Packing Lunches for Kids

Lunch Box
Maybe I should change my hours
I can't remember exactly what sparked such racy conversation when Big Daddy and I crawled in between the sheets last night, but the topic came up over kids' school lunches.

I know; you are already jealous.

The topic of a certain Oscar-Meyer brand makes lunch packing able to be quick and painless in the mornings* came up.

Big Daddy's store is in an area that seems to suffer a good bit economically. As a matter of fact, that county is one of the top three in all the state of Tennessee for the highest unemployment rate. So it is a given that a large portion of his customer base uses the food assistance program. He has noticed that his store also is the highest in his district in sales of convenience foods.

I'll be the first to admit that especially at 5:00 in the morning, the last thing I want to do is cook breakfast and pack a lunch. It would be so easy to throw a pre-packaged box and a couple of cookies in a sack and be done with the whole mess. But there are two problems with those pre-packaged lunches besides the lack of good nutrition:

1. Most of them don't have enough stuff to fill my boys up meaning I'd have to pack extra stuff to go with it.
2. Expense.

Don't get me wrong; it's not that I have never bought any pre-packaged food. It's kind of like fast-food--every once in a while is okay. Actually, the boys look forward to field trips because that is usually when they get such things.

Our conversation prompted me to get my phone and calculate how much each lunch costs. Here is a breakdown of what I've been packing this week:

Turkey Wraps
     Turkey  1 lb.   2.00/5 =  .40
     cheese             1.99/10 = .20
     lettuce mix       1.49/3 = .50
    tortillas (10 pk)   .89/10= .09
Applesauce(6 pk)  1.69/6 = .28
Sun Chips (20 pk) 6.49/20 = .32
Fruit snack (6 pk) 1.29/6 = .22
Juice Box  (10 pk) 1.49/10 = .15

Grand total for each lunch = $2.16

This is only representative for this week. Some weeks may be more, some less.

The point is (and yes! I do have one) is that those pre-packaged lunches are not that much faster in the mornings. The above lunch scenario? I start my coffee and by the time I am done packing, my coffee is done. And I use a 4- cup coffee maker. The only "work" to this week's lunch was the wraps. The rest was grab and pack.

Some days may take a bit longer. On days that I make mini-pizzas, pack carrots and dip, or have to individually pack some food item, it may take longer. But it's worth it to me. Also, while some may argue that my boys (12 and 11) are old enough to pack their own lunch, that doesn't mean that they couldn't make the same things I have.

My lunch- packing mojo isn't going to make me Mother of the Year. I won't even get nominated. However, my goal here was to show that it is possible to put together a decent lunch rather quickly even before coffee. It's a healthier and less expensive option for a lunch at school.**

*In an effort to totally not offend Oscar-Meyer, I purposely did not mention the specific brand. You know, web crawlers and all. But you are smart and can read between the lines of to what I product I am referring. 

**For those of you that make those Bento boxes, I raise my coffee cup to you. My lunches look like pre-packaged versions in comparison. If my kids were younger, I would totally do it. Sadly, my boys are on the cusp of not bringing a lunch from home. It's not cool in middle school, yo. 


facebook-1359322570 said...

My daughter, before we began home schooling, always preferred a lunch from home, and it was rarely pre-packaged. Once she even asked if she could take some leftover meat loaf from the night before! lol She was usually easy to please. :)

Sara Vaz said...

The Big Z used to beg me to let her buy a hot lunch, but now that she can, she begs me to let her take her lunch.

I do "homemade" versions of that particular product. To avoid it taking a million years in the morning, Instead of cutting the meat and cheese that morning, I cut it all up when I bring it home, put it in little containers and then can pull out a serving and put it into the lunch box.

Hard boiled eggs are a hit around here too. Which I also make ahead of time so I can just throw the in a bag.

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