Posted on Thursday, September 3rd, 2015 at 7:00 am
The start of a new school year means that people need to get back into the habit of packing school lunches. What you choose to include, and how you put it into the lunch box, really makes a difference. Here are a few ideas that will help your family save money on school lunches.
Plan Around What is On Sale
You can save some money if you pay attention to what is on sale at the grocery store. It helps if you aren’t particularly brand loyal. Compare the big package of individual bags of chips from one brand with a similar one from another brand. One is bound to be less expensive than the other.
This plan also works if you intend to include crackers or cookies in your child’s lunch. Pick the brand that is on sale. Or, choose the one that you have a coupon for. Look for the store brand and compare the price to the big name brands.
Stock Up When Items are On Sale
How many pre-packaged snacks do your kids go through in a week’s worth of school lunches? It might cost less in the long run if you stock up on their favorite snacks while they are on sale. These kinds of snacks don’t tend to expire quickly. Spend the money now, while the product is on sale. Use them up before buying more.
Variety is Important
While some kids prefer to have the exact same kind of lunch every single school day, there are other kids who get bored with food that they have eaten too often. When this happens, kids often choose not to eat the food they have grown tired of. They may be throwing it out instead of eating it. That’s a waste of food and money.
To prevent food boredom, parents should change things up. Offer baby carrots one day, then switch them for cut celery sticks or cherry tomatoes. Applesauce might be more appealing than a huge apple. Grapes are bite sized and easy to eat. Make a regular sandwich one day, and substitute the bread for a tortilla the next day.
Prepare Ahead to Save Time
Want to cut down on the before-school-chaos? Prepare snacks for lunches ahead of time. Divide up a package of cookies or crackers into individual portions. Put each portion into a resealable plastic bag.
Cut up some fresh vegetables the night before, and store them in the refrigerator in individual airtight containers. Make everything as “grab and go” as possible. Your kids might be able to quickly choose their own snacks and put it into the lunchbox themselves.