With school meal prices going up, many parents are turning to packed lunches to help keep on top of their household budget. There is no doubt that making kids packed lunches is much cheaper than buying school dinners every day. I calculated that if both of mine had school meals at primary school then it would cost £10 per week and that would rise once my eldest starts secondary school – whereas if I make them packed lunches that cost is halved.
There are some simple lunchbox ideas and tips that can help keep costs down even more whilst still providing healthy lunchboxes for kids.
- Cut back on pre-prepared lunchboxes as these will often cost double what it takes to make it yourself.
- Processed meat can be expensive, so instead buy cheap chicken fillets that you can grill, refrigerate and use for sandwiches.
- When making pasta meals for the family, put some to one side in pots for tomorrow’s packed lunches.
- Buy refillable plastic bottles and fill them up with diluted fruit juice for their lunchbox drinks instead of using shop bought drinks.
- Leftovers from Sunday roasts, particularly meat and stuffing, make great sandwich fillers so don’t throw anything away!
- A cheap bar of chocolate and some Rice Crispies will make enough Rice Crispie cakes to last the whole week and is cheaper and healthier than giving them chocolate bars.
- Over-ripe bananas are ideal for my banana cake recipe which provides delicious little treats for the kids!
- If you find that you are throwing away over-ripe fruit every week then stock up with some tinned fruit which is just as nutritious and perfect for making mini-fruit salads with!
- Freeze bread and only defrost as much as you need so that you aren’t throwing away stale bread.
- Lunchbox ideas in a weekly lunch planner will help you to buy only what you need for the week.
The main rule of household budgeting is to make things last so that you are throwing less away. I now tend to freeze as much as I can will use leftovers to put in pasta salads and as fillings for wraps and pitas.
There are plenty of lunchbox ideas that are inexpensive and healthy and remember that you are saving money just by providing them with a packed lunch in the first place!