With school gearing back up, the thought turns to the daily routines — getting backpacks together, purchasing school supplies, and figuring out school lunches. Packing school lunches is often a sensitive subject, especially when the grocery budget is tight. Don’t buy those expensive pre-packaged items. Instead, get creative with some easier, inexpensive lunch ideas that your kids will love.
Soup and Pasta
If your kids are a fan of soup or pasta, why not send it for their lunch? You can make some delicious soup and put it into an insulated thermos that will keep it warm until lunchtime. If you don’t want to spend money on canned soups, whip up your own with some simple ingredients you have on hand. Make a simple chicken noodle soup with chicken breast, chicken broth, sliced carrots and celery, salt and pepper. Allow it to cook down for about 30 minutes and then add some broken spaghetti. Transfer it to a thermos and you’re good to go.
If your child enjoys pasta, you can also send it with them for a nice warm lunch in a thermos. Simple marinara and pasta is one of the easiest and inexpensive ways to feed your child. The key is to use small pasta that your child can easily eat at school. Instead of long pasta, such as spaghetti or fettuccini, use wagon wheels or shell pasta.
Homemade Pizza Pockets
Another fun and delicious lunch idea is homemade pizza pockets. These are quick and easy to make up and keep in the freezer. You will need some refrigerated bread dough, some pizza sauce, and some mozzarella cheese. You also can add pepperoni, Canadian bacon and vegetables if your children enjoy those.
Separate the pizza dough into four to six sections. Roll out each section into a flat circle. Spread some pizza sauce within the circle of dough. Take care not to take the sauce all the way to the edge of the dough. Next, place your cheese, meat, and vegetables on top. Do not overfill the pizza pockets. Once you have gotten all of the pizza pockets filled, fold them over and crimp the edges with a fork. Brush the top of the dough with some garlic butter and bake them at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. Once you are ready to serve them for lunch, take one of the pockets out and allow it to defrost overnight. Microwave the pizza pocket for one to two minutes, then wrap it in aluminum foil to help keep it warm.
If your child is a fan of scrambled eggs, egg muffins are an ideal option that you can customize any number of ways. You can make a dozen of these at one time and store them in the refrigerator to easily grab for lunches.
Crack a dozen eggs into a large bowl. Wisk them well with a splash of milk, salt and pepper. Next, add in some of your child’s favorite foods. Cheese, ham, turkey, and sausage are some great things to add. You also can add some chopped bell pepper, shredded zucchini, or even broccoli to your egg muffins. Once you have your mixture ready, ladle some mixture into each section of a muffin tin. Bake them at 350 degrees for ten to 15 minutes until they are firm. Once they are cool, put them into a storage container. When you are packing lunch, put two or three of them into a storage bag or lunch container. They are great served at room temperature, making them a great option for your child’s lunch.
School lunch does not have to be complicated or expensive. These ideas are easy and are more fun for kids than a regular sandwich. Get your kids involved in the preparation of their lunch as well. This will make them even more excited to eat it every day.