Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thrifty Thursday - "sack" lunches

Back to school means back to packing lunches with a bit more regularity. The Chewy kid did have a couple of day camps where we needed to pack lunches - but for the most part - summer meant we got to come up with lunch menus on the fly. Mr. Chewy also takes his lunch to work, and on the days I'm at work over lunch, I pack as well. Why do we pack lunches? I think the two main reasons are to save money and to eat healthier. In order to do both of those we need to plan ahead! Mr. Chewy and I have the luxury of microwave use most of the time, and access to a fridge to keep things cool as well. The Chewy Kid has an insulated storage container that can keep cool things cool or hot things hot until lunchtime if primed well. (I fill with either hot water, or ice water to set the temp while I get the rest of his lunch ready.) Here are some of our standbys that aren't just "leftovers":

Main Dish
Elvis roll-up -tortilla smeared with peanut or soy nut butter wrapped around a banana
quesadilla - cooked, cooled and cut
pinwheels - tortilla smeared with low fat cream cheese, slice of turkey or ham, wrapped around a pickle
homemade "lunchables" - meat, cheese, crackers
tuna or chicken salad - and a rice cake to put it on
bagel/cream cheese

Favorite "leftovers" for lunches (Chewy Kid)
Any soup
pizza - yes, cold
most casseroles

Side Dishes
Well, Mr. Chewy is easy for sides -- everyday he takes a different main dish, but always has applesauce, chocolate pudding and a string cheese. I learned the hard way - don't try to surprise him with a different pudding!
Other sides:
veggies with dip
fresh fruit (cut for the chewy kid so he'll eat it all)
muffin or quickbread

Lowfat flavored yogurts
quickbread or muffin
fruit/cereal bar
small granola bar

100% juice - The Chewy Kid always takes juice, I know he'll drink it! I throw a couple of ice cubes in his reusable "drink box" to keep it cool. Mr. Chewy and I generally pack water and/or that occasional Coke Zero or Diet Dr. Pepper.

I'm working pretty hard for "waste free" lunches. I'm not there yet. Hoping to eliminate ziplock bags this year, although, especially with the kids smaller lunchbox - that's a bit of a challenge - but we're getting closer. We use a lot of Tupperware and Tupperware like objects.

I am more than open to any lunch packing ideas, tips, and recipes! What's in your lunch?


  1. Have you seen or tried the reusable snack/sandwich bags? The ones I've heard of are like this:
    Both the wrap and the pouch styles look handy.

    We stopped using baggies for lunches but it IS a challenge to have that much Tupperware in small lunch boxes. When I was pregnant, my lunch box looked like a small suitcase. :)

  2. Thanks for the website Margaret! I would love to get some washable "baggies" especially for smaller items. Water resistant (maybe not totally water proof) would be cool for potential leaks of the other items. I'm thinking for pretzels, or veggie sticks, wraps/rollups, etc. I should probably check flea markets or such. In the meantime, we'll continue to cram the plastic containers in the lunchboxes!

  3. That reminds me that I need to start making Jello and putting it in the tiny cups (Glad does 1/4cup)
    At one point, I did look into Bento Boxes. I think that those are pretty all inclusive.

  4. Just an FYI, Wallypop is having a buy 1, get 1 half off on sandwich/snack wraps today if you're thinking about those! (09/14/10) Write Terriffic Twosday in the comments box at checkout.

  5. Thanks for the tip Margaret! I just won a bento style lunch kit as a giveaway on another blog - so am excited to try that out for the tot and I