With 3 boys in school lunches get a bit tricky. Thankfully my boys are not picky eaters but I am always looking for ways to improve their lunches without breaking the bank. Our elementary school has great lunches but the cost still adds up. The Jr. High simply doesn't serve enough food for my long and lean 13 yr old. He always comes home saying he didn't get enough. He opts instead to always take home lunch.Now, I don't mean to brag but he does spoil me...he makes his own lunch each morning. I will even offer but he says "No, I can do it". Of course he likes to cook but I still count it as spoiling. I do feel bad however when his lunch becomes monotonous. He enjoys meat and cheese sandwiches but day after day....yeah, let's mix that up a bit.
There are lots of ideas out there. I have tried a few but this has become the biggest hit among the men in my house. We need 4 lunches each day counting dads. Buying that many fruit and pudding cups did not help my grocery budget at all. Not to mention all my bottles of home canned produce that continue to sit on the shelves. No more of that. Here is the system we are using to provide a variety of lunches, using my own stores.
These ziplock divided containers are fantastic. I just fill them up and the boys slip them in their lunch boxes and they are done. Walmart and such stores use to have these all over but I couldn't find any this time. Once again, thank you Amazon. I love how easy you can find anything you want online.
I ordered enough to fill all the lunches on the weekend for the coming week. I try to have 4 items: a fruit, a vegi, a treat and the entree.
Before my containers came had to use bags so I just prepped 4 of each item for the boys lunches. Carrots, grapes, pretzels, string cheese...whatever was on the menu. I prepped it all at once then placed them in the fridge together. All the boys had to do was grab 4 items. It worked well but the boys didn't keep their meals balanced at all and little man thought they were his personal treats to snack on throughout the day.
Once my containers came I was able to really get to work. It didn't take long at all. The best part is I was able to rotate through the food I had purchased for lunches (before little boys good devour it all) as well as rotate through our homemade goodies. Applesauce, fruit, pudding, jello, cookies...all from home.
4 lunches prepped for each day.
Carrots, Yogurt covered raisins, granola bar.
Yogurt, orange jello or grapes, pretzels.
Cherry tomatoes, applesauce, pita chips, rice crispie treat.
Cucumber strips, orange jello, mixed nuts, rice crispie.
I used fruit from my pantry. Then made my own jello and pudding and poured it directly in the container to set up. By putting the pretzels or chips or cookies in a ziplock bag I could put it in the container in the fridge (all ready to go) without them going soft.
The sandwiches get made the night before. Meat and cheese, BLT's, egg salad, chicken salad, PB&J...whatever it is. The salad mixes I prepped early too. Toasting the bread helped it not get soggy. Once the sandwiches are made the boys are ready to load up and go.
Believe it or not, very little, if any of these lunches return home. Just the container ready to refill when the weekend comes again.
Here is a list of items I put in their lunches. Hope it helps you too.
meat and cheese sandwiches
meat and cheese kabobs
pizza (we all eat the leftovers cold anyway)
salad in a bag
jello (make your own cups)
yogurt covered raisins
pudding (make your own cups)
Take a moment and plan it out, save money, and smile that your kiddos have one of the best lunches at school. Even dear dad is loving this system.
Try it and let me know how it works for you.