Thanks to Caroline Job for this fab guest post:
Frugal times continue but it doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice the FUN in the lunch box. Yes, it’s true. It is possible to spend an absolute fortune, if you only ever buy the special lunch box sized treats, drinks and snacks for the packed lunch.
However, we can pack the lunches just the same, we just need to be “clever” with our ideas… No-one needs to know where we shop or which brands we’re eating. As long as the lunch looks and tastes good, that’s half the battle. It’s just a question of presentation and having the right snack pots and boxes for your lunch…
So our top ten tips to budget in the lunch box:
1 buy in bulk. Two for one or buy one get one free on cartons when on offer. As long as it is something you would normally buy and it has a long best before date, and you’ve place to store it, it’s worth the investment. If you won’t ever use it, then don’t buy it!
2 buy the fruit when on offer and try and only buy the one on offer. Eg. When the special offers are on strawberries, then switch to that, then to grapes when they are on offer. It tends to be a lot cheaper to buy the fruit when in season, NOT all year round.
For a tasty snack, just grab a handful of grapes, a handful of strawberries or raspberries and a handful of blueberries – the more colourful the better, and pop in a washable, reusable pot that has a seal.
3 don’t buy the individual lunch box snack bars, buy them in a pack, either 6 or 8, or if they come loose in a bigger pack, then create your own portion, and de-cant into a snack pot
4 if you do want to give some savoury snack, buy a large bag and again, de-cant an appropriately sized portion into a snack pot or small lunch box
5 with drinks, water is the most accepted drink in schools, so it’s worth investing in a good water bottle, that they can refill at school. As I say, tap is good, or if you’re kids are anything like mine, they like bottled water. So rather than buy the lunch box sized bottle, buy the large 5 litre bottle (it works out way cheaper) and decant that into their drinks bottle. For a special treat you could buy a litre carton of juice, and de-cant that into a drinks bottle (but only if it’s allowed. I know some schools have a really strict policy)
6 it is worth the investment to get decent lunch gear. Don’t always go for the cheapest option. I know it might seem like a bargain when doing the supermarket shop, but sometimes the zip goes or they fall apart really fast.
We stock lunch boxes, bottles, of all different shapes and sizes for all ages, so it’s worth taking a look. Browsing of our Lunchbox World shop costs you nothing! And if you buddie up with friends, you can qualify for FREE UK delivery…
Remember if you use these lunch boxes, bottles and bags, it’ll save a fortune on plastic bags, foil, clingfilm and even bottled drinks and it’ll help the environment too.
7 Try and make sure the lunch is colourful and exciting on the eye. If it’s presented well and excites the eye, it’s more likely to get eaten. Try and use cutters, cookie shapes, and other items you might have in your kitchen cupboards. The last thing you want is for the lunch to come home looking sad, and uneaten
So rather than buy the pre-chopped convenient bags of fruit, buy a bag of apples and chop up yourself. To stop them from browning, just add a couple of drops of lemon juice. Put in an airtight container. We also chop red pepper and yellow pepper (it’s sweeter). Carrot sticks and cucumber sticks are a favourite, and you don’t need a lot of each stick. You can always use these vegetables over the course of a few days. Just make sure you keep them in the fridge in an airtight container.
8 Try and use up the leftovers from the night before. So if you have quiche, that could go in the next day’s lunch box. Or even pasta makes a great pasta salad… Try and be creative!
9 We always like variety, so try and mix and match, and it’s handy to have a freezer to store it all in. When the bread, rolls, pitta, bagels are on special, buy and pop in the freezer. Then you can just take out what you need to prepare the lunches, rather than let it go off on the side as you get fed up of the same type of bread sandwiches every day. That way for instance, Monday you could have pitta, Tuesday a bagel, Wednesday a wrap, Thursday bread, and Friday a special roll…
10 The tubes of yoghurt are a great fun way of getting them to eat yoghurt. We pop these in the freezer, and get them out when packing the packed lunch, in the morning. So they double up as an icepack and are de-frosted by lunchtime
Robot Tin from Lunch Box World
Try out Fun Friday…
Our other bonus tip is to keep a major treat for Fridays. I know some schools have a strict policy on what goes in the lunch box, but our brood always look forward to the packed lunch on Friday as they know something special from home will be in there.
Whether it is just a note from home, or a homemade cupcake or flapjack or a bag of crisps, or that special carton of drink, again be creative!
You can even try and theme the lunches. Our most successful (most talked about in the playground) was our Valentine’s lunch. Everything was in the shape of lovehearts and coloured either pink or red… This amazingly went down a treat with the two boys as well! To read more, here’s the link to the post… http://lunchboxworldblog.blogspot.fr/2011/11/love-in-lunch-box-revisited.html
If you’re looking for more tips, hints and recipe ideas for any lunch occasion, then do visit Lunchbox World!
The Lunch Box Lady x
Thank you so much for these fab tips !
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