School Lunch Ideas

I slice them once through the middle and flip the top off, then I add the mayo and mustard.

Next, comes the ham and cheese.

Then I flip it over and cut 6 sandwiches.

I have not found any good deals lately on pudding or jello so I have been making my own for almost nothing. I have a bunch of the small ziplock containers, I make either jello or pudding the night before and toss them in their lunches the next day.

The trick is getting them to remember to bring back the container, or not leaving it in their backpacks!
This day we had grapes, juice, turkey and cheese sandwiches and rice krispie treats or a 100 calorie bar.

Today they had Capri Suns, clementines, ham and cheese and pudding.

Tuesday the had Juicy Juice, apples, granola bars, peanut butter and honey and a couple kids grabbed rice krispy treats.

I try and stay under $4-5 dollars a day for all lunches. So about $20 - $25 a week on lunches. I buy bread and rolls on sale and freeze them. I bought 13 packages of string cheese for under $.75 a bag, then I freeze them and pull some out every few days. I also freeze lunch meat and load up when I get it on sale. The snacks are always very cheap at Kroger mega events. We go through an enormous amount of fruit, I always try and price match it at Wal-Mart. The kids eat fruit for breakfast, lunch, snack and after dinner... I actually have to hide any kind of berries and the little clementines. They can eat 5 lbs of clementines in one sitting.

I would love to hear what you make for lunches!


Zelda said...

For the last couple of years I have bought a six pack of the small size drinks (like Gatorade or crangrape juice) and reused/refilled the bottles with juice every day, until they got brittle from the dishwasher. My kids had a hard time remembering to bring them home when they used paper bags, but when we switched to cloth lunch bags, I get all my containers back! Plus I can put an ice pack in without the condensation tearing a hole in the bag. This year we went ahead and bought kid sized Camelbak bottles to use all year. (They better last, they were not cheap!) If they last as long as the Crayola sandwich containers (we've been using the same ones for at least 2 years) it will be worth it.

Philip, Melissa, & Summer said...

I only have one to worry about, but she is a very picky eater. I have to be creative, and so far we have only had one week of experience. She likes bagels with cream cheese, soup (even though she can't warm it), and of course the sides. I need more ideas too. Oh, I did make lil' smokie Kolaches, but they came home with her because she didn't like them. If your kids like them it is a great idea because you can just make a big batch and freeze them. Then all you have to do is take them out as you need them.

For the drinks I bought this 5 pack of reusable bottles that store in your refrigerator. I just fill them up and use one each day.

I like your sandwich system for making them all at once. I wish mine would eat a sandwich.

kari said...

I sit down in front of the tv with 2 loaves of bread, the condiments, and the meat and cheese (or pb&J) and mass produce sandwiches. I put eah one in a baggie when done and then I pu them into big freezer bags. I do this when I get steals and deals on bread or lunch meat. I have 4 kids that I have to make lunches for. I've found that it is easier to get the lunch bags back each day (not let on the bus) if there is a way to clip te bag to the backpack.k

Anonymous said...

Its been years since I packed lunches but I recall using cold packs so they could take tuna sandwiches...and also I would skip sandwich and pack them veggies with dip;peanut butter, dressing, or carmel. Can't remember anything else.

JELLO...If you are near my house, call me. I have jello you can have. (pudding) its the cook kind. and I made some the other night and it went WRONG. It came out like turkey fat the day after thanksgiving.

Tiffany said...

Zelda, We LOVE the Camelbak's around here! I do threaten the children with their lives not to loose them because they are expensive,I have 2 of my own!

Kari, that is a really good idea, to freeze them already made. I think I am going to have to try that!

The Texas Deal Diva said...

My daughter lover PB&J in a flour tortilla. It makes a nice change from bread. She loves to eat frozen grapes also. She's almost 13 now and still loves both of these.

nc tate said...

My children love variety. I can only get away with sandwiches once or twice a week, so I have had to get creative. We have a Little Caesar's by our house and you can get a large cheese pizza from them for $5. I will always order an extra for lunches (you have to hide it or they will just eat it). I just stick each slice in a baggie and freeze. I also do variations of the traditional sandwich with peanut butter on celery or lunch meat, cheese stick and crackers. I will also do ziploc containers with mac n' cheese or spaghetti. I have also put in a hot dog or corn dog in their lunches, I just wrap it in tin foil. To make it easier on myself I made a list of lunch ideas at the beginning of the year so when I am tired in the morning I don't have to come up with an idea, I just pick one from the list. For fruit/veg. sometimes I will crack open a can of mandarin oranges (put in ziploc container) or a bag of craisins or dried mango.

Anonymous said...

Great ideas for those who are not gluten sensitive. : )

Sometimes I make what I would describe as a mini meat, cheese and veggie bowl for my daughter's lunch. Roll up some ham and/or turkey, add some cheese slices, carrot sticks. I try to stay away from the juices due to sugar content. Sometimes there just is no good alternative to water around here. :/

From Cristin to Mommy said...

what wonderful lunch ideas!

Audrey said...

Just like the Texas Deal Diva, my kids love PB on a flour tortilla. For a nice change, I slice up apples thinly, and spread them on top of the peanut butter, then roll it. You can either leave it like that, or slice the "log" into 1 inch "rolls."

Emily Heizer Photography said...

These are great ideas! Hopefully when I eventually get back into a regular job I can have some fun packing my own lunch! hose sandwiches look really, really good Tiffany! Especially the turkey and cheese! I have not been eating very much or very well lately but that looks really good for some reason!

I was a picky lunch eater as a kid too because I hated that everything got soggy from being smushed around in my backpack (because I always chucked my brown bag into my backpack where it would get smashed to bits by my books)so my mom had to get creative too. Someone already mentioned it, but I got alot of bagels with cream cheese, which I still remember as being great. We didn't toast them, just stuck them straight on there plain and it was great! Also, we have this great old family recipe for basically a cheese dip, you hollow out a sourdough or french round and fill it with jack cheese and other veggies... it was my favorite on holidays... well so my mom, being the brilliant person that she is, would take a little roll, stuff it will some jack, green onions, tomatos, other veggies, stick it in the oven so it was crispy and wrap it in foil and send that for my lunch for me, which I loved because it felt like a special holiday treat but it was serving appropriate!


Deb said...

Wow, there are so many good ideas in here! I don't have kids. Instead I have to feed my husband... but he can take leftovers and use the microwave and refrigerator at work, so that's not so difficult. However, I think I will use some of these ideas to give him some variety.

Oooh... I think I'm going to have to try Audrey's apple-peanut-butter-tortilla rolls myself. :)

For drinks, decaf iced tea and kool-aid are very cheap and easy to make in large quantities. With the kool-aid, buy the make-it-yourself packets and cut the sugar in half or less. Maybe it can be sweetened with something else, too - I haven't tried. Food Town puts Kool-aid on sale for 5 cents a packet every few months.

I would love to know what the school lunches provided by the schools cost these days. I don't have kids, and I qualified for the free lunch program when I was in school, so I don't have a clue how to compare what you are spending on lunch to what someone spends who pays the school to feed their child. (The nutrition value of school-provided lunches is a whole different argument, and not relevant to this question. ;) )

Jules said...

BRILLIANT on the 6 pack of rolls... serious! That's awesome. You really go all out! We do wraps a lot, and I bag up big bags of chips into snack bags to make it go farther. I also have 4 "drawers" in my pantry labeled: chips, crackers, fruity snacks, and sweet treats. They take one thing out of each drawer, add a sandwich and a drink and they're ready to roll.

Tiffany said...

I love all the ideas about roll ups! I always forget to make those and the kids love them!

Homemom3 said...

This is a great idea. I have three that go to school but my youngest (who's 3) always feels left out. I could definitely do this for us. Had never thought of using dinner rolls like this. Genius.