expensive school lunches

On a Budget? 6 Tips to Save Money on Your Kids’ School Lunches

Kids need a healthy lunch to get them through a long school day, but time-crunched parents struggle to put lunches together quickly without spending a bundle on convenience foods. But a little extra planning and initial investment will stretch those dollars without sacrificing time or nutrition.

expensive school lunches

1. Avoid Prepackaged Foods

packaged chips

Single serving snack packages are a quick and convenient way to fill out a lunch box, but the expense is not worth the time savings. Instead, buy snacks like chips, pretzels and crackers in larger, bulk sizes and portion into individual plastic bags or containers.

2. Skip Those Juice Boxes!

reusable drink bottles

Juice boxes and other single serve drinks are expensive and not always the most healthful choice. Buy 100% juice and milk in large sizes and pour into a reusable drink bottle or recycle a plastic water bottle. You can also freeze it to make an instant freezer pack to keep food cold. It will be thawed and ready to drink by lunchtime. Or, just pack water. It’s healthy and free.

3. Try Going Homemade

homemade lunch for kids

Popular packaged options such as Uncrustables and Lunchables can quickly blow your grocery budget. But they are easy to recreate at home. For the cost of a loaf of bread, peanut butter, jelly and a sandwich press, you can have three times as many sandwiches waiting to go from freezer to lunchbox. Or, use a divided lunch container and fill with an assortment of crackers, cheese, meat, fruits and vegetables that are tastier and more nutritious than store bought versions.

4. Try Bread Alternatives for Sandwiches – It’s Often Cheaper!

bread alternatives

Who says you have to make a sandwich with plain bread? Tortillas, English muffins, bagels, biscuits and crackers are all tasty alternatives to bread. There are so many different choices, you can buy whatever is on sale that week and save even more money.

5. Have Leftovers?  Pack ’em Up!


Dinner leftovers can be a delicious alternative to traditional sandwiches for lunch. Pasta, macaroni and cheese, chicken nuggets and even pizza travel well in the proper containers. A hot lunch is always satisfying for little appetites.

6. Remember – Quality Lasts Longer Than Quantity!

quality lunch boxes

Invest in quality, reliable supplies to make transporting lunch easy and versatile. Having a lunch bag that can be used for hot or cold items, a good thermos and sturdy, leak proof containers makes it simple to pack a wide variety of food and drinks.

Follow these tips to ease your morning routine and make school lunches that your kids will clamor for.

Author: Vikki McMahon

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