Feeling the pinch of higher food prices? Here are a dozen items to make from scratch. You’ll save money and avoid food waste!
I can’t be the only one who has recently stood in a grocery store aisle, done a double-take on a price, and blurted out “Are you kidding me?!?”
Grocery prices are up–by more than 10 percent over last year, according to government statistics.
Though that price hike has probably changed what and how much you buy each week, unfortunately it hasn’t changed your family’s appetites.
They still want to be fed. All. The. Time.
So what can you make from scratch?
It may seem like a no-brainer that making more things from scratch could ease the pain of higher prices.
But which items actually save you real money?
To find out, Real Mom Nutrition team member Cheryll crunched allll the numbers, figuring out the costs down to the spices and seasonings.
Some items we figured would be slam-dunk money-savers actually weren’t (hello, homemade salad dressing).
Others were way cheaper than even we thought (we’re looking at you, DIY sushi rolls and Starbucks copy cat drink!).
Below are the ones that came out on top, along with price comparisons.
It goes without saying, but…
- Costs for ingredients are based on local prices, and those may vary by region.
- You have a life away from the kitchen and your time has value too. Some from-scratch items will feel worth it to you, but some won’t. And that’s okay!
Make From Scratch: Money Savers
These sandwiches are freezer heroes. They’re energizing morning meals and hearty after-school snacks, and they can even pinch-hit for dinner on busy nights. Not to mention, they’re easy to assemble and hold up well in the deep freeze. Get the complete how-to: Make-Ahead Breakfast Sandwiches
I promise it’s easier than you think to make your own soft, chewy homemade bagels. They’re so much better than store-bought–and so much cheaper than the bakery. Add the toppings your gang likes best. I have an easy-to-follow, step-by-step recipe, including a short-cut if you have a bread machine.
- Get the recipe: Homemade Bagels
- Get the recipe: Homemade Bread Machine Bagels
Simple Sushi Rolls
This recipe for easy sushi rolls is perfect for beginners and a great project for kids. It’s also a nice way to fit some extra veggies in everyone’s day. Feel free to tuck some sliced avocado in there too. Get the recipe and how-to: Simple Veggie Sushi Rolls
This guacamole recipe couldn’t be easier with just four simple ingredients, but it almost always gets compliments when I bring it to a party. I think that’s because the simple, fresh flavors really shine through. One of my son’s friends even called it “better than Chipotle’s”. Get the recipe: No-Fuss Guacamole
Homemade hummus is as easy as pushing a button on your blender or food processor. Skip the store-bought version for the fresher flavor of making it yourself. Get the recipe for Very Lemony Homemade Hummus
Corn Tortilla Chips
All you need are three ingredients to make a batch of homemade baked tortilla chips. They’re so much crunchier and heartier than the bagged kind, which now seem flimsy and inadequate next to these substantial wedges, especially delicious when served warm and fresh. Get the recipe: Homemade Corn Tortilla Chips
Yes, sports drinks are overused, especially in typical youth rec sports. But some young athletes do need what a sports drink provides, especially if they’re exercising for long periods of time. Avoid the synthetic food dyes, artificial flavors, stabilizers, and other stuff in commercial sports drinks by making your own lemon-flavored electrolyte beverage with just a few simple ingredients. Get the recipe: Homemade Sports Drink
Copy Cat Vanilla Steamer
The Starbucks Vanilla Steamer is one of my favorite cold-weather splurges. It’s also a drink young kids can enjoy, since it’s coffee-free and caffeine-free. I started making these a few years ago when it occurred to me that I could treat myself (for a lot less money) at home. Get the recipe: Copy Cat Starbucks Vanilla Steamer
Make From Scratch: Waste Busters
Do you get a rush when you repurpose odds and ends from the fridge and pantry instead of wasting them? Me too. These recipes are just what we all need to feel like kitchen magicians.
It’s the perfect way to clear out the fruit drawer, especially when items are nearing past-their-prime status. Instead of wasting that fruit, whirl it in a blender with a touch of honey to make homemade ice pops (the honey keeps them sort of slushy). Pour them into these fun ice pop pouches or these reusable molds. Get the recipe: 2-Ingredient Fruit Popsicles
It’s just the thing for half-empty bags of nuts and seeds taking up space in your pantry and freezer. In just one hour of prep, you’ll have breakfasts, snacks, and yogurt toppings for the next week or more.
- Get the recipe: Use-What-You-Have Granola
- Get the recipe: Double Chocolate Granola
A little bit of yogurt + a little bit of fruit + a splash of milk = DIY yogurt tubes that are fun fresh or frozen and deliver calcium, potassium, protein, and vitamin D in each tube. Get the recipe: Homemade Yogurt Tubes
DIY Oatmeal Packets
If you’ve got some instant oats and tasty mix-ins, you can make your own healthy instant oatmeal packets in about 10 minutes. Pack it up in baggies, jars, or other containers. Here’s a simple how-to: Healthy Instant Oatmeal Packets
Thanks so much for these great ideas – I definitely will be trying several of these recipes – not only for the money saving aspect, but knowing what ingredients are going into our bodies and reducing our amount of plastic waste is so important to me. My family LOVES bagels and I never thought that was something I could make myself, but I’m definitely going to try! And I know the double chocolate granola will be a huge hit with the kids and SO much better than a store bought granola bar. Thank you!
Ali–Glad you got some good ideas, and great point about reducing plastic waste too.