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5 ways to cut school-lunch costs

Primary School Pupils Enjoying Packed Lunch In Classroom

Primary School Pupils Enjoying Packed Lunch In Classroom

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Updated: September 18, 2012 1:48PM

School lunches are a necessary task for many of us. Whether you have a child who won’t eat the cafeteria lunch, face an allergy issue or just want to offer healthier choices, the decision to pack your child’s meal is one that requires dedication and investment.

Here are tips to help you load the lunchbox and save money at the same time.

† Buy ahead. When shopping, keep an eye out for items your kids love to go on sale. For example, look for Teddy Grahams, Goldfish, fruit snacks or even raisins. Most foods follow a 10-12-week sale cycle. The goal is to purchase items at their lowest cost, paired with a coupon. Then, buy enough to last you until the next sale comes around. Not only will you will save on the items your kids love, you’ll stay stocked up on lunchbox items.

† Get creative with snack packs. Making your own snack packs is easy and cheap. Start by pulling out a few snacks that your kids love, such as pretzels, a favorite cereal and dried fruit. Mix the snacks together in an airtight container, and you’ve got a great lunch addition. Even better: Prepare a week’s worth (or maybe two weeks’ worth) of snacks in advance, and store in zipper-type baggies.

† Make your own bread. There are simple recipes that don’t require much in terms of time or ingredients. Making bread will help you save money and stock up at the same time. It also can be a healthier alternative to store-bought bread. I recently started making a five-ingredient homemade bread for my family that is simple to make. (Check out a step-by-step tutorial on

† Fill your freezer. There are plenty of perishable items that freeze great and work well in a lunchbox. You can freeze bread, lunch meat, potato chips, cheese and several kinds of fruit, among other items. So, if you find a great deal, stock up and fill your freezer.

† Fresh is best. Buying produce in season always helps to cut costs. This is a great way to add a healthy boost to your average lunch while still offering variety because your options will change with the calendar.

Scripps Howard

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