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ptlycloudy
09-04-2008, 09:08 AM
Any ideas for budget friendly preschool class snacks? I need to bring enough for 21 kids, no food with nuts or nut warnings of any kind. They want healthy snacks. I also have to bring a beverage, as well as all cups, plates , etc. needed for the snack.

I have to do this once or twice a month, so I need to find out some good budget ideas. The cost of preschool already stretches us to the limit, so adding this to my grocery budget is tricky.

Thanks for the help.

virginiamama
09-04-2008, 09:18 AM
Cheese and crackers, they can be served on napkins rather than plates. (Cheese cut in slices versus cubes - choking hazard.) You could cut the cheese as thin as you like and really stretch it. Make juice from concentrate and add more water than what is called for.

Or... consider using heavier duty plates/cups and washing them. I have come across individual cups or sets of cups at Walmart or Walgreens that were extremely inexpensively priced. (Now would be a great time to check Walmart since they are clearancing out a lot of summer stuff.) That way you could just make that initial investment since this appears to be something you will be participating in often. Just bring along a small plastic tub or bag to place the "dirties" in to take home and wash. You could also use that container for storage at home. You'd have plates/cups to use for kids parties at home also.

HM
09-04-2008, 09:29 AM
Celery sticks with cream cheese (use napkins for plates)
cheese and cherry tomato on a toothpick (if you have basil in your garden add a piece of that)
pretzel sticks



2% milk (small paper cups)
orange juice from concentrate

sunshine1178
09-04-2008, 09:38 AM
Pretzels
Raisins
Apple slices
Goldfish crackers (do you have a Pepperidge Farm outlet nearby? very cheap)
Mixed fruit salad

I think the only way to provide drinks cheaply is by pouring individual cups from a big container. Would the kids go for "lemon water?" My 3 year old loves it. I add Simply Lemon to a 16 oz. bottle for him, but a few packets in a big pitcher would probably make it fun for the kids, unless you live where citrus is cheap, and you can use the real thing.

StitchandPooh'sMom
09-04-2008, 09:41 AM
bananas - 69 cents a pound here

string cheese- pretty cheap at Costco or if you can get a B1G1 sale at the grocery store

small boxes of raisins - Sunmaid has 14 small boxes per bag for about $2-3

Gogurt - about $2.50 for 8 tubes

mini bagels with cream cheese - 10 pack of Thomas' for about $3, but you would need 3 packs unless someone was absent, $2 for cream cheese

cheese cubes on pretzel sticks - "cheese popsicles" - Walmart has two pounds of cheese cubes for about $5

When DD5 was in preschool last year, they had water or lemonade (like Country Time) for snack. When I brought snack, I'd bring one starchy or dairy food (Goldfish, Cheez-its, pretzels, yogurt) and one fruit.

ceecee
09-04-2008, 09:56 AM
Individual fruit cups (cut up fruit in disposible cups) then for a cheap fast and easy drink, Capri Sun or juice boxes. With pre-school I wouldn't use cups because it's too easy for spills to happen. Cut up cheese and crackers served on napkins or you can buy the Austin cheese crackers for $1.19 for 10 packs, most kids like those.

VanessasMom
09-04-2008, 09:57 AM
Please just be sure to bring enough for all the students. My daughter is in a preschool where we bring snack once a month and pay $225 per month for school. We do not have to bring cups/plates or napkins. They ask for donations of those items when/if you can. That being said, it irritates me to no end when I see a parent bring a tiny bag of goldfish to feed 25 kids. Come on. I spend roughly $10 per month on the snack and that includes one gallon of juice, healthy snack, and either cups or plates. I always bring enough snack for 2 days because I know they need extras for those days when parents don't bring enough. And, it's always the ones pulling up in the Mercedes who don't give an adequate snack. Drives me crazy. Sorry to digress.

Anyways, I would reccommend mini muffins, fruit, mini bagels/cream cheese, gogurts, carrot sticks with dip, cheese and crackers, chex mix, string cheese, and dried fruit. If you are allowed to bake, the kids always love banana or zuchini bread. Also we are only allowed to do 100% juice already made in the jug or milk. Milk is usually cheaper.

MommaSnowwhite
09-04-2008, 10:59 AM
Popcorn with a fruit side like raisins
grapes
watermelon
trail mix with cheerios, dried fruit (raisins, crasins, ect.) and kix

SLDL
09-04-2008, 11:05 AM
Have you checked out the deal at Target this week? You could buy 4 boxes of Rice Crispie Treats (8 in a box) for $9 & then get a $5 Target gift card. That's what I'm doing for DD3 preschool snack next week. Boxes of Cheese-Its are also part of the same sale. There is a thread on here somewhere about it. Really, at $1 a box, you can't beat it. And if you don't need snack for a while, these things still last (that is if you can hide them from your family until you need them at school!)

StillPinballFamily
09-04-2008, 11:12 AM
Please just be sure to bring enough for all the students. My daughter is in a preschool where we bring snack once a month and pay $225 per month for school. We do not have to bring cups/plates or napkins. They ask for donations of those items when/if you can. That being said, it irritates me to no end when I see a parent bring a tiny bag of goldfish to feed 25 kids.

Boy, we've been there too! Aren't some people amazing? :sad2:

Anyway, we sometimes took pudding when it was our turn and that was always a bit hit! The boxes of instant frequently go on sale and I gobble them up when they are 4/$1. Add your own milk (can even do powdered) and you can just spoon it into Dixie cups to serve.

Popcorn was another cheap alternative. Kraft now sells their mac & cheese "cheese" in small canisters for about $1.69 to shake onto popcorn - the kids might like that.

My last suggestion is for animal crackers with vanilla yogurt for dipping into. My kids devour this!

ptlycloudy
09-04-2008, 11:19 AM
Thanks for all of the ideas! I don't know why I just drew a blank at what to bring. I always bring more than enough food. I feel there is nothing worse than hungry kids!

I will have to check and see if we can bake our own that would make mini muffins and quick breads a good idea. I have done the target deal but that is for at home only. There is a no sweets policy and rice krispies would fall into that.

My dd likes the ideas given , I think I will have her help me choose what to bring each time.

Thank you everyone!

wickywinn
09-04-2008, 11:50 AM
Graham crackers are good as well or, even better, teddy grahams.

Raisins, not so much guys. These are preschoolers we're talking about. Everytime I've sent raisin packs for the preschool classes all but maybe two have come back to me untouched. Even the teacher said "I can't blame them...I hate raisins too.".

Has anyone seen tha packages of canadian bacon by the pepperoni packs in the cheese section? Those are great with ritz crackers and cheese as well. They're perfectly round and fit beautifully.

kristilew
09-04-2008, 11:58 AM
Back in the day, dd's class loved sliced hard boiled egg for snack.

Also, cheerios mixed with oatmeal square cereal. (Actually, she still takes that for snack in 5th grade!)

Crystal0608
09-04-2008, 12:09 PM
Probably some duplications here but here are some my kids like are mostly budget/healthy: cinnamon applesauce, jello w/ gummy worm in middle, pudding w/ cool whip, apples (since they are in season) cut up with caramel apple dip, grapes or other fruit w/ strawberry yogurt to dip, raisins, goldfish crackers, mickey shaped cheese, animal crackers w/ honey to dip, edible necklaces (like with cheerios or fruit loops), mini strawberry jelly/cream cheese sandwiches, popcorn, WW ice cream sandwiches- 1/4 graham cracker w/ ff cool whip frozen til set (my old bosses fav), mini rice cakes (I use pb with these, maybe flavored cream cheese or soybutter?), canned fruit drained in dixie cup, and 2 packs muffin mix prepared in 9x13 pan & cut in squares. My son likes to dip stuff, so you can omit if needed :). Some kids (like my dd) have texture issues, so maybe bring 2 options for the pickier eaters?

I've never had to bring anything to school except to parties & everything has to be packaged/ no homemade items, but I love bringing stuff. If you have the same rule, maybe you could bring a big container of whatever to school & prep in class (like pouring applesauce in cups). Like a previous poster mentioned, use the little dixie cups. They are cheap & you can use for snacks & drinks. I use a tray (like a lunch tray) & line up the cups, then pour in the jello or pudding & let it set in the cups, then put in the fridge. If you have a cupcake tupperware thing, the cups would probably fit in there, maybe put empty cups to fill up space if needed for taking to school.

I like the idea of bringing reusable plates since you will have to do on a monthly basis (if you have a dishwasher), CVS has cute summer themed plates 75% clearance right now. Cute little tea party plates might work too.

StitchandPooh'sMom
09-04-2008, 12:18 PM
Raisins, not so much guys. These are preschoolers we're talking about. Everytime I've sent raisin packs for the preschool classes all but maybe two have come back to me untouched. Even the teacher said "I can't blame them...I hate raisins too.".

Has anyone seen tha packages of canadian bacon by the pepperoni packs in the cheese section? Those are great with ritz crackers and cheese as well. They're perfectly round and fit beautifully.

That's so funny you say that. My DD5 loves raisins and would request them in her lunch - maybe she is just unusual, but I never got any leftover raisins back in all the years I sent snacks for both kids. I did always make sure they were recently bought, since old raisins can be hard and gross. My older DD would have loved Canadian bacon, but DD5 would definitely not touch it. That's why it's nice to send at least two things - all kids have different tastes. :goodvibes

sunshine1178
09-04-2008, 12:38 PM
[QUOTE=wickywinn;27355072]Graham crackers are good as well or, even better, teddy grahams.

Raisins, not so much guys. These are preschoolers we're talking about. Everytime I've sent raisin packs for the preschool classes all but maybe two have come back to me untouched. Even the teacher said "I can't blame them...I hate raisins too.".QUOTE]

I hope that the teacher didn't say that in front of the children; they don't need food issues projected on to them.

I suggested raisins because my 3 year old enjoys them. He has a lot of food allergies, so raisins are a wonderful convenience food for me to offer him when he isn't able to eat the "treats" that other people bring.

I suppose that it will be a trial and error thing to see what the children will enjoy eating. Luckily, our school provides all of the food, so I don't have to worry about it.

pinkyinhere
09-04-2008, 12:39 PM
Cheese and crackers
homemade pudding
homemade cookies
Raisins

wickywinn
09-04-2008, 12:43 PM
That's so funny you say that. My DD5 loves raisins and would request them in her lunch - maybe she is just unusual, but I never got any leftover raisins back in all the years I sent snacks for both kids. I did always make sure they were recently bought, since old raisins can be hard and gross. My older DD would have loved Canadian bacon, but DD5 would definitely not touch it. That's why it's nice to send at least two things - all kids have different tastes. :goodvibesh

Yep, I'm going on my 4th year sending snacks for preschoolers (two years with DS and now 2nd year with DS4) and everytime I send raisin packs most come back untouched. Most kids just don't like raisins (I know I'll hear from a couple now who swear their child loves them but we're not talking about one child, we're talking about a snack for the masses). My two youngest love them. Go figure. So I gave up on that since 2 out of 14-15 kids isn't practical. I'm also the room mother in ds4 and ds6 classes and have been since ds6 was in pre-K 3 year olds and it's the same every party or function. Certain things just sit on the plates uneaten. I'm on my 6th school year now and nothing's changed. Different kids, same picky tastes...They'll eat grapes though!

4 year olds can be picky!

wickywinn
09-04-2008, 12:45 PM
[QUOTE=wickywinn;27355072]Graham crackers are good as well or, even better, teddy grahams.

Raisins, not so much guys. These are preschoolers we're talking about. Everytime I've sent raisin packs for the preschool classes all but maybe two have come back to me untouched. Even the teacher said "I can't blame them...I hate raisins too.".QUOTE]

I hope that the teacher didn't say that in front of the children; they don't need food issues projected on to them.

I suggested raisins because my 3 year old enjoys them. He has a lot of food allergies, so raisins are a wonderful convenience food for me to offer him when he isn't able to eat the "treats" that other people bring.

I suppose that it will be a trial and error thing to see what the children will enjoy eating. Luckily, our school provides all of the food, so I don't have to worry about it.

Ohmigosh, no she didn't say it in front of the kids.

2Blue1Pink
09-04-2008, 02:45 PM
I am going on my fifth year of sending in healthy snacks for preschoolers! Our nursery school requests that we don't send in the most frequent choking hazards which unfortunately include raisins, popcorn and even carrots. BOO!! :) One budget item I have used is canned pineapple served with toothpicks in the winter when fruit is expensive. The kids love the novelty of eating off toothpicks I think & it's easy enough to stock up on when there is a sale. This week Dollar Tree had family sized BOXES (not bags) of brand name Pepperidge Farm Whole Grain Goldfish so I did stock up on those and brought them yesterday when it was our turn.

MSSANDRA
09-04-2008, 04:18 PM
Preschool director here,
Snack is such a big deal and can be healthy and fun without being too expensive.

first, follow the rules. It is the first week for our school and parents are already pushing the "healthy" rule. It is always cheaper to send a large container and easier for the teacher to give a handful rather than open 20 small bags they can not open. Pouring drinks is not hard either and much cheaper than boxes.

Consider really making it fun and special. Many parents at our school often follow the focus for the week in preparing snack. Next week is "B" is for bear. Some things we have gotten in the past for that week include teddy graham with cream cheese tinted blue so the Bear can jump in the Bath, ;blue water, blue milk, blue pudding (add color to these items), banannas, berries, bread and butter, and sandwiches cut in bear shapes.
I suggest sending two items as many preschoolers are picky and that gives a better shot of most of them eating something.
Sending colored or designed napkins makes it special. Markdown napkins are often found really cheap at big lots are other discount stores.


lastly, involve your child. Snack day is special for them and they love sharing with their friends!!!

Just have fun!

GraysMom
09-04-2008, 08:15 PM
DS3 loves to eat "surprise" snack mix. Basically it's just whatever easy to pick up cereal we have (apple cinnamon/plain/yogurt cheerios, chex, Kashi Vive, etc), any small crackers/pretzels we have (like goldfish or pretzel sticks), and dried fruit pieces (available precut at Target in their snack mix aisle). You could also add plain popcorn in to stretch it even further.

You could also make cheap fruit kabobs if they allow toothpicks/skewers. Whatever is cheap and easy to eat-like bananas and grapes with a strawberry or blueberries stuck in occasionally for color. They could dip the fruit pieces in plain or vanilla yogurt spooned into dixie cups too.

As far as plates, etc go, do you have a restaurant or paper supply place nearby? I bought a pack of 250 "boats" (like what you'd get french fries in at a carnival) for a couple of bucks and I use them for snacks. They probably have big packs of paper cups/napkins too.

tinytink
09-04-2008, 08:34 PM
DS3 loves to eat "surprise" snack mix. Basically it's just whatever easy to pick up cereal we have (apple cinnamon/plain/yogurt cheerios, chex, Kashi Vive, etc), any small crackers/pretzels we have (like goldfish or pretzel sticks), and dried fruit pieces (available precut at Target in their snack mix aisle). You could also add plain popcorn in to stretch it even further.

You could also make cheap fruit kabobs if they allow toothpicks/skewers. Whatever is cheap and easy to eat-like bananas and grapes with a strawberry or blueberries stuck in occasionally for color. They could dip the fruit pieces in plain or vanilla yogurt spooned into dixie cups too.

As far as plates, etc go, do you have a restaurant or paper supply place nearby? I bought a pack of 250 "boats" (like what you'd get french fries in at a carnival) for a couple of bucks and I use them for snacks. They probably have big packs of paper cups/napkins too.
Here is a list of suggestions from my DSs preschool:

cubles of cheese/small crackers
vegetable sticks
cut up fresh fruit
trail mix w/o nuts
cookies
jello jigglers
muffins/breads
ritz bits/gold fish/animal crackers/teddy grahams
prpetzels
popcorn
gummy fruit snacks
fruit and cheese kabobs
mini bagels
graham crackers

They just serve filtered ice water, we provide the snacks individually bagged or ready to eat, cups, and napkins

I've done chocolate covered strawberries or mixed berries drizzled with white chocolate(or colored white chocolate), ice cream cups, cupcakes for birthdays, fruit kabobs, apple dippers, veggie sticks with dip (I get extra sauce cups from McD's when I go inside and use them for snack dips/sauces), cheese sticks and crackers, home made lunchables-lunch meat, cheese and crackers(meat&cheese using fun cookie cutters), grapes and cheese, being asian I've made mini egg rolls, meat empanadas and apple turnovers using the empanada dough, goldfish, 100 calorie snack pack(when I find a super good deal at Target, once I got several 12 packs for a $1 and they were not expired or anything like that just combined coupons). Cheez it's (from costco in a big box of 36 for $7 or $8. I always pack extra snacks so the teachers could enjoy with the kids and they seem to appreciate it. We always get back the empty basket and a report that the kids liked it and on some occassions loved the snack.

Good luck

nilseks
09-04-2008, 08:41 PM
If you have access to Market Day (even if you don't have a child at the local grade school you can still order there), I just noticed they have a special this month, 30 packs of their "Guppies" crackers (Goldfish!) for $5.79. You wouldn't need to bring plates because each child would have their own bag. Throw in a $3 gallon of milk and you're set, for under $9!

MSSANDRA
09-04-2008, 08:49 PM
. I always pack extra snacks so the teachers could enjoy with the kids and they seem to appreciate it.
Good luck


Another really thoughtful idea.
Most teachers sit and share snack time with the children and it is really nice to be able to nibble with them. Some parents will pack a special snack just for the teacher.

PEANUT1
09-04-2008, 08:59 PM
at my daughter's preschool the parents send their own childs snack each day. I am new at this but so far my daughter has requested...
pepperoni
grapes(most kids love em)
raisins (she does like them...i say ick:lmao: )
pretzels
dry cereal (a big snack in our house)
and I will send in a juice box, water, or chocolate milk (the kind that doesn't have to be refrigerated.

I will just send in the stuff that she normally eats at home during those times...so I won't send gummies or any other sugary snack because I would never normally give that to her in the morning.

ptlycloudy
09-04-2008, 08:59 PM
Thanks everyone for the great ideas!! They are really helpful and make me feel better about fitting this into our budget without pain.:worship:

My dd is excited for her snack day now. She is making pictures of her menu for next week!:thumbsup2

CraftyCrissy
09-04-2008, 09:00 PM
* Mini bagels with cream cheese or butter or jelly
* Triscuits with a slice of cheese
* Orange slices
* BIG Cheeze-Its (they're big and different and fun)
* Cheerios in a cup with milk on the side
* Homemade GORP - use what you like - granola, dried fruits, Cheerios, Kix cereal, corn chex, even a handful of chocolate rice chex for some innocent sweetness
* Baked vegetable chips - these can be pricey but Trader Joes has a great brand for a decent price. They have great flavor and that chip crunch.
* If Jell-O is acceptable, make a two layer treat in a clear plastic cup or Jell-O jigglers
* Simple crudite platter on each table (if that's how the kids are set up) - paper plate with some cut up celery, cherry tomatoes, cukes, broccoli, carrots, etc. Really go hog-wild with what is on sale in produce and offer them something they may never try at home. Serve each child with a small Dixie cup of Ranch dressing.

roliepolieoliefan
09-04-2008, 09:23 PM
All great suggestions.

DD's pre-school provides the snack.

Some big things are pretzels, goldfish, snack mix, and a huge hit in the warm months are popsicles and freeze pops.

pigletto
09-04-2008, 09:30 PM
I do home daycare. The kids absolutely love pretzles (the stick kind) with a small cube of cheese. They spear the cheese with the pretzle sticks .. and I usually put raisins on the side. Despite what others have said.. I only have one who won't eat raisins and I slice up apple for her.

aprilvaca04
09-05-2008, 07:25 AM
* Mini bagels with cream cheese or butter or jelly
* Triscuits with a slice of cheese
* Orange slices
* BIG Cheeze-Its (they're big and different and fun)
* Cheerios in a cup with milk on the side
* Homemade GORP - use what you like - granola, dried fruits, Cheerios, Kix cereal, corn chex, even a handful of chocolate rice chex for some innocent sweetness
* Baked vegetable chips - these can be pricey but Trader Joes has a great brand for a decent price. They have great flavor and that chip crunch.
* If Jell-O is acceptable, make a two layer treat in a clear plastic cup or Jell-O jigglers
* Simple crudite platter on each table (if that's how the kids are set up) - paper plate with some cut up celery, cherry tomatoes, cukes, broccoli, carrots, etc. Really go hog-wild with what is on sale in produce and offer them something they may never try at home. Serve each child with a small Dixie cup of Ranch dressing.

I work at a preschool and love the mini bagel idea. I'm going to use that for our next special event that we all bring snacks in to share. Thanks:thumbsup2