I’m always on the lookout for cheap school lunch ideas! With my busy large family finding the time and making sure the kids have healthy lunch and snacks can be overwhelming.
Children need a healthy balanced diet in order to function at their best and to be able to learn and grow. It is important to pack a healthy and nutritious lunch that will provide energy throughout the day. Let’s face it from the early morning rush to the end of the day is LONG for our little ones.
Luckily there are many ways to give our kids what we want them to have, what they want while staying within our budget. Besides saving money and making sure my kids have a nutritious lunch I think it also gives us more ways to bond with our little ones. As our kids grow older making them responsible for a part of making their lunch or cleaning up their lunch box after school is perfect for setting chores and tasks at an early age.
I also love sneaking in these cute, sweet, and inspirational, printable note cards. It’s just another way to let our kids know we’re thinking about them during the day.
Here are some cheap school lunch box ideas
Keep it fresh
Select the correct bag or lunch box that is favorable, as this can encourage your child to eat the food within. Invest in some reusable containers and utensils, and a reusable sports bottle or thermos flask. Another essential item for a lunch box is an ice pack, as these keep food chilled and fresh. Alternatively, freeze a bottle of water and take it out of the freezer in plenty of time so that it can thaw before lunchtime, this way everything stays cool at no extra cost. In summer put a bottle of drink in the freezer, and in the winter put it in the refrigerator the night before, place it in the center of the lunch box to keep everything cold and fresh.
Pack the right food
Pack what your children like, as sending food that they won’t eat is just wasteful. However, keep it healthy, and try to encourage good habits. It does no harm to have a few favorites, providing there is a good balance of foods. By packing tasty food that is preferable, it is more likely to be eaten. Get your children involved with selecting the foods and preparing the lunch the night before. Give them options of foods they can have, and guide them to healthier alternatives, with the prerequisite of packing fruit or veggies. This way they get to eat what they like, and they still get a healthy item to eat, too. Also, grab these FREE printable lunch notes to add some fun to your child’s lunch!
Buy fresh foods
Avoid buying processed ready-made individually served packed foods, as these are generally more costly, as you are paying for the convenience. These are geared towards children with their fun packaging, however, they are unhealthier than their non-processed alternatives and the portions are generally small. Fresh food is not only more healthful, but it is also cost effective. It may take more time to prepare, however, get the children involved with preparing lunch the night before and they will enjoy it more the following day, as they had a helping hand in preparing it. This makes everyone happy and saves money.
Wise food buys
Involve your children with food shopping. Teach and guide them to healthy foods and food that costs less, and in time they will know which foods are better for them and the environment. Give them options, and allow them to select the fruit and veggies for the week and other tasty foods that they would like to see in their lunch box. This gives them the opportunity to choose food that they are more likely to enjoy, and you can guide their choices, so everyone is happy.
Buy in bulk, as larger packs are generally better value for money. Certain items that are in high demand such as fruit and veggies, and non-perishables can be bought in bulk, and this will save time and money. Make use of the freezer, and freeze any extras to reduce waste.
Don’t let it go to waste
Leftovers are ideal to use for lunch, and these provide a tasty healthy alternative to sandwiches. Cook extra with the evening meal and use it for the following day’s lunch to save time and money. Time permitting, cook a batch of cookies or muffins for a tasty treat, these will not only taste better, but they are healthier and cost a fraction of the price to bake. Baking extra while cooking the evening meal is a cost-effective way of producing healthy alternatives to give the lunch box a bit of diversity.
School lunches can be fun, nutritious and inexpensive. Being frugal doesn’t mean it has to be boring or plain. Healthy options can still be provided, without compromising on taste. Using these ideas not only reduces expenditures, but it is also better for the environment, as there is less waste.
Pack those healthy school lunches with some extra fun. This FREE lunch box notes will only take a few minutes to print, cut and slip into your kiddo’s lunch box. It’s the perfect way to make them smile, giggle, or just give that extra encouragement.