Pros and Cons of packing your own school lunches

lunch As with anything there are pros and cons of packing your own school lunches. A big Pro is the fact that it costs less to pack your own lunch than it does to buy the school lunches. Although school lunches don’t tend to be too expensive. But you can buy a loaf of bread, a package of deli meat, a large bag of chips and a box of juices (10 lunches, that is less than 30c/juice) and only spend the amount of may be 4 or 5 school lunches. So for 10+ home-made lunches, that you are pretty guaranteed will be eaten every crumb of, you would only get 1/2 of that number of lunches with your school and you can’t be sure if they would  eat all of the lunch you just spent your hard-earned money on.

Now as most of you know I have children at all grade levels. We have always packed lunches and my children have no qualms having a packed lunch. In fact their friends seem to love getting the extras and the home-made sandwiches too. Much better than most of the school lunches.  We, as a family, can not afford to buy school lunches but I do purchase, for each child, at the beginning of the year about $20 worth, in intervals because who can afford to drop $100 in one lump sum for lunches that won’t be eaten until later in the year? The children know and accept that these are special lunches and that they need to be very picky as to when they choose to eat them. Here are some of our typical lunches:

  • sandwich (the type depends on who I am making the lunch for of course)
  • drink (usually a Capri sun or juice of some sort)
  • fruit snacks
  • a snack baggie of chips or pretzels
  • carrots or a lunch container of fruit – don’t forget the spoon, most lunch rooms only have sporks
  • napkin
  • hand sanitizer

Lunches of course vary from day to day, week to week, depending on what we have in the house. Sometimes, as the chef, I felt like I was making the same thing again and again. So I looked for help…. and here are some things I came across.

  • Roll your sandwiches
  • cut your sandwiches with a cookie cutter (Pampered Chef has a great sandwich sealer)
  • put a face on it
  • don’t make a sandwich, make a picture puzzle out of the meat choice – bologna works great for this
  • mix up sandwich selections – that way no one gets bored
  • make a fruit salad with grapes and raisins and cut and lemon rubbed apples maybe some walnuts or pecans
  • or a fruit kabob
  1. lunch1
    faces on a bit of their lunch
Apple sandwiches
fruit kabobs

Eating school lunches has its advantages.

  1. YOU don’t have to make it
  2. you don’t have to worry about them getting all of the food groups
  3. they may get to try some foods that you haven’t made for them

But the disadvantages are just as varied.

  1. your child may not choose something from every food group
  2. they probably won’t try something new
  3. and from a substitute teacher’s insight most children don’t even eat anything from their lunch tray except may be the milk

Here are some additional suggestions:

Blessed as always with my blessings

Mary Anne~


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