Budget Lunchbox Ideas

Budget Lunchbox Ideas

Coming up with winning ways to fill yours and your kids’ lunchboxes can prove tricky. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut, packing the same old things day in, day out – and it’s even easier to reach for pre-packaged choices.  Try our suggestions for lower-budget options without compromising on flavour.

Fruit & Nut Ninja

Rather than buying prepackaged bags. Why not slice and core your own apple, then put it back together as a whole and tie a rubber band around it or put it in an airtight double sealed bag. This discourages browning and keeps the slices juicy. Buy dried fruit, nuts, mini pretzels, and granola in bulk and store in jars at home. Then decant into food containers for lunches when you need them.

Pack Your Own Yoghurt

Here’s a good way to use up bottom-of-the-fruit-bowl ripe fruit or good-value frozen berries – blend or mash up your own simple fruit purée, then swirl into plain yogurt for a quick and easy alternative. Use reusable pouches or plastic tubs so you can make simple yogurts in bulk and always have a stash in the freezer ready to go.

Bread Winners

Get into the habit of freezing the last leftover bagel, pitta, tortilla wrap or slice of bread in the packet. This way you get to vary between pinwheel wraps, club sandwiches or cookie-cutter shapes to keep things interesting without buying different bakery items each week.

Lunchbox Like An Italian

When it comes to waste-not-want-not and repurposing leftovers from family meals, Italian food is the perfect solution. Make extra portions of your favourite pasta salad or simple pizza then serve the surplus the next day as instant, thrifty lunchbox fillers. Bits and pieces from the fridge can also be repurposed into a frittata.

Chocs Away

Get the kids involved in some weekend baking to help fill their daily lunchbox's. Buy mini pretzels or crackers in bulk and half dip in melted chocolate and optional sprinkles. Make your own chocolate cookies or biscuits and store in the freezer and add to lunchboxes as needed.

Adventures Of Tin Tin

Don’t overlook the tins in your store cupboard for cheap and cheerful lunchbox salad on standby. Cost-cutting tinned white beans and chickpeas form the basis of many lunchbox-friendly dips, perfect for popping in a pot with crudités as a hummus alternative. Or for a simple, thrifty and nutritious lunch box filler, mix drained canned tuna and butter beans, then liven it up with a few snipped leftover herbs and a squeeze of lemon – plus a bit of chopped cucumber or stray tomato from the fridge.

Souped Up

Enjoy cheap and cheerful soup for lunch. Soup is nutritious, satisfying and comes in endless varieties. Either cook in batches for the freezer, make a ladle or two extra at dinnertime to siphon off into flasks for the next day, or raid the fridge for wilting ingredients and leftovers to repurpose into something lovely.

Make Your Own Ready Salted

With just two ingredients – a sweet potato and olive oil – baked crisps couldn’t be simpler to make. Why spend money on processed packets of crisps when you can make your own healthier alternative for tomorrow’s lunch in the time it takes the kids to learn tonight’s spellings? Sprinkle with a little salt, to mimic shop-bought Ready Salted.

Tap Into Fruit Water

Ditch packaged drinks for your own fruit-infused tap water in a reusable bottle. Jazz it up with a few odds and ends from the fruit bowl or herb garden and let the kids experiment to find their new favourites.