Michelle Klavuhn didn't set out to become a mom influencer. But in 2017, when her daughter was approaching two years old, she noticed her little one picking her way around the plate. "I didn't want a picky eater," she says. "I love food, and I wanted healthier options for her." Michelle read books, she scoured food blogs, she consulted her daughter's pediatrician. After noticing Adalynn's interest in shapes, she went back to the Internet, where she found content creators from all over the globe sharing playful approaches to meal time. "I was so inspired by this one creator in Japan. The culture treats food so differently than here, and it really opened up my eyes."
Fast forward to 2021, when Michelle started sharing some of her daughter's cute, quirky, and creative meals on social media. At first it was her friends who commented, then friends of friends. Pretty soon she had a following of fans eager to see how she'd transform Adalynn's lunches and snacks into fantastical finger foods. Now she has 1.4 million followers (and counting) on TikTok.
But with all those meals comes a mile-long grocery list, which can rack up quickly. So Michelle trusts Walmart to give her the best price on high-quality ingredients. She also recommends never going to the grocery store hungry (for obvious reasons), meal planning for the week, relying on leftovers, and definitely taking advantage of Walmarts online ordering and curbside pick-up. "Walmart is close to me, but the mobile ordering app is so convenient. I use it weekly, if not twice a week."
Here are Michelle's top ingredients for feeding everyone in the family––and how Adalynn's lunchbox gets its fresh, fun flavor.
Every creative home chef knows that coconut flakes are a must-have for baking, smoothies, and in this case, peanut butter energy balls. With this 7 oz. bag coming in just over $2.50, the options are endless for creative takes on baked goods and more.
Whether they're mixed into muffins or used to make a funny face on pancakes, Michelle uses chocolate chips to add a sweet twist to Adalynn's snacks. They're getting added to the peanut butter energy balls as a sweet and crunchy surprise.
In addition to using peanut butter for her energy balls, Michelle upgrades Adalynn's PB&J with cookie cutters in the shape of rocket ships, letters of the alphabet, and more. Each snack is made even sweeter by the fact that 18 oz. of creamy, delicious Great Value Peanut Butter doesn't even top $2.
What better way to sweeten your snacks––like Michelle's frozen yogurt bars, energy calls, and more––than with a wholesome twist like antioxidant-rich raw honey. At Walmart, 16 oz. of this easy-to-squeeze sweetener is just over $6.
Hot dogs aren't just for game days! For Adalynn's after-school snack, she's making a hot dog octopus. Who knew beef franks could be so creative?
Because Michelle likes to make Adalynn's lunch out of everyday staples the whole family can enjoy, these crescent rolls are a pantry mainstay. This time, Michelle is making pizza bites for Adalynn's snack, but adds, "They're great for sandwiches or by themselves."
Whether it's pizza-inspired pasta salad or Michelle's irresistible pizza bites, nearly all savory snacks can benefit from this 6 oz. pack of pepperoni––just under $3––which makes it easy to stock up on the rest of the grocery list.
"Most versatile sauce around! I use it for the obvious, like pasta and meatballs, cheese bites, or mini pizzas. I also might add it to her lunchbox for pita pizza," says Michelle.
Busy parents, children, working professionals––everyone loves string cheese. On days when Michelle needs an easy and wholesome addition to Adalynn's lunchbox, a string cheese is the perfect fix. And with this 12-count bag coming in just under $3, it's a no-brainer, too.
Bake with it, spread it on turkey sandwiches, or in this case, make perfectly snackable fruit bars with it. This Great Value Cream Cheese is just over $3, making it an optimal choice for sweet, savory, and affordable treats.
Whether you're adding a cinnamon-y twist to S'mores or pairing them with yogurt, peanut butter, or cream cheese, these graham crackers have 8 grams of whole grains per serving and make for sweet, crunchy treat at snacktime and beyond.
There's no better way to get savvy on a budget without sacrificing your favorite foods than by stocking up on dried pasta. Perfect for whipping up homemade mac and cheese or making one of Adalynn's favorites, macaroni bites, this 2 lb. box of elbow pasta isn't even $2, making it easy to keep the pantry full of everyday essentials.
From turkey roll-ups to heart-shaped cheese slices, cheddar cheese is a mainstay in Adalynn's lunchbox. It's getting paired with the gouda in the macaroni bites for an extra-cheesy kick.
Michelle's secret for adding a little complexity (and extra cheesiness) to Adalynn's macaroni bites? This smoky, nutty, melty cheese. Plus, it lends itself to sandwiches, burgers, soups, and more, making it a staple in the cheese drawer.
When everyday staples like milk ring in under $2, that creates a bigger budget for the fun stuff. Michelle makes lunchtime fun with playful toothpicks, charming cookie cutters, and perfectly organized containers.
Butter makes everything better. And with 16 oz. just under $4, it's easy to keep this high-quality, melty must-have on hand without breaking the budget.
All product prices are accurate at the time of article publishing.