They say kids will eat you out of house and home and I never knew how true that statement could be until recently. Not only has my 14-year-old son Ryan grown taller than me over the last year, but he seems to have a bottomless stomach when it comes to eating.

As the mother of an athlete who plays multiple sports year round, I understand the importance of a healthy diet. However, I do struggle with keeping our snack bowl stocked with healthy options for him and his group of friends who hang out at my house regularly. In trying to maintain healthy snack options for these growing kids, I have created several ways to ensure Ryan and his friends have access to healthy snacks at my house without going over my food budget.

Top Five Tips

1. Go grocery shopping together
Ryan and I shop together and we always start our trip in the produce section. Ryan enjoys this because he is allowed to pick out new fruits and vegetables to try. This is how he discovered a love for star fruit and red peppers.

2. Buy in season
Purchasing fresh produce in season will help stretch your dollar. During one grocery visit, Ryan wanted to get a coconut. The great thing about this fruit is that it is in season throughout the year. Once we got home, we had to YouTube how to open it, but it made the experience a lot of fun and something we will always remember.

3. Try dried and canned fruit
If your favorite fruit is not in season, but you still want to enjoy it, finding it dried or in a can is a great substitution and a good way to savor the flavor. I also like purchasing canned foods because oftentimes I can find coupons for these items and that helps to drive down the cost.

4. Make your own grab-and-go mix
Since Ryan plays multiple sports, he snacks on the go a lot. I purchase nuts in bulk and make my own trail mix for him at a fraction of the cost. I have also found it helpful to pre-bag easy snacks like carrots, grapes and cherry tomatoes for Ryan and his friends to grab out of the fridge on the way to their game.

5. Buy frozen fruit
One of Ryan’s favorite summer snacks is frozen fruit. This is a great way to have the fruits you love year round. I often purchase these in large quantities so he always has a variety available. Frozen fruit is also great to take on the road and have as a healthy option instead of choosing fast food.

It’s hard to believe how time flies. When Ryan was a baby, my world revolved around feedings every few hours. Fast forward 14 years and although Ryan is in a different stage in life, the multiple mini-meals are still very important for his development and growth.

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