• Save Money on School Lunches

Five Ways to Save...

On School Lunches
Stephanie Nelson, CouponMom.com


1. Inexpensive sandwiches don’t have to be boring - Change the type of bread you use to vary the standard sandwich.  Tortillas, pita bread, and deli sandwich thins are fun alternatives to sandwich bread and can be less expensive than 2 pieces of store-bought sandwich bread.  Watch for sales and freeze extras when they are "buy one, get one free."
2. Pass the Deli - Deli turkey or chicken can cost as must as $9 per pound.  You can easily bake sale-priced boneless chicken breasts at a cost of $2.50 per pound (cooked).  Simply slice for sandwiches or shred for chicken salad.  My kids love my homemade chicken salad, which is more interesting than deli meat because it has toasted nuts, grapes and celery for crunch.  Use light mayo to keep it healthy.  Stuff in a tortilla or pita pocket, or send it in a plastic dish to eat on its own.

3. Leftovers - Pastas, casseroles, chili or stew from dinner the night before make a great lunch in a thermos.  Be creative! Last night's meatloaf can make a good meatloaf sandwich. Slice up chicken breast and wrap with a tortilla. During kitchen clean-up, go ahead and store leftovers in individual servings in the fridge ready for lunches the next day.

4. Fruit and veggies are easy to eat -  And, they are less likely to be thrown away if they are sliced and ready to eat. Grapes and cherries (in season) are easier to eat than a whole apple. Instead of sending just celery sticks, add peanut butter and raisins.  Or if your students can get ranch salad dressing at the cafeteria, remind them that it goes great along with carrot sticks and other veggies. 

5. Slice your own fruits and vegetables - Don't pay for the price of convenience.  I follow a "5 minute rule".  If it takes less than 5 minutes to prep food than it's worth doing!  For example, cutting your own carrots instead of buying baby carrots takes less than 5 minutes.  If you equate the time used with the premium price of pre-cut carrots, it would be as if you were paying someone $37 an hour to cut your carrots.  Save big by cutting your own apples and washing your own lettuce instead of sending bagged lettuce for salads.  

Stephanie Nelson is the Coupon Mom. With more than 6 million members, Coupon Mom gives members access to thousands of printable coupons for groceries, restaurants and more. As the nation’s top expert in couponing across the country, Stephanie has been on every major national television talk show and taught millions how to save money for the past 11 years. She has been called ‘”the rock star of the recession” by the Washington Post and her book, The Coupon Mom’s Guide to Cutting Your Grocery Bills in Half, is a New York Times best seller.

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