Lunch Ideas For the Frugal Family


Lunch ideas may not seem to be an interesting food topic to discuss as breakfastis considered to be the most important meal of the day, but lunch is what gets you through until dinner time. The price of school lunches, cafes, restaurants, vending machines, and food cart prices we pay thru the year makes it hard to save and stay within the Family budget.

This is besides the fact that many lunch menus and eating lunch at work options are not as nutritious as they could be. Here are some money saving lunch ideas for frugal families.

1. Take your lunch. This goes for parents as well as kids, we all are tempted to eat the multiple fast food options with friends and co-workers every day. But this definitely costs a lot, my wife and I work in downtown Philadelphia. We figured out that with a breakfast sandwich, lunch and the occasional snack we could easily spend $300 plus per month "eaaaasy". This doesn’t include our teenage high school student who eats lunch at school (because packing your lunch is not cool). Those cute insulated lunch bags make it easier to carry hot and cold items. When you pack your own lunch, you know what you are getting and it is easier to avoid a lot of unhealthy fats and fast foods This particular lunch idea can save you a great deal of money.

2. Make a sandwich. I’m not talking about just any sandwich. This can be a wrap, pita, crust less bread, or bun sandwich. Varying the bread each day will help you bring variety to your lunch menu. You may want turkey with alfalfa sprouts, tomato, and onion on a pita or chicken strips with barbecue sauce, lettuce, and shredded cheese in a tortilla wrap. Invest in single packs of condiments. They can be used in lunches as opposed to putting them on the sandwich and eating a slimy and soggy lunchmeat sandwich around noon.

3. Bottled water and drink crystals. Water has never been the same since they came out with those single serve drink crystals. You can find them everywhere. You can catch a case of 24 16.09 ounce water on sale for $3.99 some stores have the 8 pack of single serve drink crystals for $.99. A 20 ounce soda on a food cart or CVS runs around $1.25-$1.39 you do the math. Best of all they have five calories or less. You can turn a bottle of water into a drink that is better than soda. Kids love them too.

4. Dessert courtesy of home. Stop! Put down that candy bar and walk away from the vending machine. Instead, choose a better option. Homemade granola can be shaped into bars and used as an after lunch snack. How about dried fruit pieces? They are sweeter than candy bars and won’t spike your blood sugar.

5. Ice packs. These nifty items will keep your best lunch ideas from spoiling. The perfect compliment to an insulated bag, they allow you to take yogurt or a sandwich with meat and not have to worry about it getting warm before it’s time to eat. Ice packs are particularly good for dairy items, mayo, and beverages.

6. Veggie sticks. Eat carrots, celery, cucumbers, and other veggies with your sandwich and add some Ranch dressing or Sour Cream dip for added flavor.

Lunch doesn’t have to come from the school cafeteria or the fast food joint around the corner to be good. Coming from home, it can be healthier, taste better and cost less. Now that’s a combination you can’t beat with a stick.