Frugal and Healthy Lunches for Kids – Guest Post

Frugal and Healthy Lunches for Kids

Sarah has some fantastic ideas for simple, healthful and inexpensive lunches for your kiddos…

Packing a lunch can get costly, but by using a few great shopping methods you can easily pack a healthy lunch without breaking the bank. Here are a few easy money saving principles to keep in mind while choosing this week’s menu:

  1. Buy whatever fruits and vegetables are in season and plan around those.
  2. Match coupons to the sale ads to get the best deals and to bring out your creativity.
  3. Homemade is often cheaper than prepackaged convenience foods especially when you’re using coupons.  See how cheap DIY oatmeal packets are compared to store bought packages here!
  4. Stock up when an item you use is on sale to get it at its lowest price which will give you plenty of money saving choices for weeks to come.

For less than $1 per day, your child can have a healthy, budget friendly lunch. Check out this sample lunch plan…


  • Hard-boiled eggs (2) $.20
  • Homemade mini muffins (2) $.08 (These are great to make and freeze for use later.)
  • Apple or orange $.25 (Aldi – $.25/each)
  • Juice Box $.15
  • Total $0.68


  • Sliced Cheese (or Tofutti) $.10
  • Whole Wheat Crackers $.10
  • Veggies w/ ranch $.20
  • Milk in a thermos $.10
  • Total $0.50


  • Peanut butter and jelly (Of course, in our family we use SunButter) $.25
  • Yogurt (dairy or soy) $.40
  • Granola $.20
  • Water in a sports bottle $.00
  • Total $0.85


  • Leftovers (mac ‘n cheese or spaghetti in a thermos) $.25
  • Raisin Bread w/ cream cheese (or Tofutti) $.25
  • Grapes $.15 (Use the great $1/1 Target produce coupon)
  • Capri Sun $.10
  • Total $0.75


  • Cheese stick wrapped in lunch meat $.30
  • Apple slices w/peanut butter $.30
  • Juice in a sports cup $.10
  • Total $0.70

Using ads and sales to get creative when packing a lunch can not only save money but also make your child happy too. Enjoy!

31 days of school lunchbox recipes

And, of course, don’t forget about the $5 Dinners’ 31 Days of School Lunchbox Ideas!

Sarah Roe is the author of The Power of Coupons: 13 Ways to Save and can be found on


  1. Sue says

    thanks! for the ideas.. my kids are pretty picky but the sides are good ideas.. We pack lunch it is so much cheaper than buying.. at 2.10.

  2. Anna says

    These are all great ideas, but the amounts suggest they’re for little kids. I’d LOVE to see some ideas for teenagers. My kids go to schools w/o cafeterias and so take lunches every day, but they are growing young teens. They eat a LOT!

  3. Missy_in_WV says

    I’m impressed with what you do for your kid’s lunches but I’m so thankful that my son has a hot school lunch every day. He’s a busy high school athlete and needs that nutrition (and quantity) every day (especially with practice after school every day, our dinners are always late and he can’t eat before practice) I can’t imagine packing him a lunch every day big enough to fill him up. Regular lunch price is $1.60, but because I’m on unemployment, it’s only 40 cents a day (thank goodness!)

  4. Shannon says

    Our school does not have subsidized lunches so hot lunches are $3.50 for kinds k-4, $3.75 for 5-7, and $4.25 for high school. I let my kids have one hot lunch a week, for now, but they both know that is subject to change. I talk with my kids about money and they know I can pack a lunch for under $1.
    I try to mix up lunch a bit but my kids are a bit picky, as much as I fight against that.
    One of our favorite lunches is buttered flour tortilla’s, tortilla chips, and an apple.
    We also do yogurt with jelly sandwich and pretzels.
    I’ll do peanut and jelly rolls where I flatten the bread and roll it up then slice like a jelly roll cake.
    For older kids talk with them, your cost may go up some, for sports kids you may want to double the protein, for average teenagers not into sports they may want double the sides.

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