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It’s that time of year again! The kids are back in school, and parents are back in the routine of packing lunches. Packing lunch daily can be challenging, but there are ways to make it easier for yourself and your wallet. Plus, involving your kids in the process can empower them to make healthy food choices at other times. Here are some tips to help you save money and minimize waste this school year.
One of the best ways to save money on school lunches is to plan. Figure out what you have on hand and what you need to buy, then make a list. This will help you avoid buying things you don’t need and minimize trips to the grocery store (and impulse purchases while you’re there!). You can even involve your kids in planning by having them choose what they want for lunch each week.
Buy in Bulk
Another great way to save money is to buy groceries in bulk when they’re on sale. This is especially helpful if you have more than one child packing a lunch every day. You can stock up on meat, cheese, bread, fruits, and veggies when they’re on sale and then portion them into individual servings. This will save you time and money in the long run!
Make Your Lunchables
Lunchables are a convenient option, but they can be expensive. A better (and cheaper!) option is to make your lunchables home using items like deli meat, cheese, crackers, fruit cups, veggie sticks, etc. This is a great way to use up leftovers too! Pack everything into a reusable container, and voila – instant Lunchables!
Invest in Good Storage Containers
Packing a lunch daily can get pricey if you’re constantly buying disposable baggies and plastic wrap. Investing in suitable storage containers that you can reuse repeatedly is a better solution. There are all sorts of reusable containers on the market these days – from Bento boxes to Mason jars – so there’s sure to be something that fits your needs (and your child’s tastes)!
Utilize Your Freezer
Did you know that you can freeze sandwiches? Just wrap them tightly, so they don’t get freezer burn. You can freeze fruit cups, yogurt tubes, applesauce pouches, etc. This is a great way to use up leftovers and have healthy snacks on hand for those busy days! Plus, it’ll help cut down on food waste since nothing will go bad sitting in the back of your fridge or pantry.
Skip the Disposables
Disposable items like paper plates, Plastic cutlery, or foam cups seem like an easy solution for packed lunches, but they’re pretty wasteful (not to mention bad for the environment). Instead of reaching for disposables, opt for reusable items whenever possible. Stainless steel water bottles, reusable lunch bags, durable, reusable containers with lids, and beeswax wraps, can all be used repeatedly – wash them after each use! Not only will this save you money in the long run, but it’ll also help reduce your environmental impact.
Packing lunch every day doesn’t have to be a chore – with some planning, it can be quick and easy. And by following these tips, you can save money and minimize waste too! So get creative and involve your kids in the process – they’ll love coming up with their unique lunch combos (and you’ll love not having to pack their lunch every day).