Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Save Money by Making Your Own Lunchables

Everytime I go to the Grocery store my kids beg me for lunchables. I think the real appeal is that they get to participate in making their own luch and they are so much more interesting to them than a plain old sanwich in a baggie. I don't care for them because they are too expensive (especially with 5 children) and full of preservatives. However since I want my kids to enjoy their lunch enough to eat it and I want them to have a healthy lunch. Here are a few ideas to copy some of the Lunchables for your child to take to school:

Start with the packaging, as every retailer knows packaging sells-Buy colorful plastic containers with compartments, cute napkins and a reusable sport drink bottle. You can find a lot of these items at your local dollar store. Look for some of the little covered containers for sauces too. If you can't find these you can always save these up from take-out meals. Kids want their lunch to look better than the kid's next to them. If you don't already have some get some cookie cutters in different shapes these come in handy for cutting the bread into appealing shapes.

Lunchable #1 Pizza:

Toast whole Wheat Bread until lightly toasted (this will keep it from getting soggy). Cut a round or star shaped piece from it. In seperate small lidded containers pack small amounts of your favorite spaghetti sauce, shredded cheese and a couple of slices of pepperoni. Make sure you add a snack size treat and their favorite juice in a small sports bottle. They have lots of fun with this one.

Lunchable #2 Maxed Out Nachos

Although not my top choice for being a healthy lunch choice. Homemade Nachos are definitely a step above the prepackaged version. This one is super easy. Put a handful of tortilla chips into the largest compartment. Fill smaller containers with salsa, cheese use another container for shredded lettuce and tomatoes, the storebought lunchables doesn't have these so this is a great nutritous addition. Juice in the sports bottle and a small airhead candy and you have Maxed Out Nachos!

Lunchables #3 Chicken Dunks

Simply cook 5 breaded chicken nuggets in microwave, allow to cool place in container along with a small container of ketchup or favorite dipping sauce. The treat for this one is a few starburst candies. Don't forget the juice.

I know this seems like it would take a lot of extra time you may not have but you can pack up two or three of these ahead of time and keep them refrigerated. Check out the nutritional information on prepackaged lunches and I think you'll agree it's worth the extra time and effort!

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