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Cheap school lunch ideas.

Last post Sun, Aug 9 2009 12:27 PM by sunshinetreva. 24 replies.
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  • Fri, Aug 1 2008 3:22 PM

    Cheap school lunch ideas.


  • Fri, Aug 1 2008 3:51 PM In reply to

    Re: Cheap school lunch ideas.

    My suggestions:

    Sandwiches (about the cheapest option, IMHO)

    Cold Fried Chicken (for example, if you have leftovers)

    Salad (not always the cheapest option but it's healthy and something "different")

    Tortilla Wraps (make your own: one example is fried chicken strips w/ lettuce and Ranch dressing)

    For snacks/sides: opt to make your own servings in baggies rather than purchase all those single-serve (and expensive) options. Make your own trail mix (nuts, cereal, M&Ms, pretzels, etc.) and use whatever items you can find on sale to pick your ingredients. Make your own granola bars or often you can find them on sale for pretty cheap. Another cheap snack is jello or pudding.

    Drinks: use a water bottle to fill up with their favorite drink (milk, water, koolaid, etc.).

  • Fri, Aug 1 2008 4:01 PM In reply to

    Re: Cheap school lunch ideas.

    Okay let's try this again.

    I'm looking for inexpensice school lunch ideas.  Currently, in our area, school lunches are available for $1.75 per lunch.  You may also bring a school lunch from home and can purchase milk.

    We do have some obstacles though.  There are not any refridgeration and/or heating methods available to the kids.  DS also has substantial orthodonture work so he can not have anything hard and crunchy or sticky.  He can have apples if sliced thinly enough, however because of the browning, even with lemon juice, he won't eat them.  He can't have tortilla chips, pretzels, raw carrots, celery, broccoli, or cauliflower, or bagels.

    I'm thinking of sandwiches made on different breads or wraps using cheap luncheon meat or peanut butter and jelly or apple butter or honey.  We can do different fresh fruit while in season.  He can buy milk.  We can repackage potato chips, he can have these.  Maybe a special treat once in a while.

    I know that I can add in a frozen bottle of water to help keep the lunch cool.  Maybe on cool days, he can add yogurt to the mix with the frozen water bottle.

    He stays one hour after school, so the water would be thawed by then, and he could drink it with a small snack.

    Do you guys have any ideas for variety? 



  • Fri, Aug 1 2008 4:03 PM In reply to

    Re: Cheap school lunch ideas.

    Awesome ideas Juju Mommy!  I hadn't thought about some of your ideas!

  • Fri, Aug 1 2008 4:25 PM In reply to

    Re: Cheap school lunch ideas.

    For sandwich ideas, there is always the "meat spread."  Grind whatever leftover meat you have (ham, roast beef, chicken) in a processor, blender or chopper, and mix it with mayo, a little relish, maybe some mustard or horseradish, depending on the meat.  Tuna salad, egg salad. 

    Hard-boiled eggs, pickles, olives.  Applesauce, cottage cheese with fruit, yogurt with fruit and/or homemade granola mixed in.  Would he take a small thermos?  Put in some soup or hot dogs in boiling water (would be cooked by lunch time).  I wouldn't worry too much about keeping things cold -- when I was a kid we didn't even have ice packs and food was still fine by lunch time.  Even with milk -- if you put about an inch or so in a small plastic juice box and put it in the freezer overnight, you can add fresh milk in the morning and the frozen part will keep it cold.  He just has to shake it up at lunch time. 

    I found these nifty little gadgets at the dollar store -- they are little "cannisters" that you fill with water and freeze, and they freeze into "ice cylinders" that slide into water bottles.  They have caps at both ends that allow the ice cylinder to slide out easily.  I used to put mini water bottles in my DD's lunch and these kept the water cold.  (She re-used the same water bottle over and over.)

    Raisins are good, or other dried fruit. String cheese.  Is popcorn out?  For soft fruits, there are melon chunks, oranges slices, pineapple chunks, cranberry sauce. 

    As for dessert-like things, mini-doughnuts for an occasional treat, or mini muffins you've made yourself.

    (Now I'm hungry!!)  

    "When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies?"
  • Fri, Aug 1 2008 4:52 PM In reply to

    • babs
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Mon, Apr 2 2007
    • Vermont
    • Posts 10,988

    Re: Cheap school lunch ideas.

    DD just got the braces off so we had two years of strange lunches for her. She ate a lot of noodles...all kinds, mac cheese, spaghettos, raman (bought a nice thermos), dry rice krispies, peanut butter crackers, yougurt, bananas, small peices of fresh pineapple, cheeseBoiled eggs were a favorite with her too.Babs

    Officially recognized Stretchpert in Prayer Circle
  • Fri, Aug 1 2008 4:57 PM In reply to

    Re: Cheap school lunch ideas.

     Sandwich, fruit, snacky thing and dessert- that's the basic here.

    Other odds and ends- little tomatoes, watermelon, juice boxes if on sale- the cheapest seem to tbe the sugar water Capri Sun wanna-bes, the store brand.  Baby carrots, are those too hard?  I pack often a little bag of cereal, it is so cheap.  A chunck of cheese. The new favorite is little bags of dried fruits, they come in a variety box.

      We usually have homemade cookies, oatmeal or peanut butter, although one of our schools is peanut free.  I have packed leftovers from dinner in a themos, a salad in a container, water, milk, for the big kids a water bottle and one of those single serve flavors- lemonaid or orange, they bring home the water bottle and we use four five times before recycling, they are meant to be single use.  Almond or dry roasted peanuts in a baggie, to the non-nut free school.  Little Debbies, I will confess!  Graham crackers and frosting.  

    Favorite leftovers- mac and cheese, a little milk added before heating, then in a thermos with a sprinkle of parmesean.  Lasagna in a hot container thing, they are in the lunch box section.   Leftover pizza, just wrapped up, eaten cold. 

    For sandwches we have pb and j, soy butter and j, bananas and cream cheese, cream cheese and jelly, cheeses, cream cheese on a bagel, cream cheese and veggies, cheese and salsa rolled in a tortilla, pb and j in a tortilla.  If I'm rich, lefse wih butter. That's our basics, the kids are fine with it!  They are not picky, and finish almost everything.  




    Beginning Debt Slayer

  • Fri, Aug 1 2008 5:00 PM In reply to

    Re: Cheap school lunch ideas.

    I'm so glad that I asked.  It's amazing that I was just thinking sandwiches!

    Hopefully, he won't require anymore ortho work.  However, breaking his jaw is still an option if the headgear doesn't work.  Then I'll really be tapping into your creativity for drinkable meals.

    Thanks for all of the ideas!

  • Fri, Aug 1 2008 5:15 PM In reply to

    Re: Cheap school lunch ideas.

    Also, if he can eat them, those crackers... you know the ones that they have peanut butter, sour cream and chives and other "flavors". I get those for my hubby to bring w/ his lunch and I usually can find them cheap enough.

    I think the important thing for kids is to have a variety and having a special treat here and there.

    God bless,


  • Fri, Aug 1 2008 5:30 PM In reply to

    Re: Cheap school lunch ideas.

    Here is a neat idea fo the yonger ones, roll out your bread thin (with a rolling pin), spread with cream chees and jam, then roll up like a jelly Roll, kids love it, and teachers think it's neat to! Can use other fillings but just make them a thin layer! BD

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