Convenience Food – School Lunches

I know that some of you have children who have already started school back up for the year, but we have 3 more weeks in my district.  What is everyone stocking their pantries and freezers with to make school lunch packing easier in the morning?  How are you fighting the evil tide of Lunchables and unidentifiable pizza ingredients in school cafeterias?  How are you saving your family money?

In my district, for elementary school without some kind of financial assistance, it costs $1.35 for a school lunch.  That works out to $6.75 a week, or $27 per month.  Not bad in the great scheme of things, and they do a good job of trying to have an interesting and well balanced diet for the children.  It’s just that the menu is pizza, burger, corndog, fried chicken.  Over and over again.  There are other options, sure, but my DD isn’t going to pick them.  And I am certain that I can match or beat $1.35 and give my DD more variety, more interesting food, and food more to her (and my) tastes.

I’ve decided I’m going to try to get at least one batch of “stuff” in the freezer or pantry each week, which knowing me, means there will be two or three going in each week.

I stocked up on juiceboxes, and will be freezing 2/3 of them, and this week plan on making up pizza dough and spaghetti sauce to pack up Pixie’s Pizza Lunchable – OAMC,  I have already made up a batch of “dollar rolls”, hamburger buns the size of a silver dollar for mini sandwiches and burgers, and I need to make up a batch of plain bread dough to make mini hotdog buns.

Other saved recipes are:
Peanut Butter and Jelly Sushi Rolls
Secret Sandwich (Lunch Box Surprise)
Ham Calzones
Peanut Butter ‘n Jelly Pockets
Teddy Bear Snack Mix
Frozen Fruit Cups
Mini Pumpkin Pies (for the fall, probably won’t start making these yet)
Leftover Mashed Potato Roll Ups
Vegetable Bread Roll Up
Castle Burger Bites (I bet these will freeze fine)

I am also making a big batch of rice this week (to test out Perfect Crock Pot Rice), and will probably freeze some portions to fit in DD’s lunchboxes.  I know it looks like I need more veggies, but mostly I toss in leftover veggies from the night before or carrots or cucumber with ranch.  I also need to make a bunch of loaves of plain bread for sandwiches.  I seem to remember people on Recipezaar’s OAMC forums saying you can just make up sandwiches and then toss them in the freezer, then let them thaw in the lunchbox.  I could make up a bunch of “ready to grill” cheeses this way.  And homemade uncrustables using my cookie cutters . . . .

So what are your school lunch plans?


3 thoughts on “Convenience Food – School Lunches”

  1. WOW $1.35 per lunch… We just received our school’s news letter and lunch is now $2.45 for elementary school lunch. Thank you for these neat ideas! When freezing juice boxes; does one type freeze better than another?

  2. I haven’t noticed any difference, or at least DD hasn’t come home and said, “Mommy, my juice was still frozen!” or something equally disturbing. I would stick with 100% juice, and use smaller containers. Especially if there isn’t a lot of time from lunch packing to lunch eating (DD’s lunchtime last year was 10:45!!). Ideally you want the juice to be kind of slushy, so you know the food is still at a safe cold temp, but the juice can actually be drank (drunk? whatever . . . *grins*).

    $2.45?!?! Holy cow . . .

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