5 Simple & Frugal Tips for Packing Kid’s Lunches

One of my main goals with life is to make my life simpler. While I’m not opposed to spending more to do that at times I love it when simple and frugal meet in the perfect solution.

As I shared I’m working on getting my fitness back. We’ve started being more mindful about how we eat, and exercising more. One of the offshoots of our fitness strategy has been calorie counting. Not to the point of starvation (a girl’s still got to drink wine, and eat guacamole) but to better understand out motivation for eating and control our portion sizes.

Every week my husband would make calorie counted bags of a variety of snacks and breakfast cereal to make it easy to count calories during the hectic week. When school started it seemed like the perfect time to pack snacks for the kids as well (though we don’t count calories for them) to help manage our food budget and the constant snacking a bit more effectively.

The bonus? It also helps keep the infighting about who had more to a minimum.

5 Tips to Make Packing Lunches Easier

1. Fill water bottles and place them in the fridge.

Our favorite water bottles are Kleen Kanteens and Camelbacks, but I get tons as ‘swag’ too, so we use them all.

2. Make a meal template for your kids.

In our house it’s Main, Veggie, Fruit, Snack, and sometimes a treat. Here’s the sign Audrey made for our fridge outlining our lunch strategy:


3. Spring for reusable containers.

Making individual packs of fruit like grapes, strawberries, or orange slices, or veggies like carrots and celery makes packing a breeze. We use a combo of GladWare, Ziploc, Reusable Sandwich bags (like the ones pictured below), and plastic bags (though my aim is to phase those out).

4. Keep packing items accesible.

We made a bin with everything the kids need to pack their lunches, napkins and plastic silverware are easily accessible as well.

5. Put it away when you get home.

There’s nothing worse than stinky tuna sandwiches or curdled milk. The kids are responsible for bringing home any food they can’t finish (they snack on it later) and putting everything away. Cleaning and refilling water bottles, and wiping down lunchboxes have just become habit.

Here are some photos from the night before school started:

And here we are 4 weeks in:

The contents have changed, but the concept stuck. We even discovered that we don’t need as many snack bags as we thought! Each kid gets about 12 snack bags which is plenty to last them all week long.

Here’s a little video about how we put together the kids lunches:

What ways do you make lunch packing easier?


Don’t miss a single post! Subscribe to my RSS feed or sign up to have my posts delivered to your email.

About Kelly

Kelly Whalen is the founder and editor of the Centsible Life blog. She started the blog 6 years ago as her family faced a mountain of debt. The blog became a resource to readers and a hub for everything you need in life for less. Kelly lives in the Philadelphia area with her superhero husband, 4 awesome kids, and one adorable dog. She still believes you can have it all....just not all at once.


Share your thoughts!