Affordable, Fun School Lunches | Back to School Lunchboxes

On Monday morning, I will be waking up bright and early to pack Evan’s school lunch.  We pack for lots of reasons, but mainly so I can have control over his lunch and what he is eating. His school lunches are rather expensive, so I end up saving money along the way. I know many of you struggle with the affordability of school lunches vs. the quality of the lunch they receive.  If  your school is not serving quality lunches, this is one time where I say cheaper is not better.

As usual, you will want to combine coupons and sales to get the best prices on your lunches.

Ditch the Brown & Plastic Bags

Evan likes to use his Goodbyn Lunchbox, which saves money in the long run.  By using reusable containers and his Goodbyn, we save money on Ziploc bags and packaging.  We got the Goodbyn for school last year and will be using it again this year. It help really well.

You don’t have to use a box like a Goodbyn, you can use simple Ziploc divided containers.  If you want more of a Bento Box feel, check out Easy Lunchbox for  affordable, reusable containers. They are a “Bento Boxish”, without the Bento Box price.

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 Keep it Simple

You can do some amazing things with your kids lunches, but the reality is you don’t have to go crazy with school lunches. I like to keep it simple  and it saves money. I stick to basics – and use what we already have. Simple lunches can be fantastic – check out these balanced, but simple lunch boxes.

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Skip Prepackaged Items

Unless you can get a packaged item really cheap with coupons, try to skip the convenience food.  Instead of buying individual yogurts, buy larger and divide it up yourself.  Prepacked cheese cubes can cost three times as much per unit.  Buy block cheese and cut it yourself.  Pass on juice boxes – buy a container and refill it. Send water to school instead of juice.  Take advantage of your school’s free mik program (no flavored milk please!).

Here is a list of other snack ideas for both at home and on the go.

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Make it Yourself

Not only can you cut the costs, you can have control over the ingredients. Try baking muffins or snack balls on the weekend with your children. Make enough for an entire week worth of lunches.



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Change up your Sandwich

There is no rule that your sandwich has to have bread!  Meat and cheese can be the most expensive part of your child’s school lunch.  Try an apple sandwich instead!   You can also use tortillas as well- fill them with veggies and less meat. Your sandwich doesn’t have to be sliced bread, if bagels or muffins are on sale – use them.

Try skipping the bread all together and make lunchmeat roll ups.  Make sandwiches with leftover meatloaf or chicken.

If you are sticking to peanut butter and jelly, use cookie cutters or sandwich cookies to create shapes and animals. The lunchtaker has some great ideas.

Check out places like the Funky Lunch to spice up your sandwiches by creating characters and more.

Want some lunch box inspirations – be sure to check out these fantastic blogs for ideas (these ladies have some fabulous recipes, be sure to check them out)

Amy from Amy’s Finer Things

Amy from Mom’s Toolbox

Linda from The Gluten Free Homemaker

Liz from Hoosier Homemade

Lynn from Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures

Toni from The Happy Housewife

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