Be Healthy Home Recipes

Budget Friendly Lunchbox Ideas

I often say, “Think outside the bologna sandwich!” when I refer to packing fun lunches. However, I realize that being creative with your lunches can sometimes blow the grocery budget. So I’m here today to share some of my tips for not spending a fortune on your kid’s daily eats. (UPDATE: Our favorite lunchboxes are on special on Groupon right now!)

  1. Double Duty Foods and Leftovers – Think about your menu for the week, what can you use to double in your kids lunch? For example, if I’m packing mini pizza bagels then my kids are also eating mini bagels with their breakfast that week. Other things I have used as double duty in lunches:
    • Leftover mac and cheese from a Sunday lunch
    • Drumsticks or chicken/turkey in or on sandwiches/wraps/salads when I roast a whole bird
    • When I buy bacon, I cook it on Sunday and the kids heat it up for breakfast. I am able to also add this to sandwiches and wraps throughout the week to change it up.
    • On a crazy school night where we are running to appointments or sports and I made pizza, I’ll add the leftovers to the next day’s lunch.
  2. Buy Versatile Fruits and Veggies – You don’t have to buy 8 different fruits and 7 different veggies for 4 or 5 days worth of lunch. My kids eat a TON of fruit so we go through a lot,  but I never buy everything. I often shop the sales and buy what’s on special. Again, think about your meals for the week. For us, mini cucumbers and tomatoes are a big hit because they’ll be eaten solo in a lunchbox as a side, on a sandwich kabob, in salads, as an after school snack etc. Berries and oranges also go over great because my boys love them with whatever they’re having for breakfast, and also for an after school snack. 
  3. Buy Snacks EVERYONE Enjoys – Don’t. I repeat: Don’t go out and spend twice as much on different snack foods just because one kid likes cheese and one kid doesn’t. Find common ground and use it! The only person in my house that gets food nobody else likes is me, and it’s called quinoa (heh heh). Seriously though, this will cost you a ton!
  4. You don’t need any special tools – I have seen lots of adorable lunchboxes that are made with tons of different cookie cutters, sandwich presses, plastic character toothpicks and even toothpick mustaches. While they’re so cute, they also cost money! And I guarantee you my kids would come home without them 80% of the time. Which is exactly why we rely on toothpicks. Here’s a couple of examples:

Budget Friendly Lunchbox ideas - @ginaekirk

Budget Friendly Lunchbox ideas - @ginaekirk

See how they both got the same fruit and crackers? Almost everything in each lunchbox will be eaten by any of my kids, which makes me happy and leaves me with no waste or extra money spent. 

Do you have any tips for packing a budget friendly lunch? I’d love to hear them! And if you’re on Instagram, come follow me here to see my daily lunchboxes (and more!)

I’m hosting a virtual back-to-school lunch packing party! For all the details, click here! Or simply enter your email address below to join in. You’ll be notified two days before we begin. I can’t wait to party with you guys!

Budget friendly lunchbox ideas - - @ginaekirk


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  • Reply
    May 5, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    Love this post – am really bad for not bringing my lunch to work – where can I buy a lunch box like that.

    • Reply
      May 6, 2016 at 2:09 am

      Thanks Karen! You can get them on Amazon, just search “Bentgo”!

  • Reply
    May 14, 2016 at 12:42 am

    Those boxes are currently available on groupon!

    • Reply
      May 17, 2016 at 12:55 am

      Oh thanks Natalie! I’ll share with my readers!

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