Well, we are nearing the end of ball season. However we are trying to get rain-called games made up in the next week before tournaments start next week. Sooooo we are spending the next 4 evenings at the ball park (weather permitting). I'm all about supporting the local concession stand, but I try to limit my purchase to a bag of popcorn (fifty cents). If we ate at the ball park it would cost at least $15 for all five of us to have one meal item (hot dog or walking taco) and one drink. You all know it wouldn't really stop at that. We'd have to get candy, a second hot dog, or some other 'very important' item.
We do a lot of picnicking in the summer. It's a cheap activity that can be made fun with the right attitude. Standard picnic fare for us is a sandwich (pbj, lunchmeat, cheese, egg or tuna or chicken salad, etc), fruit and/or vegetable (apples, strawberries, bananas, grapes, carrot sticks, celery/peanut butter), something salty (chips, pretzels, chex mix), water or other cold drink. We mix and match.
My mom often saves my tush with a fun treat sack at the ball park. She works at Fareway and often comes to the game from work. She usually brings cold drinks, cheese sticks, and Bugles or something similar. So that changes things up a bit and I don't have to hear quite as much whining about having the same old stuff.
I few things that I have done to change things up a bit: using pita bread or wraps to serve the sandwiches, dips for fruits or veggies, vary the trail mix with whatever goodies we have in the cupboard. One day I packed hard boiled eggs instead of sandwiches. On Tuesdays we usually have some sort of leftovers from our stand at the Farmers' Market. Cookies, chex mix, or rice crispy treats are favorites of the kids'.
When we aren't running to the ballpark from another activity I try to take advantage of my crockpot or grill to serve something either before (or after) the game. The bottom line is trying to serve a healthy (ish) meal without breaking the bank. What are some of your suggestions for items to include in a picnic meal?