The season has come to start planning school lunches again, and whether last year’s ideas have grown boring or your budget has had to downsize, it’s time to look for school lunches that are as tasty and new as they are cheap.
Here are some of the best, and matched with coupons from Ebates, your budget is in good hands.
Chicken and Cheese Kabobs – The brilliance of kabobs 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, and all you need now is to skewer them on a stick. Both chicken and cheese store well, so you can make several kabobs 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 more tasty and healthy without upgrading the price by lathering a tortilla with peanut butter, slicing a banana in half, and then wrapping one of the slices in the tasty wrap. The other half can be used in the next lunch, and altogether, you can make each meal for as little as a dollar, with the supplies lasting longer. Your child will get more protein and potassium, and lunch will be more unique.
Soup Thermoses – Campbell’s theme is “possibilities” for a reason, and some good old soup never goes out of fashion. With options ranging from chicken noodle to mushroom to tomato, you can pick the perfect flavor to suit your child’s tastes and eating habits, put it in a thermos, and have a super easy lunch your child can eat anywhere. Canned soup can store forever and be bought for almost pennies, making it hugely frugal, especially at stores such as Walmart, which offers Cash Back. Include crackers in the lunchbox for dipping options or cheese slices to add some extra taste to the meal.
Cucumber and Cream Cheese Sandwiches – It may not sound like much, but cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches are simple to make, low in cost, and depending on your flavor choices, can taste amazing. All that’s needed is to chop up some slices of cucumbers, add them to your child’s favorite kind of bread, and then lather each piece with some flavored cream cheese. If you include a cookie cutter in the lunchbox, your kid can then trim away the crust and dip the sandwich it in the thermos of soup for a well-balanced and easy lunch.
Egg and Sausage Kabobs – What’s wrong with breakfast for lunch? The morning’s breakfast can be lunchtime’s money saver. Dice up parts of a hardy omelet, 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 are 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 extra punch to their pizza, olives or pineapple slices are super cheap when bought canned, and 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 from Ebates and Cash Back, 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.