Packable Kids Lunches: Finding Freedom Friday

by GettingFreedom on August 21, 2009

School is in full swing, which is rather hard to believe. Our school has an awesome lunch program, where they have 3 things to choose from. Two of those three choices is a hot meal of some form, and the other is a form of salad, with milk they cost .80¢! Honestly, there are very few things that I can pack at home that can beat that. But, on occassion, the children sometimes want to bring their lunch and eat with their “lunch packing” friends. I completely understand, as I have been there before, but I have to get creative and make the most out of our options.
My list of frugal packable lunches is quite short–I’m really looking forward to your suggestions!
  • Leftovers. My oldest could live off of cold leftovers, especially pizza and lasagna. While it weirds me out just a tad, he is a-okay with it, and since it is frugal..I guess I am, too.
  • PB & J on HM WW Bread.
  • Homemade Lunchables. You do know that they are waaayyy cheaper to just buy your own crackers, cheese, and lunchmeat, right?? We don’t do this very often because my piglets could eat their weight in them. No matter what else I serve with them.
  • Tortilla Wrap Sandwiches. Something about serving a regular sandwich on tortilla bread, as my kids call it, just makes it extra special. For even more fun, slice them into disks, then pack them. The fillings of these are endless! My mom used to make one with Roast Beef, lettuce, and a pickle/cream cheese mixture. Yummo!
  • Soups in a thermos
  • Lunch Meat/Tuna sandwiches loaded with veggies. Tuna can be fairly frugal as long as you don’t go overboard with your servings. In additon to your meat, load it up with veggies your kids love, not only to pack in nutrition, but to bulk it u. You can use less meat this way.
  • Corn Dog Muffins
  • Cheeseburger Muffins.

For sides/snacks:

  • HM Granola bars.
  • HM Granola and yogurt.
  • Oatmeal Raisin cookies
  • HM Trail/Snack Mix
  • Applesauce (home canned is the best!)
  • Of course fresh fruit.
  • Smoothies. My husband packs these all the time. I make up a blender full (throwing in some wheat germ and ground flax) and freeze them in small containers. He packs them in his lunch box. When lunch comes, they have thawed a bit, and are perfect!

Don’t forget to tuck a note in and let your little one know you love them! :)

What are your favorite things to pack?

°Feel free to link up to your post, not your homepage. And don’t forget to link back here, so your readers can see all the other ideas!

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

N. August 21, 2009 at 11:44 am

Funny story. My picky little NEW kindergartner started school on Wednesday. He is a sack lunch (well Spiderman lunchbox) kid.

He said he wanted a peanut butter sandwich, goldfish and "tootsie rolls" (which means a swiss cake roll from Little Debbie .. bad mom, I know, but he's addicted). He wanted water to drink.

So, I packed him his little lunch (and teared up at the though of him eating it in a school!!)

When he got in the car Wednesday afternoon he had eaten one bite of his half sandwich, ALL of his tootsie rolls and no goldfish. So basically he'd eaten nothing but dessert.

SO yesterday we called in "Special Agent Oso" and set his lunch eating up in steps. I labeled his lunch items with 1, 2, and 3. Step 1: sandwich. Step 2: tootsie roll (because that's probably all he'll have time to eat anyway). Step 3: goldfish.

When he got in the car yesterday he was SO EXCITED because he had eaten his lunch in proper order.

Btw .. our lunches are $2.00 !! Although they get about 5 choices, with two older kids choosing to eat school lunches everyday, I am gladly packing his lunch!

Great suggestions for some variety! Thanks!



Bree August 21, 2009 at 2:19 pm

My kids like homemade hummus with pita bread and I add in carrots and celery. Lunch at our school is $2 so my kid is a lunch packer! On occasion though I let her take money so she can eat with her "school lunch-buying friends"


Lightening August 22, 2009 at 10:14 am

Oh, I hate packing lunches. If I could get them for 80c, I'd be buying them too!!! Our lunch orders are around $5 (and that's Australian dollars!). Suffice to say, my kids get to buy their lunch as a treat about 3-4 times a year if they're lucky.


Cathy August 25, 2009 at 4:46 pm

I'm totally going to make those corn dog muffins! They sound yummy to ME, too!


Anonymous December 10, 2009 at 3:03 am

Dear Author !
It was specially registered at a forum to tell to you thanks for support.


Taz June 1, 2011 at 6:32 am

WOW 80c and $2 meals at schools?! thats friggin amazing! how cheap! Here in Western Australia your looking at no less than $5 for a lunch. And thats nothing fancy, and it can easily get higher than that if you dont bring a drink from home. Cant believe it…80c or even $2 is a bargain! You’d get maybe a small bit of toast with cheese melted on it for 80c! The average family’s wage in America must be significantly less than here…coz it seems the cost of living there is crazily cheaper in every way too. PS another yummy lunchbox filler is cheese and vegemite scrolls. Dont know what the american copy of vegemite is… maybe marmite? anyways google cheese and vegemite scrolls…mmmmm


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