4 snacks that won’t break the bank

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4 Snacks That Won’t Break the Bank

Are you saving for a mortgage? Got credit card debt? Love to socialise and spend all your money on happy hour? But do you still want to enjoy great snacks that’ll make your work mates jealous? Do you need snacks that won’t break the bank?

Then I’ve got the solution for you! Here are 6 different snack ideas that can still taste incredibly tasty, are simple to make and don’t cost the earth to make. Try one at work next week and you’ll see how easy they are to make and how cheap they are while being packed full of flavour.

  1. Popcorn
  2. Crackers and cheese
  3. Fruit salad – seasonal fruit is cheapest
  4. Dips and vegetable sticks

 

1. Popcorn

Popcorn is one of the cheapest snacks out there if you make it yourself. A 500g to 1kg packet of corn kernels will cost you less that $4 – and you’ll get at least 8 serves out of your kilo pack, making each snack less than 50c a serve.

Making popcorn takes a little bit of technique, though it’s not too hard.

  1. Warm a frypan on a high heat.
  2. Add a drizzle of vegetable oil (don’t use olive oil for this).
  3. Throw in a ¼ cup of kernels and put the lid on.
  4. With the lid on move the popcorn around until it starts to pop.
  5. Turn the heat down and continue moving the kernels until you don’t hear any popping anymore.
  6. Take pan off the heat and leave the lid on for a minute or 2 to see if more pop.
  7. Add your flavourings to the warm popcorn and enjoy!

Note: you’ll always get some kernels that don’t pop but it shouldn’t be many. Remove these when you serve the popcorn so no one breaks a tooth. If half the kernels haven’t popped then you haven’t kept the heat on the stove long enough, so repeat the steps above until most of them are popped.

What flavours to use? Try these:

  • Powdered chicken stock with oregano and paprika.
  • Honey, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  • Butter and salt.
  • Mixed herbs and butter.
  • Caramel sauce.
  • Zaatar
  • Mexican spice mix.

Need more ideas? Here’s 50!

 

2. Crackers and cheese

Have you seen the sheer number of crackers available these days?

Do you want white, multigrain, wholemeal, gluten free, quinoa, barley, rice, or rye crackers – they’re all available at your local supermarket.

Do you want salted, unsalted, chicken, BBQ, sour cream and chives, pepper, pizza or cheese flavoured? Yep, you can get them too.

Do you want square, round, rectangles, triangles or hexagons? Got them too!

How about big, small, thick, thin, wafer thin, or sandwich size? You guessed it – they’ve got them too.

Really, the range of crackers you can get these days is wide and varied so you can find one easily that fits your budget. Rice crackers are pretty cheap, about $1 for a packet depending on brand. Plain water crackers are about the same too. Anything more fancy or trendy is sure to be more expensive so look for the cheaper brands or the better brands when they’re on special.

You’re going to want cheese to go on top of those new crackers too. Luckily I’ve already got you covered there! Read my cheese post so you can see just how many types of cheese are out there.

Another tip with cheese and crackers is to add slices of fresh tomato and baby spinach. You can also eat cheese and crackers with dried fruit, or fresh fruit like grapes and strawberries. See what you already have on hand before you buy something expensive for those crackers (i.e. If you have kids it’s likely you’ll already have sultanas at home for them so use that too).

 

3. Fruit salad

One of the cheapest sources of sweet snacks is fruit. Especially when it’s seasonal. And seasonal fruit also happens to be when fruit is at its best – its sweetest and juiciest and has the most brilliant colours.

And seasonal fruit just happens to be on sale in the supermarket catalogues! So you can’t go wrong. For example, as I write this it’s spring in Australia and the fruit specials in this week’s catalogue are rockmelon, blueberries, orange and gold kiwis – all of which I love and are great snack items.

Mix fruit into fruit salads or take them individually to work or eat them for desserts. There are some pretty funky containers on the market these days so you can buy one with small compartments or buy a few small separate containers and throw the fruit in there to take to work or for a lovely weekend picnic.

If you’ve got some fruit that’s gone past its best for eating as a snack, don’t forget over

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4. Dips and veggie sticks

If you’re looking for something a little savoury, or something a bit fresher for a snack than the carby options of popcorn and crackers, then you can’t go past dips and veggie sticks. And they are super cheap to make as well.

A whole bag of carrots will set you back less than $2, telegraph cucumbers (the long straight ones) are around $2 each as well, or you can get the smaller Lebanese cucumbers and just eat them without cutting them up as they’re a similar price too.

Capsicum (bell pepper in the United States) is one of those veggies that can sometimes be super cheap and other times really expensive. I’ve noticed that the green ones are always really cheap in Australia, around $5 a kilo which should get you 2-3 capsicums. The red ones are a little pricier but still in range, but for some reason the yellow and orange capsicums in Australia are always really expensive. They seem to be in a lot of American recipes so it looks like they’re cheaper in the United States, so it really depends on where you live.

Besides carrot, cucumber and capsicum sticks you can really cut up any vegetables you like to eat raw. I’ve seen people eat mushrooms, broccoli and cauliflower raw with dips and they love it, so find the ones you love too.

As far as dips go, the most healthy is usually hummus (made from chickpeas) but you can get many, many types of dips now – olive, basil and macadamia, french onion, crab and dill, spinach, bell pepper and feta, etc. If you buy them from the supermarket you get plenty of choice but if you make your own you get heaps more choice! A lot of homemade dips are made using either cream cheese or beans and chickpeas as the base and then the flavourings are thrown in and its blended to dip consistency.

Here’s over 100 dips made from everything from artichoke, white beans and feta to broad beans, tuna and beetroot and everything else in between! If you don’t find something you love then you’re just a picky eater (and I should know cause I am one!).

 

So, now that you have 4 basic ideas and a heap of varieties on these ideas, you’ll be sure to have easy and budget friendly snack ideas for ages. You’ll definitely be able to afford that new house, pay off those debts or buy an extra drink this weekend.

But tell me, did you make everyone at work jealous of your awesome snacks when you took them to work this week? I bet you didn’t tell them they were a bargain to make!

Till next time.

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