Life Hack: How To Make School Lunches For Under $3 A Day

Blog | September 16th, 2019

Paying for school lunches can be expensive. Some states, such as California, charge nearly $7 for a single meal. Statistics from the National School Lunch Program show that roughly eight million students across the country pay full price for lunches. 

If your child buys lunch, it could be scary to see just how much you’re spending each year to feed them. So, what can you do? The best thing that you can do is to start making lunches for your kids. Not only can doing so save you money, but it’s also a healthier option for your child as well, as you’ll control precisely what they’re eating.

This article tells you everything you need to know about how to make school lunches for under $3 a day. If the school year is 180 days long, this means that you’ll potentially save $500 or more per child.

Peanut Butter and Jelly with a Banana

This is a simple meal that’s easy for you to make. You’ll need the following ingredients:
  • Bread
  • Peanut Butter
  • Jelly
  • Fruit
  • Lemonade or similar beverage

A loaf of bread costs around $3.00, which means that each slice of bread costs around $0.17, for a total price of $0.34. A jar of peanut butter costs around $3.50. The average 30.2-ounce jar of peanut butter contains 25 servings. If you use one serving for your sandwich, you’ll have spent $0.14. Your total costs so far are $0.48.

The cost of a jar of jelly is about $2.50. A seven-ounce jar contains 14 servings, which brings the total cost per serving to around $0.18. The total cost of the sandwich is $.66. 

The cost of a piece of fruit depends on which type you purchase. But, let’s say that it costs $1. You want to give your child something to drink as well. You use a refillable water bottle that you fill with lemonade. The price of a gallon of lemonade is $4. A 16-ounce serving equates to $0.50. The total cost of the meal is $2.16.

Ham and Cheese Kabobs

This exciting meal is an excellent way for your child to eat healthily and enjoy a delicious meal. You’ll need the following ingredients:
  • Ham
  • Cheese
  • Grape Tomatoes
  • Yellow Mustard

Eight ounces of premium ham costs around $3.50. If you use two slices of ham, you’ll have spent $0.87. The cheese is a bit more expensive, costing around $4.50 for 16 slices. This recipe calls for two slices, which costs $0.56.

You’ll put these ingredients on skewers. A pack of 300 skewers costs about $2.00, which means you’ll pay around $0.01 per skewer. You’ll alternate putting pieces of ham and cheese on the skewer to create a kabob.

At both ends of the skewer, you’ll want to add grape tomatoes. A pack of tomatoes costs around $2.70. Since you’re only using two tomatoes, you’re only spending about $0.32.

Lastly, you’ll want to add a teaspoon of mustard for taste. Yellow mustard costs about $1.70, which means you’ll spend less than ten cents for a teaspoon. So, for the kabobs, you’ll have paid $1.85. Add a piece of fruit, and the cost becomes $2.85.

Related: 9 Affordable Back-To-School Products That Are Made to Last

Banana Burritos

This is a meal that children should look forward to eating. To make this, you’ll need:
  • Bananas
  • Peanut Butter
  • Jam
  • Flour Tortillas

If your child is tired of eating sandwiches, try these banana burritos instead. First, start with the flour tortillas, which cost around $2.30 for a pack of ten. We recommend that you use two tortillas for this meal, which should cost $0.46 in total.

Spread peanut butter on the tortillas. Since you have two tortillas, you’ll need two servings, which comes to a cost of $0.28. Next, you’ll want to add jam on top of the peanut butter. You can find strawberry jam for as little as $3.00 at your local grocer. The average jar has 14 servings, which brings the cost to serving to $0.21. Multiply this by two, and the price is $0.42.

Bananas are one of the most affordable pieces of fruit out there, costing about $0.17 per banana. You’ll cut the banana in half, so your total cost of the meal is $0.17. Thus, the price so far is $1.33.

You won’t need to add any more fruit since your child is already getting a serving in the burrito. So, let’s say that you want to give your child a granola bar instead. You can purchase a pack of six granola bars for $3.00, which brings the cost of each bar to $0.50. You then fill their refillable bottle with juice, which again increases the total cost by $0.50. The total cost of a delicious banana burrito meal is $2.33.

Final Thoughts

Packing lunch for your kids is an excellent way to help save money and make sure that they’re eating healthy. It’s much easier to pack these budget-friendly lunches than you’d think. It should be easy to do so thanks to our guide on how to make school lunches for under $3 a day.

Each of the meals that we provided contains healthy ingredients. Best of all, it’s easy to remake these meals over and over again. Purchasing the ingredients once can produce meals for at least a week.