I wanted to take a minute to tell you how I save on school lunches. With 4 kids, we make a lot of lunches for the kids to take to school.
Here are 4 ways to help you save on lunch this year.
1. Buy reusable containers.
Ditch the old school plastic baggies and pay the small amount for reusable containers. Not only can you reuse them which will save you more money in the long run, but it will also save you time. Opening and closing baggies is very time consuming, but tossing stuff in a container is much quicker.
I also like to buy silicone cupcake holders to help separate food out even more. It is great to put your treat in, your crackers or chips in too. They are a great way to divide your food even more than just the three spaces that are in the containers that we bought. Here are the three different kinds I recommend. I personally love the rectangle ones.
- 12-Pack Rectangular Silicone Reusable Baking Cup, Six Vibrant Colors – on sale!
- Set of 12 Reusable Cupcake Liners – on sale!
- 12-Pack Triangle Silicone Reusable Baking Cup, Six Vibrant Colors
2. Ditch the Juice Boxes, buy an reusable water bottle instead.
Juice boxes can be really high, even with a coupon. Save them only for special days. We splurged and bought my children an insulated water bottle for their school boxes. They will drink water (toss in a lemon for a fun surprise), crystal light (which is much cheaper), lemonade, or even juice or tea (yes, my kids love tea).
These water bottles might seem expensive, but we are going on our THIRD year of using them, so they hold up very nicely. Here are my favorites right now.
The point is… your kids can have a fun drink without the extra sugar and cost involved with juice boxes.
3. Menu Plan… Menu Plan… Menu Plan
Planning out your lunches will definitely save you money. It will help you use the food you already have on hand and keep you from packing the same lunches every single day.
Have you children help you with the menu plan. If they help you create it, then they will be more likely to eat it. We made a menu plan chalk board for just a few dollars and you could easily do something similar. Your kids can help you create a lunch menu plan each week.
4. Keep a Variety in your menu
You don’t have to pack a sandwich every single day. In fact, sandwiches can get a little expensive. We are going to have a rule at our house that you can only eat the same meal twice per week. For those of you that have children who will only eat PBJ sandwiches, this will help your children think outside the box.
Here are a few more “out of the box ideas”
- Quesadillas – cheese or chicken (cook and shred the chicken and then freeze it. That way you have it ready to make one quickly)
- Turkey Roll Ups (with tortillas or with cheese) – My kids love slices of turkey rolled up around cheese
- Homemade lunchables (make your own with slices of cheese, turkey or ham, and crackers)
- Tacos (use a thermos to help keep the meat hot) – toss in a tortilla and cheese in there and they can make their own tacos
- Hot dog mixed with macaroni and cheese (my kids still love this) – you can use a thermos to keep it hot
- Soup – my kids love soup – make a big batch and then freeze it in small batches (you can even freeze them in ice cube trays) so you can heat only what you need – use a thermos to keep hot
Those are a few ideas to get you started. I’ll definitely be thinking of more ideas. Don’t forget your vegetables, fruit and dessert with each lunch.
These are very easy ways that you can easily implement in packing your school lunch to help you save on school lunches.
What do you do to save time and money when packing your children’s lunch?
Make sure you check out our Lunch page for some ideas that you can use to pack in yours school lunch.