Ten Ways To Save On Foods Labs | Family and Consumer Sciences/Home Economics

January 26, 2017 2 Comments

save money on groceries foods labs family and consumer sciences teachers

I’ve always been a pretty frugal person which has served me well as a Family and Consumer Sciences teacher. Food prices have been rising much faster than my budget allotment. Here are some tips for how I’ve been able to keep up.

Portion size

Cut portions down as small as possible for students to still achieve the objective. My mini angel food cakes are my favorite example of this.

Skip demonstrating

I don’t demonstrate my soft yeast dough pretzels. Instead, students make their recipe as they watch the episode Good Eats: Pretzels Logic.

Or, only demonstrate

I used to have each kitchen make their own batch of yeast dinner roll dough. Now I only demonstrate the dough and each student gets to form their own roll. Students really take their one roll seriously. I used to end up with a lot of waste.


Freeze anything that won’t get used it a week from applesauce to bacon to yogurt to pumpkin.

Stock upĀ on sales

If you are picking up groceries and notice a sale, stock up on as much as you can use before it would go bad or as much as you need for the year if it is freezable.

Stock up seasonally

Buy canned pumpkin (and most baking ingredients) at Thanksgiving. Baking ingredients are cheap again at Easter time.

Consider seasonal labs

Students who take Culinary Essentials in the fall learn knife skills by making salsa with free garden produce. Students who take it over the winter learn knife skills with a root vegetable soup.

Do. Not. Share. Disposable. Products.

I do not buy paper plates, plastic utensils, plastic bags, or anything of the like for my students. At the beginning of the term I recommend that my students keep a gallon size freezer bag in their folder in case they have leftovers to bring home. No container, no leftovers.

Eliminate disposables for yourself too

Right now my students have muffins sitting on the counter in their stock pots. It’s a little weird but it works! At my last school I had some room in my Perkins funding to get these beautiful Cambro squares. (sigh!) They held everything, were freezer safe, and if you flipped them upside down they were big enough to be a cake take! I know from my time in catering that they take all sorts of abuse and can save your department in the long run.

Dry Milk

Dry milk does not offer much cost savings over liquid but I am able to mix it as I need it so there is never any waste. I would purchase liquid milk for dairy-specific labs but it’s not necessary for a cup here or there in quick breads, for example.

How do you keep your foods budget balanced? Share your tips in the comments below!



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  • Stacy November 18, 2019 at 7:34 pm

    Great tips. I use many of those same ones. One I use that really helps is at the beginning of the school year, I put a cart in the cafeteria with a sign that reads “Throwing out that milk?!?! Donate it here for Mrs. Z’s food classes.” I put an announcement on our daily announcements for the first week of school. I get so many cartons a day! Kids would just throw them out at breakfast and lunch. Now it is not being wasted and I just throw them in the freezer and thaw them as I need them for labs.

    • kaylapins November 19, 2019 at 2:22 pm

      Great idea!

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