Tag Archives: cheap school lunch ideas

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches – Cheap Packed School Lunch Idea

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are both a classic and a meal to avoid if your school has a peanut ban. You’ll have to check before making this lunch.

They are cheap, although the decisions you make when buying supplies will greatly impact the cost. A loaf of bread can be bought at the store for $2-4, and I suggest you go for some sort of whole grain. My kids aren’t into white bread because they’ve always had whole grain bread of one sort or another. If your kids have the white bread habit, find a way to break it. This may take time, but it’s worth it.

The cost of your peanut butter and jelly will vary quite a bit, but both are really quite cheap per ounce.  You may choose to spend a bit extra for an organic or natural peanut butter, same for the jelly. I usually go a bit light on jelly because there’s a lot of sugar in many of them. Better types may have less sugar.

I’m not going to explain how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich here. Please. I think this is something most of us can handle from a very young age. My 6 year old can do this, although I did have to explain once that you don’t lick the knife between dips into the jar. Ewww!

I have not tried this personally, but I understand that peanut butter and jelly sandwiches freeze and defrost well. That’s nice to know, so that you can have a school lunch to grab on those hurried, running behind mornings. Stack them up in a container, freeze them, then take what you need and put it into your sandwich box. No need to serve them every day if you have enough freezer space.

While they may not freeze as nicely, you can have fun with peanut butter sandwiches. Try banana slices, raisins or apple slices rather than jelly. Many fresh fruits go quite well with peanut butter.

Don’t forget the fresh fruit and vegetables. Your child needs a complete lunch every day.

Recipe Books You May Enjoy

Healthy Eating for Kids
Lunch Boxes and Snacks
The Just Bento Cookbook: Everyday Lunches to Go

Sand and Shells – Cheap Packed School Lunch Idea

As one of the challenges of making school lunches for your child is beating the price of buying lunch at school, I’m going to post some recipes over the next few days that are cheap to make, healthy, and hopefully popular with the kids.

My focus will be on main dishes for lunch. Fresh fruits and vegetables work pretty nicely as side dishes. Figure out what your kids will eat and that don’t take too much preparation. Vegetables are usually chopped when you pack them for school lunches, but most fruits really don’t need that kind of preparation, although younger kids may need a start on peeling oranges or tangerines. Rice, especially brown rice if your kids will eat it, makes a good addition to a school lunch.

Sand and Shells

2 tbsp olive oil
1 diced onion
1 cup cracked wheat
1 egg, beaten
2 cups water
12 oz. seashell pasta, cooked according to package directions
2 tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in large frying pan. Saute onions, then remove and set onions aside.

Mix cracked wheat into beaten egg and mix until coated. Pour into frying pan and cook until egg is done. Pour in water, add onions, salt and pepper and allow to simmer on low heat.

When the water has been absorbed, add in the sea shell pasta and butter. Mix and serve.

Your cost here will vary by the quality of ingredients you buy. If I go cheap, I can get a bag of pasta for $0.25 – $0.33. If I want something better, say a whole grain pasta, it’s going to be more. Free range eggs from a store will cost more than regular eggs, but if you have backyard chickens, you may not consider the cost to be much at all, depending on how you calculate that cost. That said, this recipe comes up pretty cheap anyhow.

I won’t try to get all the nutrition facts, but 1/4 cup of cracked wheat has 5 grams of protein, which is only about 10% of the daily value. Obviously, this dish is high in carbohydrates, so don’t bother with any others.

This recipe makes a lot. I usually serve it for dinner one night, and have leftovers for 2-4 lunches, depending on appetites.

Recipe Books You May Enjoy

Healthy Eating for Kids
Lunch Boxes and Snacks
The Just Bento Cookbook: Everyday Lunches to Go