Packing lunch is usually considered a bigger savings, but I think that’s generally dependent upon what you’re packing. At the school where I teach, kids get lunch for $1.80 which includes a main dish, two sides, and a milk. That seems like a pretty good deal to me. My daughter prefers packed lunches, though, so I try to accommodate her tastes when possible. For the most part I try to pack leftovers of meals that we have at home for my own lunch. When I’m putting away the leftovers, I use single-serving containers so I can just grab and go in the morning. That works well if we have leftovers, but sometimes I make just enough for one meal. And usually I’m the only one who eats them for lunch. My husband doesn’t like to pack leftovers because he won’t hassle with heating them up. My daughter is pretty selective when it comes to food. She doesn’t necessarily choose quality over quantity, or texture instead of taste. Instead, she just goes with her old standbys. For example, she won’t eat cheese on sandwiches AT ALL, ever, except on hamburgers. It’s difficult to pack lunch that’s easy to fix, affordable, and convenient while still maintaining some level of healthful nutrition. She rarely eats lunch at school, so it’s pretty challenging to come up with a decent rotation of lunches that we can all enjoy.
Thankfully, I can use coupons to make it a little less expensive to put together a decent lunch for all of us. Here are some ideas that got me started.
Breakfast for lunch: a variation of our favorite breakfast-for-supper meals. For the cereal choices, my daughter would eat these without milk. I would keep a carton of milk at work to use on mine.
- SAVE $1.00 on Yogurt when you purchase any TWO Kellogg’s® Crunchy Nut™ Cereals (10.8 oz. or Larger, Any Flavor, Mix or Match)
- SAVE $1.00 on Juice when you purchase any TWO Kellogg’s Krave® Cereals (11 oz. or Larger, Any Flavor, Mix or Match)
- SAVE $1.00 On any THREE Kellogg’s® Nutri-Grain® Cereal Bars (8 ct. ONLY, Any Flavor, Mix or Match)
- Save $1.00 On Any Two (2) DOLE® Fruit Smoothie Shakers
Appetizer lunch: finger foods at their best! I’d roll up the meats or pile the pepperonis in a cute tower.
- SAVE $1.00 on ONE (1) package of any Oscar Mayer Carving Board Pulled Pork (or any Carving Board Meats)
- SAVE $1.00 on the purchase of any two (2) HORMEL® Pepperoni packages
- SAVE $1.00 on ONE (1) PLANTERS Mixed Nuts or Cashews (26/27oz)(Walmart)
- SAVE $1.00 on TWO (2) CRYSTAL LIGHT Liquid Drink Mix (Walmart)
- SAVE $1.00 on TWO (2) JELL-O Ready To Eat Puddings or Gelatins (4 pack)(Walmart)
For those days when you’re in a super huge hurry, Lunchables could be a quick option. I generally avoid these because of the sodium content and because my daughter doesn’t eat all of the components of these quick lunches.
What do you think of these lunch ideas? If you have any easy lunch combos to share, I’d love to try them!