Thursday, April 11, 2013

To Buy (School Lunches) or To Pack?

I know...
This post is out of season.  It probably would've been more helpful back in the fall when school started.  On the other hand, perhaps you're at the point in the school year where you're out of ideas when it comes to packing school lunches.  Maybe this will help.

Our kids came to a mature decision at the beginning of this school year.  School lunches aren't worth our hard-earned money.  Portion sizes were wonky, and some favorite items had been taken off the menu.   I was thrilled that the kids came to the conclusion to "pack" everyday on their own.  In my opinion, it's much easier to grocery shop, choosing healthy items that my family loves, than to hand over cash and not know what my kids are eating.

A few things about our family:  Yes, our kids are teens and yes, I pack their lunches.  No judgement on those of you who have your kids pack their own lunches.  This is just the way we roll around here.  I figure their job is to go to school, and right now, my job is a stay-at-home-mom... so I do the packin'.  Also -- our son did buy school lunches about once a week last year, but... he became disenchanted by the end of the year, and then by last fall, it was a no-brainer for the new school year.

Typically, I pack:

  • a sandwich (or sometimes a leftover main-dish item that is delicious cold --to my kids)
  • a veggie
  • a fruit
  • a yogurt
  • a munchie or dessert item - sometimes

Some of those "eat it cold" leftovers include*:

(*When I make these items for dinner, I've learned to make extras for lunches the next day, and my kids are always happy to have something different than just a sandwich.)

So, tonight I'm making pizza.  And though we often make our own dough, today I grabbed some pre-baked crusts at the grocery store.  Sometimes I even find these for cheap at our local grocery outlet -- a real SCORE!

I'm making full-sized pizzas for our dinner, but this time I also grabbed some personal sized crusts for tomorrow's lunches.  I'll add toppings depending on each child's favorites, bake them while we eat dinner, and when they've cooled, I'll cut them in quarters and wrap them up for tomorrow's lunches.

Tomorrow morning, I'll have all kinds of extra time since I don't have any sandwiches to make.  I might even enjoy my first cup of tea before the kids head out to the bus stop!

Oh, and while I'm at it -- let me share my recipe for homemade pizza sauce.  It's from my mom, and I've used it for years.  It's enough for one large pizza -- maybe a little more if you like your sauce on the light side.

Pizza Sauce

6 oz. can tomato paste
1/3 c. water
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Mix well to incorporate spices.  Can be frozen.

How many more weeks of school do your kids have?


  1. You can pack me a to go lunch any day, Sally. I always brought lunch from home, lovingly packed by my mom. High school was different. I wasn't into eating, so lunch was a bag of pretzel nuggets most days and an orange drink. ;-) xo

  2. We normally make our son lunch 4 out of the 5 days. He's in 4th grade. He doesn't like sandwiches, so we pack lunch meat, yogurt, fruit and a snack. He loves pizza and I should make him some. I love Grocery Outlet too! I always begin my weekly grocery shopping there. Have a lovely weekend.

  3. I pack my kids lunches too. I'm always looking for something else to give them besides sandwiches. Your personal sized pizzas are a great idea! My kids have another 8 to 10 weeks of school left.

  4. Hi Sally, My DIL packs our grandchildren healthy lunches each day. Thanks for sharing this at the Open House party.

  5. Yummy!!! I be that would be delicious on my yucky GF pizza crust. Haha! (Okay it's not that bad... but gluten free stuff needs GOOD sauce to help it go down.)

    Love that you still make their lunches. How old are your kids again? I'm thinking both are teens? I have the most boring lunch items because of the no gluten... I miss SANDWICHES!!

    Okay happy Sunday night girl!


Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I read each and every one, and truly enjoy "conversations" with you! ~Sally

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