DIY Lunchables: Cheaper and Healthier

Do you pack your child's lunch for school? If so, purchasing Lunchables may be pretty tempting to you – it's already put together and ready to pack, so it's super convenient. However, they're also pretty expensive (the large size that includes a drink and snack are nearly $4 at my local grocery store) and they contain a lot of sodium and unhealthy preservatives. To save money and provide your child with a more wholesome lunch, create your own delicious Lunchables!

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You can literally purchase just about anything to make these lunches with; simply go with ingredients your child loves. My kids love the turkey and ham Lunchables, so I buy 1/2 pound of deli ham and turkey each, which easily gets us through a week's worth of lunches. Other ingredients I alternate between include:

  • Block Cheddar Cheese
  • Mozzarella String Cheese
  • Pepperonis
  • Various Types of Fresh Fruit
  • Various Types of Fresh Veggies
  • Homemade Chicken Salad
  • Canned Tuna
  • Grilled Chicken Strips
  • Shredded Cheeses
  • Bottled Water
  • Juice Pouches
  • Crackers (Saltine, Vegetable Crackers, Triscuit, etc.)

Just use your imagination when creating your child's meals, and include things you know they will love. For instance, my son loves chicken salad, so a typical lunch for him might include a small container of chicken salad, a small baggie with several crackers, a couple of handfuls of grapes, a small piece of cheddar cheese, celery sticks and ranch dressing, a bottle of water and a juice pouch.

lunch boxes

Tips and Tricks

I've been packing my kids' lunches for a while, and I've learned a few tips and tricks that really help me out. Purchase a couple of larger lock-lid containers (large enough to hold the whole lunch and still fit into a lunchbox). These are great for making sure everything stays fresh and tasty. I also purchased some silicone cupcake liners (great dividers), smaller plastic containers that fit inside the larger ones, and super small plastic containers (for condiments, etc.)

When you're in a creative mood and you're enjoying packing your child's lunch, go ahead and pack a few extras for the week ahead. You'll appreciate the fact that you did on those mornings when you seem to be moving slowly or you're running late. Another great tip is to freeze the juice pouches. I use an ice pack, but freezing the juice pouch works so well because it thaws by the time your child goes to lunch and they have a cold drink ready for them.

Forget about buying the pre-packaged, preservative-laden, expensive Lunchables when you can create your own for a better price that's much healthier!

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