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Be Smart, Save Money: How to Prep School Lunches Effectively

Be Smart, Save Money: How to Prep School Lunches Effectively

posted by Karen Quinn, The Testing Mom - December 1st, 2023

As parents, we all know the struggles of crafting school lunches that are affordable, appetizing and nutritious. It’s like trying to score a parenting hat-trick every day! We asked parents some of their strategies to make this challenge manageable and even enjoyable. Here are the top tips and tricks to help you ace the art of meal prepping for your child’s school lunches.

Here are top 10 tips and tricks on how to save money on preparing your child’s school lunch

Bulk Buys: Your Shopping Game Changer

“Why buy five when you can buy fifty?” chuckles dad-of-two, Jake, who is an accountant. “For dry snacks that have a long shelf life, buying in bulk is a real wallet-saver.”

Penny, a mom, gives a nod to big-name warehouse stores for snacks, “The huge bag of popcorn from Costco is my secret weapon. Not only does it save me a ton, but it’s also a healthier snack for my kiddos.”

Leftovers: Delicious Today, Tomorrow Too

“When my kids turn up their noses at sandwiches, I pull out last night’s leftovers,” shares Rosie, and mother of two daughters. “It not only saves me from preparing a separate lunch, but I’m also sure they’re having a healthy, fulfilling meal.”

Freezing: Your Secret Weapon

Baking enthusiast, co-parent and dietitian, Maria advises, “Don’t just freeze your dinners, extend this to lunches too. Easy-to-prepare, freeze, and reheat items can offer a week’s worth of diverse lunch options. Plus, it’s a surefire way to incorporate healthy meals like seafood into your child’s diet.”

Invest in Reusable Lunch Containers

“Bento boxes have transformed our lunch game,” shares mom, Daisy. “Not only do these boxes save money in the long run, but they also cut down on plastic waste. And let’s be honest, they’re just more fun to pack!”

The Magic of Pasta

“Pasta isn’t just dinner material, it’s fantastic for lunch too. You can use it to incorporate more fiber, veggies, and proteins in your child’s meals,” shares computer programmer and mom, Angela. “My kids love tortellini with tomato sauce or whole wheat pasta with chicken and pesto. It’s a win-win.”

DIY Juice Boxes

Why buy when you can DIY? “By using a reusable water bottle and flavored powders, you can create ‘juice boxes’ at a fraction of the price,” advises stay-at-home dad, Charlie.

Homemade Healthy Snack Mixes

“Healthy doesn’t have to be pricey,” shares Uma, nutritional psychiatrist, chef and author. “Simple snack mixes using high-quality nuts and cacao nibs can offer brain-boosting benefits and last several school lunches.”

Frozen Fruits: The Cooler Choice

Mother-of-twins, Lizzy shares, “Frozen fruits are not only budget-friendly, they are also packed with brain-boosting antioxidants. A dollop of these berries with some yogurt can make a perfect lunch box treat!”

Stock Up On Sales

“Healthy, child-friendly snacks can often be found on sale,” says single dad and entrepreneur, Ben. “Carrot and celery sticks are favorites in my house. Paired with some homemade hummus, it’s a nutritious and budget-friendly snack.”

Plan Meals With Your Kids

“Your kids know what they’ll eat. Let them be a part of the decision-making process,” says Amyn, a registered dietitian and mom of three. “This not only reduces food waste but also empowers them to make healthier choices.”

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