3 Money Saving Tips to Stretch Your Back-to-School Food Budget

Cent$ible Nutrition News • July 2022 • Volume 25 | Number 8

Back-to-school can be a stressful time. And as the world returns to normal, our back-to-school routines may look a bit different this year. Read on for tips that can help your family continue to eat healthy as you shift back into school schedules, while keeping your budget on track.

Back to School Meals Budgeting Tips

  1. Make a list of everything you need and shop ahead of time. Planning meals for the week means you do not have to rely on more expensive convenience food or eating out. This also allows you to keep an eye out for special deals, use coupons, and save trips to the grocery store. Click to view our 2-week menu plan for more ideas.
  2. Find staple after school go-to snacks. Fruits and vegetables are simple solutions for after-school snacks. Keep whole, fresh fruits, like apples and bananas, easily available on the table or countertop. Fruit and vegetables, like melon, carrots, and celery can be cut and portioned ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator. Portioning them into single serving sizes makes for simple solutions to after-school snacks. Canned fruit in light syrup, 100% juice, or frozen fruit are also great longer lasting options. Remember to keep cut, canned, and frozen fruit cold in lunch boxes.
  3. Look for other ways to save on food expenses. Consider enrolling your child in school breakfast and lunch. The National School Lunch Program must meet federal requirements for nutrition that include standards for milk, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, so you know your children are receiving a healthy meal. Participating in free or reduced-cost meals means less worry about preparing or paying for breakfast and/or lunch for families and it means there is more money left in the home food budget. 

Partnership News and Updates

The School Lunch Program in Wyoming

Universal School Lunch for all students in Wyoming ended on June 30, 2022, which means families will now need to pay for school lunch and breakfast unless they apply and qualify for free and reduced-cost meals.

  • If you applied for school lunch in the 2021-2022 school year, you will have access to the free and reduced cost meals through the first 30 days of school, but will need to reapply to keep benefits for the 2022-2023 school year. If you did not apply last year, now is the time to do so!

children high fiving while eating lunch

In Wyoming, each school district has its own application and meal charge policy, which means all interested caregivers should contact their local school districts for a free and reduced application.

  • Qualification for free and reduced-cost meals is based on household income and family size.
  • If you qualify for SNAP benefits, your children may qualify for free or reduced cost meals! Already are enrolled in SNAP benefits? Your children may be automatically enrolled in the School Lunch Program. Contact your school district to verify you are automatically enrolled in their School Lunch Program.

Interested in more budget tips? Click on contact your local CNP Educator to get started!

Download this newsletter as a PDF.

July's Feature Recipe

Pizza Pinwheels on plate with wood background

Pizza Pinwheels

These pinwheels are perfect for lunch or as an after-school snack!


  • Whole wheat or flour tortilla
  • 2 Tbsp Tomato Sauce
  •   ¼ tsp Italian Seasoning
  •  2-3 Bell pepper ¼” slices, vertically sliced (optional)
  • 5-6 Spinach leave
  • 1-2 Cheese Slices
  • 4-5 Pepperoni slices (optional)


  1. Wash hands with warm, soapy water for 20 seconds.
  2. Spread the sauce and seasoning on the tortilla.
  3. Add toppings onto the tortilla.
  4. Roll the tortilla tightly.
  5. Slice into 8 circles.

Makes 8 pieces | 1 serving

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* The Cent$ible Nutrition Program is funded by USDA SNAP-Ed and EFNEP. SNAP-Ed assists individuals and families who receive, or are eligible to receive, benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). EFNEP assists families and youth with limited resources  in acquiring the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and changed behaviors necessary for nutritionally sound diets and contributes to their personal development and the improvement of total family diet and nutritional welfare. Visit our income-qualification page to learn more. 

This material was funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – SNAP. This institution is an equal opportunity provider. This material was funded by USDA’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program-EFNEP. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Issued in furtherance of extension work, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Kelly Crane, Director, University of Wyoming Extension, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Wyoming Extension, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming 82071.

The University of Wyoming is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution.

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