Sending the kids back to school often means re-establishing structure in my life as well as the kids’ lives. We are going to bed earlier, getting up earlier, watching less TV and packing lunches. When the schedule gets out of hand, the packed school lunch is usually the first thing to go in our house.
But not this year! Buying a lunch everyday at school for our two children would cost us about $875 for the year - not to mention that buying lunch at school is not usually the healthiest choice. So this year I have a School Lunch Money and Time-Saving Game Plan.
First, I laid the groundwork for the plan. Each child will pack his or her own lunch at least three days a week. I got the kids interested by letting them decide what goes in their lunch. Each Sunday we sit down and look at the school menu and decide what two days each child will buy lunch. Then, we discuss what the children want to pack for their lunch on the other days. They each get to pick one protein, one, fruit, one grain and one veggie for their daily lunch. All items must have at least some nutritional value.
Then, I assemble the items in individual servings and they all go into one drawer of the refrigerator, even the shelfable items go in the drawer. Then every evening before dinner, each child opens the drawer, picks the lunch items and packs his or her own lunch for the next day, and I save money and time.
HINT: Smart and Final sells small disposable containers that are perfect for ranch dressing.