a bit but snacks get me because I always serve some sort of grain/protein with fruit and these kids are bottomless when it comes to fruit. Also my organic milk is from a local farm so that is close to $25 - $30 a week just in milk. I've done homemade granola bars and they usually go for those unless I make them uber healthy .

I'm definitely going to check out hillbillyhousewive.com and I also need to learn how to make homemade tortillas. We do so much with tortillas during the week for lunch and snacks so if I could make those from scratch the could save me a bit too.
Do you do cheesy veggie bread or fruited breads?

You can pack a LOT of nutrients in a slice of home made bread. I even puree sunflower seeds and pop them into the mix. Parmesean cheese goes wonderfully with sunflower seed puree.... sounds gross but they gobble it up.

You can get their bellies full with some delicious bread and a glass of milk for snack. Sneak in some veggies and cheese and they won't even know it's healthy.
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momatheart 05:33 PM 03-07-2011
serve them only the portion for their age. Children need to learn portion control.

There is a site out there somewhere that says what each age gets for servings. I was just on it yesterday.

Make your meals up for the week from the adds in the paper and buy only those items. I know my gorcery store in town I go to their website and they have recipes for items that are on sale.

Coupons sometime are also for the items on sale and shop on double coupon day.
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ammama 05:41 PM 03-07-2011
I don't know about overeating - my dck's and own kids eat A LOT of food (we could go through what Sunflower mentioned as a lunch in one meal too), but they are all very active children, at a very healthy weight. I serve seconds and thirds of snacks and meals all the time, but ONLY if they eat ALL of their firsts, including veggies and anything else I give them.
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momatheart 06:07 PM 03-07-2011
here is a site I get on my fb. http://moneysavingmom.com/2010/02/ho...k-cooking.html

http://moneysavingmom.com/31-days-to...-budget-series
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My Daycare 06:13 PM 03-07-2011
Originally Posted by SunflowerMama:
I'm sure I do give 2nds and 3rds of foods way too often. I'm a sucker about that. I never give 2nds of fruit until they have at least made a dent in their veggies and main dish but I'll dish veggies and other sides out until they are completely gone.

For lunch today they went through a whole large tub of organic yogurt and a large bag of frozen organic corn and that was in addition to a large cantaloupe and whole wheat pasta with ground turkey veggie sauce. They are just all big, big eaters.

They have water bottles available to them all day so I know they are drinking some H2O but could probably drink more. I think I'm just going to start making more and more heavy/whole wheat muffins/breads/tortillas to pair with other things to keep those little bellies full!
Is it pre-bottled water? Can you drink tap water in your area?
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SunflowerMama 07:31 AM 03-08-2011
Originally Posted by tenderhearts:
What are the ages of your daycare kids? Yours definetley seem eat way more than mine. A large tub of yogurt here lasts at least 2 weeks, and I do give seconds.
I have one almost 2 year old and the rest 3.5 - 5.
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SunflowerMama 07:33 AM 03-08-2011
Originally Posted by Pammie:
I'm sorry - but if you had 6 daycare kids that ate all of that for lunch today - that's simply overeating - not big eaters! I strongly encourage you to educate yourself on healthy portions and begin teaching your dc kids about healthy portion eating. You're currently doing your dcks and your family budget a huge disservice if you always serve the quantities that you did today.

If you're not on a food program, you can still follow their guidelines for # of servings and serving sizes. For a 3-5 year old child, their lunch today should have looked like:

6 oz fluid milk
1/2 cup corn OR 1/2 cup vege sauce on their pasta
1/2 cup cantaloupe
1/4 cup pasta
1.5 ounces of turkey in their sauce OR 6 oz yogurt

The previous poster was correct that when these kids get to school, their school lunch will follow the same USDA guidelines (age adjusted). No seconds or third servings on school lunches. There's really no reason that a child should eat to that excess.

And remember that a snack is a snack - not a meal. There are great guidelines from the USDA for snack servings and portions too.

Just my very most humble opinion.
I have 6 dcks and my 2 kids. Twice a week I have a part-timer (which I didn't count in my original post of 6 dcks). So yesterday I had 9 kids eat all of that. I am on the food program and my kids are all very active and all at healthy weights so I'm certain they are not eating more than healthy portions of everything.

So based on the serving portions you posted...

They each receive 1/2 c of milk that is refilled if they drink it (so at most they receive 8 oz)
32oz bag of corn - < 1/2 c each
32oz tub of yogurt - < 1/2 c each
1 canteloupe - 8 small servings (they each received 3 small peices)
8oz of pasta - made about 4 cups cooked and we had plenty of leftovers
26oz of veggie pasta sauce - same we had plenty of leftovers (and this is the pasta sauce with mushrooms so I don't count it as their veggie serving although I know I can)

1lb ground turkey was included in the pasta. On Sundays we cook the whole container of pasta with the whole jar of sauce and then the turkey. Our family eats it Sunday night, dcks eat Monday and then we have it again Monday night as a family. So there is no way dcks are going over 1/4 - 1/2 each.

So based on your numbers and what I served I think my servings were pretty close to accurate on all counts. With the exception of maybe an extra serving of veggies.
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SunflowerMama 07:50 AM 03-08-2011
Originally Posted by My Daycare:
Is it pre-bottled water? Can you drink tap water in your area?
It's a pitcher from Shaklee with a filter. I have reusable water bottles for each kid with their name on it.
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heyhun77 12:36 PM 03-08-2011
One thing I do that helps curb how much they are eating at lunch is to offer a protein at breakfast. This is actually coming down the pipe for food program requirements (in the next few months) so I started this in the Fall to get used to it early and make sure I could rotate enough options that we wouldn't get bored with it AND not just have eggs as the protein.

I also cut out morning snack this Fall and my afternoon snacks are again proteins and then a fruit/veggie or grain.

I hardly use snack crackers but do keep some on hand for hectic days when snack doesn't get ready in the afternoon. I buy things on sale that we use in our menu rotation to save money over the weeks. Most importantly I use a menu rotation so I can make meals ahead which saves time and money. I also make lunch which ends up our dinner than night as well (most nights) since my own kids are at school they don't even notice.

The other thing that I do when I need to reduce the food budget is to go back down to only the things required by the food program. For example, I typically serve 3 or 4 fruits/veggies at a meal and if I need to reduce costs I go back down to the 2 required.
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Candyland 09:09 AM 03-16-2011
Originally Posted by SunflowerMama:
For lunch today they went through a whole large tub of organic yogurt and a large bag of frozen organic corn and that was in addition to a large cantaloupe and whole wheat pasta with ground turkey veggie sauce. They are just all big, big eaters.
Am I the only one who didn't think this was overeating for 8 kids and herself??
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dEHmom 09:15 AM 03-16-2011
I have no idea what proper servings are!!!! Sorry I cannot answer.

I would assume those on the food programs would know what the proper servings and amounts are, but that is mainly for cost purposes IMO. That's to limit how much you are feeding so your profit goes up (so the govn't can tax you on more of your income, and reduce the amount paid out in food grants or w/e IMO!!!)


I've always been and always will be, eat till you are full within reason of course. If someone is being a piggy well then we need to stop that. But we also get enough water in daily, that we don't have the thirst and fill it with food.


Some days the kids eat a whole apple each, some days they eat 2 bites. I was taught children know when they are hungry and how much they need to eat. I don't allow them to fill up on garbage though, so many that's the difference.
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kidkair 12:30 PM 03-16-2011
Originally Posted by SunflowerMama:
For lunch today they went through a whole large tub of organic yogurt and a large bag of frozen organic corn and that was in addition to a large cantaloupe and whole wheat pasta with ground turkey veggie sauce. They are just all big, big eaters.
Originally Posted by Candyland:
Am I the only one who didn't think this was overeating for 8 kids and herself??
Candyland, I agree with you! She doubled protein and veggies. It might not be that they are overeating but I think she's going a little overboard on what she offers.

SunflowerMama, I think the easiest way for you to save money would be to stick to the food program a bit more strictly and not double up on anything. 3-5 year olds need a total of 1/2 cup of veggies and fruit not 1/2 cup of corn plus mushrooms in a veggie sauce plus cantaloupe. Cut back to what they need and let their parents feed them extra for dinner.
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dEHmom 12:37 PM 03-16-2011
hahaha Candyland i just noticed you said "didn't" and not "did" I think my day has been much too long.


But I still go by what I said
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