The time has come to start planning school lunches again. Whether last year’s ideas have grown boring or you’ve had to downsize your budget, it’s time to look for school lunches that are as cheap as they are tasty and new.
Here are some of the best school-lunch options. Matching them with coupons from Ebates will leave your budget in good hands.
Chicken-and-Cheese Kebabs The brilliance of kebabs is that they allow you to mix and match different foods, and products bought in bulk can be minimized into great meals. Purchase a block of cheese and dice it into squares, then fry up a chicken breast and chop it into small portions. All you need now is to skewer them on a stick. Both chicken and cheese store well, so you can make several kebabs from a single purchase, making the cost of each individual meal as little as $2.
Peanut Butter and Banana Wraps Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches can be boring, and those extra sugary jams your kids like aren’t necessarily healthy. Upgrade your child’s meal to something tastier and healthier without increasing the cost by slathering a tortilla with peanut butter and wrapping it around one half of a sliced banana. The other half can be used in the next lunch. Altogether, you can make each meal for as little as a dollar. Your child will get more protein and potassium, and lunch will be unique.
Soup Thermoses Campbell’s theme is “possibilities” for a reason. With options including chicken noodle, mushroom and tomato, you can pick the perfect flavor to suit your child’s tastes and eating habits. Put the soup in a thermos, and you have a super easy lunch your child can eat anywhere. Canned soup costs barely more than pennies and can be stored forever, making it a great option for the frugal shopper — especially at stores such as Walmart, which offers Cash Back when you shop through Ebates. Include crackers in your kid’s lunchbox for dipping options, or cheese slices to add some extra taste to the meal.
Cucumber and Cream Cheese Sandwiches They may not sound like much, but cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches are simple to make, cost little and taste amazing. All you need to do is slice some cucumbers, add them to your child’s favorite kind of bread and then slather each piece with some flavored cream cheese. If you include a cookie cutter in the lunchbox, your kid can trim away the crust and dip the sandwich in a thermos of soup for an easy and well-balanced lunch.
Egg-and-Sausage Kebabs What’s wrong with breakfast for lunch? The morning’s breakfast can be lunchtime’s money-saver. Dice up parts of a hearty omelet and slice up some pieces of sausage, and skewer them on a stirring stick with a few chunks of pineapple, fresh strawberries, pieces of banana, olives, or all of the above. Now you have a nutritional meal that is well balanced and extremely cost effective.
Impromptu Mini Pizzas When you hear pizza, you probably don’t think “frugal.” However, this recipe allows your child to have a tasty slice of Italy, custom made by them and custom made to fit your budget. All you need is some crackers or pita bread, tomato sauce (you can even use ketchup for extra savings), some cheese sticks and a few slices of pepperoni. If your child likes an extra punch to their pizza, olives or pineapple slices are super cheap when bought canned. All in all, these ingredients can stretch over multiple meals while giving your child the freedom (and you the free time) to build their own lunches. When you purchase these supplies in bulk from Sam’s Club with coupons and Cash Back from Ebates, you can save even more.
Pro Tip: Don’t Be Afraid to Use Leftovers! Frugal and tasty lunches are about being creative, and since you already have the food in the house and the meal was definitely tasty enough to enjoy once, why not enjoy it twice? Recycle leftovers from last night’s dinner to make your child’s school lunch basically for free! Pack up some extra pasta in a Tupperware and pair it with fresh fruit, or chop up some pieces of meat patties with a side of strawberries for a sweet and cheap meal.
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