Frugal Alternatives to Processed Snacks, Part One
Frugal alternatives to chips, chex mix, and other salty snacks- some are more frugal than others, some are more healthy than others, life is constant process of balancing options and making choices:
1. Popcorn- I use a heavy bottom saucepan, put oil in it about as deep as a single popcorn kernel, and heat with three popcorn kernels in it. When they pop, I add enough kernels to make a single layer, put the lid on, put on oven mitts, and shake from time to time until there are about three seconds between popping. Here's how much popcorn in a microwave bag costs. Now the claim on washing the pan is off. When I make popcorn in my popcorn pan, which is just a heavy duty saucepan, it takes more than 20 seconds to clean the pan.
When I pop it in my mom's popcorn popper (the sort that uses oil), it takes less than 20 seconds to clean it.
When I use the hot air popper, of course, it only takes the time it takes me to get it out of the cupboard, although since I'll add melted butter and spices I will have a measuring cup to wash. I put that in the dishwasher.
Even if it takes you five minutes longer to wash the pan, you've saved a substantial sum and made a healthier product.
2. Snack mix- we make one with oyster crackers. Sometimes we go convenience, sometimes we make our own seasonings, in which case, buttermilk powder is a definite plus. Oyster crackers are .99 where we live. They may be more where you live (I think it depends on how popular clam chowder is in your area)
3. MUCH Lower in carbs, but higher in price- these 'crackers' made of nothing but melted cheese. If you buy your cheese on sale, well, it will still be pricier than cheap potato chips, but far healthier.
4. Kale chips (you can do this with other greens, too)
5. Pork rinds=)