DIY Lunchable – Cheaper & Healthier

If you care about saving money, I am sure you have heard the benefits of Meal Planning. This includes lunch too, of course. Well, we’ve all had those days where we have to go from one activity to another and time runs out, so we grab something from the restaurant/store. We had one such day recently and I was so annoyed by the results.

Thursdays are our tight days due to 1/2 day Kindergarten that ends at 11:40 and then Dance Class beginning at 12:30. Typically, I bring all our lunches to pick up and we go straight to Dance. This day, however, we went for a little field trip in the morning and ran out of time so I stopped at the store and picked up Ham & Cheese Lunchables for the kids. Paying $2.50-ish a piece for these, I expected {foolishly} that these lunches would have included healthy options for the kids.

Nope. Nada. Nothing.

Crackers, ham, cheese, cookie, Capri Sun. That was it.

No fruit. No veggie. #MomFail.

I literally stopped home super fast and grabbed fresh fruit and a bag of carrots to take to Dance 🙂 {Yup… I’m a tad bit crazy… But I think it is just the right amount 😉 }

The reason I was so very annoyed is that I knew that I could easily put together a healthy version of a Lunchable for much less money. I saw this product as a rip-off and {ask my friend} I kind of went on a little rant about it – hence this post.

Using saved lunch meat containers, I can create multiple “Lunchables” at a fraction of the cost. I know because this is my go-go picnic meal. Depending on what you put in, you can create a week’s worth of lunches for the same cost of one Lunchable.

Note: I know that there is something to be said for convenience. The truth is, I got into a routine of making four at a time every week in less than 10 minutes. If you do this on Sunday – or have your kids do this – you will save a lot of money throughout the year.

Changing up the fruits, meats, and veggies are easy ways to keep these fresh for little eyes. We’ve done several variations, including pita bread and hummus, but for the sake of comparison, I kept my sample below pretty equal to what we purchased.

My supplies

  • Wheat Round Crackers ~ $2.00 for the box
  • Pepperoni {or any meat} ~ $2.50 for the package
  • Cheese ~ $2.00 for the block
  • Apple ~ $1.50/lb.
  • Banana ~ $0.44 for a bunch
  • Carrots ~ $0.99 for a bag
  • Water {not pictured} ~ $0.00

Total for all items: Just under $9.00

I can easily get 12 meals out of these items, bring each DIY Lunchable to $0.79.

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Simply place all items within your container, being certain to keep crackers away from fruit or anything that can be absorbed as they will take on that flavor. You can also put the crackers in a baggie within the container or a silicone cupcake holder.

I make my lunches with five of each of the crackers, cheese and pepperoni. I pick a couple of pieces of fruit and divide it among the containers. I add carrots to finish and lunch is served.

Note: If you are prepping for the week, depending on the fruit choice you might want to sprinkle with pineapple or lemon juice to avoid browning. Plus, bananas should be eaten same day.

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The containers stack so nicely for placement in lunch boxes or refrigerator.

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Look at that! So pretty. Stacked so nicely 🙂

I know that these items have the convenient factor, but it’s not enough for me to justify the cost and lack of nutrition for my kids.

/rant

Have a great day!
Andrea-sig

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