Frugal School Lunches

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Old 08-11-2011, 06:37 AM
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Star Frugal School Lunches

This was our first week back to school, and I've been packing Bento box style lunches. It's been very frugal and pretty fun! I'm learning what works & what doesn't. Just thought it could be an interesting thread. I am using the Ziploc disposable divided section containers. They were $2.37 for a 2-pack at Walmart and I used a $1.50/2 coupon. I haven't used a single zip baggie this week. Less waste product so far. My boys haven't needed help opening packages. I got some of my ideas at these sites: easylunchboxes.com, bentolunch.net, cookiecutterlunch.blogspot.com, bitingmyhand.blogspot.com, bentonbetterlunches.blogspot.com (Mods, please delete if I'm not supposed to have posted that info).

What are your frugal lunch ideas?
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Old 08-11-2011, 06:45 AM

RE: Frugal School Lunches

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That is a neat idea.
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Old 08-11-2011, 06:49 AM

RE: Frugal School Lunches

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Wow great idea! My DS is a very picky eater so even though everyone in his school gets free lunch this year I will still be packing his lunch alot.
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Old 08-11-2011, 07:07 AM

RE: Frugal School Lunches

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Great thread & ideas! My dd is only 2, so I don't have to worry about school lunches yet, but it's a great idea for snacks/meals on the go!

My mom used to send me and my brothers with homemade lunchables since we couldn't afford to buy the real ones. She would send us crackers with cheese & lunch meat cut to the size of the cracker. I think those would work great in the ziploc containers you bought - if you're kids would eat that

She also made homemade bread, and would make breadsticks out of the bread dough. She'd send a baggie of the breadsticks and a little container of spagghetti sauce to dip them in. I think that could work in your containers, too.
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Old 08-11-2011, 07:09 AM

RE: Frugal School Lunches

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I'll be keeping an eye on this thread, I need to get serious about packing my lunch at work. Keep the ideas coming Please!
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Old 08-11-2011, 07:52 AM

RE: Frugal School Lunches

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Looks like fun lunches Brie!
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Old 08-11-2011, 07:58 AM

RE: Frugal School Lunches

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I LOVE LOVE LOVE those Ziploc containers. I use them for my own lunches!

I, too, am afraid of my VERY shy 5yo DS not wanting to ask for help to open items I might pack for him in his lunch, so these containers are PERFECT!!

Good thread Brie!
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Old 08-11-2011, 08:26 AM

RE: Frugal School Lunches

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Great thread! My picky DS will be in 1st grade this year and I think most of last year when left to his own choices at lunch he subsisted on pizza (his school has at least one type of pizza every day as an 'alternate' lunch...wish they wouldn't). I would send lunchables along with him many days but now I see I could be making my own. Much cheaper! The only problem would be making sure he takes the container back home. He's not too 'smart' about things like that...not sure if it's his ADHD or just the fact that he's 6 .
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Old 08-11-2011, 08:36 AM

RE: Frugal School Lunches

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These are great ideas!
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Old 08-11-2011, 09:01 AM

RE: Frugal School Lunches

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Lunch packing.

My grandkids dont like many of the school lunches either.
Granson was raised mostly with me in his younger years now 15 he eats well balanced meals so the only problem with him is packing enough .

Then there is the 10 year old grandaughter mom never cooked after the divorce my son has custody and his best is grilled meats.
She got used to the grilled meats- frozen pizzas - mcdonalds but does like some fresh veggies with a certain dressing.
Of course the junk foods.

Here school starts the 29th and im just starting her lunch stockpile.
Last year i found rubbermade lockits they have little 1/2 cup containers.
She likes bottled water but i like her to drink some juices and milk
I got capri sun real juices and some juice boxes a case of bottled water
and i pick up the nestles or hersheys milks and shakes.
She wont eat breads so no sandwiches or soups so we have to pack those types to so lunchables or make them up. Also i got cereal bars-rice krispy treats-pop tarts - snackwells asst-grabbitz from keeblers- dole fruit cups and pudding cups. String cheeses- Broccoli and cauliflower with her dollar general sweet country french dressing. I make up the veggie cups and meat cheese and cracker boxes ahead so she can help dad pack her lunches.
And the gogurts freeze those and her water to keep the insulated bags cool.I got lucky this spring and found lots of the glad take alongs on clearance and had qs so i got all they had and stashed them. She loves tacos so taco wraps with cold meats lettuce - cheeze and her dressing works.
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Old 08-12-2011, 03:27 PM

RE: Frugal School Lunches

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Lunch today
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Old 08-12-2011, 06:37 PM

RE: Frugal School Lunches

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Great looking lunches and sweet messages!

We do leftovers for kids ages 10 and 12, so spaghetti, tilapia, ribs, chicken. Whatever they approve. Otherwise it's sandwiches, mostly turkey or PB&J. Bread from Aldi, rest of ingredients are couponed as much as possible. Couponed chips and pudding and Caprisun. Add some fruit/veggies. In reusable containers as much as possible.

Does anyone have tips about getting affordable lunchmeat?
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Old 08-12-2011, 06:43 PM

RE: Frugal School Lunches

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Brie - what do you do with the excess sandwich portions? I made my kids dinosaur shaped turkey sandwiches today and even though the cookie cutters were huge, I still had a lot of waste that I ended up having to eat as my lunch! Help?!
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Old 08-12-2011, 06:55 PM

RE: Frugal School Lunches

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Oh forgot to say we bought bento boxes from a Chinese import store when we were in California, complete with chop stix. They were a few dollars each. If you have an Asian market you could probably find them there too.
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Old 08-12-2011, 07:10 PM

RE: Frugal School Lunches

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Quote:
Originally Posted by nearwhiterock
Does anyone have tips about getting affordable lunchmeat?
I get most of mine couponing. Little Hillshire Farm deli meat packs were recently $1 at Kroger and there were .35 coupons that doubled. I got 30 packs for the freezer. I always get bologna free with coupons.
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Old 08-12-2011, 07:21 PM

RE: Frugal School Lunches

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Quote:
Originally Posted by nearwhiterock

Does anyone have tips about getting affordable lunchmeat?
I look for clearance lunchmeat. One of the HEB's near us regularly puts it on clearance for 99 cents or so. I bought about 20 the last time and they came in reusable containers. Remove from containers (keep in the other wrapper) and as many as will fit in gallon ziplocs. They freeze just fine that way. :-).

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Old 08-12-2011, 07:26 PM

RE: Frugal School Lunches

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Z and G's Mom
Brie - what do you do with the excess sandwich portions? I made my kids dinosaur shaped turkey sandwiches today and even though the cookie cutters were huge, I still had a lot of waste that I ended up having to eat as my lunch! Help?!
My dinosaur cutter is awesome! It cuts 2 dinos out of regular sliced bread, basically only cutting off the crust. Walmart and Bed, Bath, & Beyond has them, I think. $3-$4 maybe? They have hearts & dolphins, too.

The circles were actually the Pepperidge Farm deli thins, so I didn't cut those.

The "I <3 U" was strategic to waste as little as possible, but it was more than just the crust. It wasn't enough to bother me or save. I got a 101 cookie cutter set on clearance at Wags after the holidays for $2.49--so many choices!
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Old 08-12-2011, 07:28 PM

RE: Frugal School Lunches

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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2006jcox
Wow great idea! My DS is a very picky eater so even though everyone in his school gets free lunch this year I will still be packing his lunch alot.
This totally needs more explanation!
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Old 08-12-2011, 07:32 PM

RE: Frugal School Lunches

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I went on a school lunch stockpile trip for my grandkids today.
For cheap lunchmests Farmland has deli sales frequently and they email and snail mail qs mine were good for a year and starkist emailed qs yesterday only 2 but a few days lunches, I roast turkey breasts and roast beef cold i can slice it thin with my santouco knife works greati love it. Hormel and margarita brands have qs , oscar mayer and bars meats have qs.RA has dole fruit cups $1.99 and have qs out Dried fruits and trail mixes, cereal granola and fruit bars my little jada discovered the grabitz keebler mini cookie pouches but they are exspensive. But the kelloggs q booklets have buy 2 get $2.00 off meats so i used that stacked with tops full circle chicken q free or cheap chicken so it defrayed the grabitz cost some. She also loves fruity pebble cocoa krispies and rice krispie treats. Cocoa krispies has qs and peelies on the box for free marshmallows to make them.
Grapes apple slices dried fruits and she likes the small emerald nuts in her lunches. the booklet also has buy treats and hi c boxes get $1.50 off Jello jigglers she loves .
We also keep snack size bags my son makes jerky for them. When she discovered crepes they went in her lunches in the locnlocks. With insulated lunch bags the frozen gogurts and partially frozen drinks keep food cold. JADA really likes funnel cakes with fruit pie filling to dip them in. She says dad packs lunch but gramma makes lunch. Shes 10 now so she has her own cupboard for lunch goodies but dad snitches since he packs his lunch no cafiteria at the plant. But my GE his office joines the break room and he has outfitted it so he can cook there hes not much on cold sandwiches. He keeps his locker by the breakroom stocked so they all eat well.
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Old 08-12-2011, 07:32 PM

RE: Frugal School Lunches

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dominochic
My mom used to send me and my brothers with homemade lunchables since we couldn't afford to buy the real ones. She would send us crackers with cheese & lunch meat cut to the size of the cracker. I think those would work great in the ziploc containers you bought - if you're kids would eat that
That's what we "practiced" with the week before school. There will definitely be more of those!
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Old 08-12-2011, 07:35 PM

RE: Frugal School Lunches

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Great thread and thanks for the ideas... How did you keep the cut up banana's from turning brown? My son won't eat the apples when I cut them up for him, b/c of the lemon juice on them, so I was just curious about the bananas or maybe your kids don't mind??
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Old 08-12-2011, 07:45 PM

RE: Frugal School Lunches

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Quote:
Originally Posted by marnimae
Great thread and thanks for the ideas... How did you keep the cut up banana's from turning brown? My son won't eat the apples when I cut them up for him, b/c of the lemon juice on them, so I was just curious about the bananas or maybe your kids don't mind??
I cut the bananas the night before and put them in the fridge. They were mildly browned. One kid ate them all, one kid not so much--but that's normal for them.

I sliced the apples the morning of, no lemon juice. They ate every scrap, so I guess they were fine. The did complain the their bread tasted like apple juice, LOL! I'll put them in their own container next time.
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Old 08-12-2011, 07:58 PM

RE: Frugal School Lunches

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Originally Posted by brieclark

I get most of mine couponing. Little Hillshire Farm deli meat packs were recently $1 at Kroger and there were .35 coupons that doubled. I got 30 packs for the freezer. I always get bologna free with coupons.
Thanks!
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Old 08-12-2011, 07:59 PM

RE: Frugal School Lunches

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Originally Posted by mama2twins2000

I look for clearance lunchmeat. One of the HEB's near us regularly puts it on clearance for 99 cents or so. I bought about 20 the last time and they came in reusable containers. Remove from containers (keep in the other wrapper) and as many as will fit in gallon ziplocs. They freeze just fine that way. :-).

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We don't have HEB but I love the idea of combining the packs and freezing. Thanks!
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Old 08-12-2011, 08:06 PM

RE: Frugal School Lunches

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Quote:
Originally Posted by conniel18848
I went on a school lunch stockpile trip for my grandkids today.
For cheap lunchmests Farmland has deli sales frequently and they email and snail mail qs mine were good for a year and starkist emailed qs yesterday only 2 but a few days lunches, I roast turkey breasts and roast beef cold i can slice it thin with my santouco knife works greati love it. Hormel and margarita brands have qs , oscar mayer and bars meats have qs.RA has dole fruit cups $1.99 and have qs out Dried fruits and trail mixes, cereal granola and fruit bars my little jada discovered the grabitz keebler mini cookie pouches but they are exspensive. But the kelloggs q booklets have buy 2 get $2.00 off meats so i used that stacked with tops full circle chicken q free or cheap chicken so it defrayed the grabitz cost some. She also loves fruity pebble cocoa krispies and rice krispie treats. Cocoa krispies has qs and peelies on the box for free marshmallows to make them.
Grapes apple slices dried fruits and she likes the small emerald nuts in her lunches. the booklet also has buy treats and hi c boxes get $1.50 off Jello jigglers she loves .
We also keep snack size bags my son makes jerky for them. When she discovered crepes they went in her lunches in the locnlocks. With insulated lunch bags the frozen gogurts and partially frozen drinks keep food cold. JADA really likes funnel cakes with fruit pie filling to dip them in. She says dad packs lunch but gramma makes lunch. Shes 10 now so she has her own cupboard for lunch goodies but dad snitches since he packs his lunch no cafiteria at the plant. But my GE his office joines the break room and he has outfitted it so he can cook there hes not much on cold sandwiches. He keeps his locker by the breakroom stocked so they all eat well.
Lotta good ideas here. Thanks!
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