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food for school

Source: Dario Gaston Forcada De La Pena / Getty

As the new school year approaches, parents often find themselves faced with the challenge of providing nutritious and cost-effective lunches for their children.

Here are some savvy ways to help you save on school lunches:

1. Plan and Prepare Ahead:

  • Create a weekly or monthly meal plan for school lunches. This will help you shop more efficiently and reduce food waste.
  • Set aside some time on weekends to prep lunch items in advance, such as washing and cutting fruits and vegetables or making sandwiches.

2. Buy in Bulk:

  • Purchase non-perishable items like snacks, crackers, and pantry staples in bulk. This can often save you money in the long run.
  • Consider buying larger quantities of perishable items when they are on sale and freezing them for later use.

3. Embrace Leftovers:

  • Transform dinner leftovers into tasty lunch options. For example, last night’s grilled chicken can become a chicken salad or a wrap for lunch.

4. DIY Snacks:

  • Instead of buying pre-packaged snacks, make your own. You can portion out items like trail mix, yogurt, or granola into reusable containers.

5. Reduce Meat Costs:

  • Meat can be one of the more expensive components of school lunches. Consider meatless options like bean salads, hummus, and veggie wraps, or egg-based dishes.

6. Invest in Reusable Containers:

  • Instead of disposable bags and plastic wrap, invest in reusable lunch containers and drink bottles.
  • Teach your children to bring home their containers to be washed and reused.

7. Buy Seasonal and Local:

  • Purchase fruits and vegetables that are in season and available locally. They are often fresher and more affordable.

8. Shop Sales and Use Coupons:

  • Keep an eye out for sales, discounts, and coupons on lunchbox essentials. Many stores offer promotions during back-to-school season.

Saving on school lunches not only benefits your wallet but also teaches your kids valuable lessons about food, budgeting, and resourcefulness.