34 answers

JFF Do You "Ration" the Expensive Food?

We are on a limited budget for food, but I know there are things that my daughter still loves to have. I realized today that I sort of unconsciously "ration" those expensive foods so that they last longer. For example, my daughter loves pizza rolls. They are expensive, at $3.99 a bag of 40. So I allow her to have 10 for lunch, and then if she's still hungry she can have something else, usually fruit or if she's really hungry, a sandwich. I know if I let her she'd eat 1/2 the bag for lunch! That way she can enjoy them for 4 days instead of 2.

I do the same with juice, we have a glass with breakfast and then water or milk the rest of the day. Otherwise she'd drink the entire bottle in 2 days! I think juice is also expensive, and we don't have it in our budget to buy 2-3 bottles of juice for a week! (Not to mention the sugar content--even though we buy juice with no added sugars).

Anyone else do this? Or am I just the lone weird one? :)

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Haha, it sounds like I just stuff my kid with junk food! I also ration the ORGANIC fruit I buy, and we also buy organic juice so while there's no added sugars or anything, it's still expensive. Pizza rolls are the only real "junk" food that I buy, since we make our own organic potato chips, our own dips and dressings, etc. I've found I use less meat since the grass-fed beef is so much more expensive, as well as the organic, free range chickens. Since she eats so well and she LOVES pizza rolls, I don't begrudge her those. We all gotta splurge, you know? Just not all at once!

Featured Answers

I laughed when I read this. No, you are not the only one. My hubby is a culinary student at the moment, and occasionally we have some rather expensive very tasty things here - smoked salmon, good cheeses, etc. My kids LOVE them, and would gorge themselves if they could. I dole them out little bits at a time, trying to make them last awhile.

2 moms found this helpful

I do that all the time (especially with the daycare kiddos) I will give something more pricey as a snack and if they need more I'll give them something cheaper.

The one thing I don't ration is milk. If they finish the first cup of the day I'll ask them if they want more milk or water. They can always have more milk if they want it.


2 moms found this helpful

I don't in general, although I probably should. We also buy a ton of organic berries, and my kids could easily eat an entire container of organic raspberries in one sitting...EACH. Maybe I"ll do as Jess S. suggested.

I DO ration for price for VERY expensive items. For example, sometimes I buy Martinelli's organic apple juice because it's soooooo delicious. It's also $7 for a gallon. That stuff I ration. But I also only buy it a couple of times a year, as a treat.

As the others said, I ration by health. Juice I ration because of all the condensed sugar in it. One glass a day. Foods high in sodium or processed I often limit to once a week if that.

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers

I ration those types of items, but not because of money, it is because they are unhealthy and full of sugar and other additives. We ration junk and juice, the kids can have all the fresh fruits and veggies, natural cheeses and meats, water, almond milk, ect that they want.

5 moms found this helpful

when i read your title my first thought was 'lobster.'
but the foods you are talking about i do not qualify as expensive. to me they are just junk. my 8 year olds know they exist but we just don't keep them in the house. when we travel or vacation of course it is easy to make a pit stop at a bk or mcd or wendy's and we do that, but even still i'd rather sit down at a restaurant that has options than feed them junk.
so to answer you, i don't ration any kind of foods.

4 moms found this helpful

Please don't take this the wrong way but if I were you I would really think about what your daughter is eating instead of the cost and rationing. I mean if it's just once a month or something no big deal but it sounds from your post like 10 rolls is a normal lunch.

I am not the food police but the ingredient list for those things (and almost all processed frozen foods) is frightening. We can no longer trust that the food on our grocery store shelves is safe. Just because it's there and many people eat it regularly it doesn't mean it isn't really bad for you. If you read the ingredient list for many foods commonly consumed in this country you realize a lot of it is really not even food but a concoction of chemical preservatives, flavors and additives.

Again, please don't take my post the wrong way, I eat junk food sometimes too. I am far from a perfect eater, I've just done a little research into what's happened to our food supply in the last few decades and it scares me.


4 moms found this helpful

This is a good question. We buy a lot of organic berries. They are very expensive! Each of my 4 littles could eat a whole container a day. So, I don't strictly ration them (it's hard to say STOP eating your fruit). But at some point I put them away and say "that's enough for now." They still get a lot of berries daily. And a bunch of different kinds. I've gotten them to the point where the kids are eating mostly fruits and veggies (since that's all I stock) and whole grain bread, plus protein. Our cupboards are a bit sad sometimes because it means MOMMY can never have a treat. I just can't have it in the house or they'll want it.

I certainly ration junk food, but we rarely buy it anymore. Pizza rolls for sure I would not buy. A whole wheat pizza you make? Sure, every now and then. So if we had crackers or anything processed, they'd just get a bit. We only drink milk or water but I do allow 4 oz. of orange juice a day, and I measure it. :)

I don't think it's weird to ration. We bought small plates too so we eat less.

3 moms found this helpful

It's not even really about rationing the food, but serving size. I give my daughter SIX pizza rolls, and then a fruit, a veggie, and usually a few other things. I totally get what you are saying, though...it's about money too!

If you have an Aldi's near you, their pizza rolls are just as good for about half the price. Definitely consider.

I also would never let my daughter have juice all day long...again, that's not about rationing, but about health. I still water her juice 50/50, even though she's seven, and she ONLY has it at breatkfast. Yes, it lasts longer...I guess there are benefits on all sides!

But when I think about actually "rationing" food...I just paid four bucks for a measly box of Girl Scout cookies for my oldest, and she has five left (well, I bought them a week ago, and there's only 15 in the box, and she's not the only one who ate some...)...but she wanted to "save" them and ration them out so they would last longer. I told her to go ahead and enjoy them, and when they're gone, they're gone...so what? There are other snacks.

My thing is...if you run out of the food you want, I am not buying more until the designated date. This happened with her for breakfast this month...she insisted on having her hot foods every day, and now is suffering through an entire week and a half of cereal before I go back to the store. I told her if she'd have spread the cereal out in between, it wouldn't have ended up like this. So I guess I do ration...or at least try to!

3 moms found this helpful

You should ration that stuff because they are processed or unhealthy! This is especially true of the pizza rolls. Juice is pretty much empty calories as well. A diet of pizza rolls and juice will make your child fat. So no, I don't ration any food because of cost but I do ration food that is not nutritious (like potato chips, my son's favorite) because it is not healthy.

3 moms found this helpful

I used to do that unconsiously until my husband called me out and said "its food, it is made to be eaten. If they eat it in one day - too bad. No more until we go to the store again." This being the fresh carton of strawberries or the yogurt I just bought. I learned to ease up and realize I am buying good foods so they eat them and if their little bodies want a carton of strawberries and a veggie tray for lunch - who am I to argue. It's good for them.
We limit the amount of junk and yes, we do reward a well-eaten dinner with a treat (sweets and priviledges).
I don't think you are weird, just being a frugal mom.

3 moms found this helpful

I laughed when I read this. No, you are not the only one. My hubby is a culinary student at the moment, and occasionally we have some rather expensive very tasty things here - smoked salmon, good cheeses, etc. My kids LOVE them, and would gorge themselves if they could. I dole them out little bits at a time, trying to make them last awhile.

2 moms found this helpful

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