Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, but lunch is what gets you through until dinner time. For public school kids, the price of school lunches rises each year and it is hard for some parents to keep up. For me, it’s trying to keep the 4 kids from snacking on junk food all day and try to get them something healthy. Also, to send my husband to work with lunch so that he doesn’t have to eat out.
Here are some money saving lunch ideas for frugal families.
1. Take your lunch. This goes for parents as well as kids. We are tempted to eat out with the group everyday, too. That adds up after awhile. But if you already have your lunch planned out ahead of time, packed and with you you’re much less likely to opt for the drive through. Also, when you pack your own lunch, you know what is in it so it is easier to avoid a lot of unhealthy fats and junk food.
2. Make a sandwich. Not just any plain old sandwich… spruce it up with a wrap, pita, crustless bread, or bun sandwich. Varying the bread each day will help keep it from becoming boring. If you fall into a rut, you’re going to ditch your packed lunch and head out to eat. Many kids like bread without crust for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. This makes lunch fun and your kids are more likely to eat it if they have a creative variety.
3. Bottled water and drink crystals. Water has never been the same since they came out with those handy packs of flavorings. You can find them everywhere. Best of all you can save some calories and look for the ones that have five calories or less. You can turn a bottle of water into a drink that is better than soda. Kids love them too.
4. Dessert courtesy of home. Homemade granola can be shaped into bars and used as an after lunch snack. How about dried fruit pieces? They are sweeter than candy bars and won’t spike your blood sugar. It’s okay to have a ‘bad’ treat every now and then, but even at those times you can choose a healthier option than chips or candy. It will also save you a ton when you avoid the vending machines. Consider making a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies so you can pack a few in your lunch. This is great for portion control and for that sweet tooth.
5. Ice packs. The perfect complement to an insulated bag, they allow you to take yogurt or a sandwich with meat and not have to worry about it getting warm before it’s time to eat.
6. Veggie sticks. Eat them with your sandwich and add some Ranch dressing for dipping. This is also good for that afternoon snack cravings that you might get.
Lunch doesn’t have to come from the school cafeteria or the drive through to be good. Coming from home, it can be healthier, taste better and cost less.
Read more great articles from Dawn at slopswap.com.