Packing Lunch & Saving Money!
Lunchtime is often enjoyed at work and unless provided, something we need to pack before leaving for the day. When busy, it can be tempting and convenient to opt for the drive-thru which can be expensive. With proper planning and preparation packing a lunch can be quick, help us make healthier choices, and save money. Read below for helpful tips when packing a lunch for you or someone else.
Meal Plan & Save – Include lunch when making a meal plan for you and your family. Use your meal plan to create a grocery list of needed ingredients. A plan helps keep things organized and eliminates any unnecessary spending. Look for weekly discounts and buy in bulk the foods eaten most often.
Leftovers – Plan to eat leftovers or make extra of your dinnertime meal to include in a few lunches throughout the week. This may help reduce the number of ingredients needed to purchase when shopping.
Have kids help – If you are making lunches for kids, let them be part of the meal plan. Kids are more likely to eat things they help prepare or make decisions about. This can also help reduce any food waste throughout the week.
In addition to saving money, packing a lunch can also be nutritous! Try to include the five main food groups when planning your lunch. The five main food groups are vegetables, fruits, grains, protein, and dairy. Here are lunch ideas that include all the food groups.
- Deli ham or turkey slices with reduced-fat cheddar cheese cubes, whole grain crackers, sliced cherry tomatoes, apple slices, and low-fat yogurt.
- A peanut butter and banana sandwich served on whole grain bread with celery sticks, fresh strawberries, and low-fat milk.
- Cheese quesadillas on whole wheat tortilla with a side of bell pepper sticks, guacamole, mixed berries, and low-fat string cheese.
Written by: Christina Fakhoury, Extension Agent – Better Living for Texans, Parker County
Content Source: https://www.strong4life.com/en/feeding-and-nutrition/mealtimes/10-tasty-packed-lunch-ideas-for-school-aged-kids, Photo From: BLT program.
Recipe of the Month
Lunches during the school day or the workday often need to be easy to take with you and require little to no preparation when ready to eat. Preparing lunch at home is often cheaper and healthier for us!
Choose one food from each MyPlate food group. You can cut, slice, or pre-portion several items once and enjoy throughout the week. If a refrigerator is unavailable for your lunch, keep your MyPlate Lunchbox stored in an insulated container with an ice pack or frozen water bottle. Note: Nutrition content will change as ingredients are substituted.
|1 cup fresh berries
1 small apple
1 large banana
1 fruit cup like peaches or pears in 100% fruit juice
|1 cup celery sticks
1 cup sliced bell peppers
1 cup baby carrots
1 cup cucumber slices
1 cup roasted chickpeas
|1 small whole wheat tortilla (6” diameter)
1/2 cup brown rice
1 cup whole grain cereal
1 whole wheat muffin
5 100% whole wheat crackers
|1 hard-boiled egg
1/3 cup hummus
1 tablespoon nut butter
2 slices of lean lunchmeat
1-2 tablespoon mixed nuts
|1 cup low-fat yogurt
1/3 cup Greek Tzatziki dip
1 cheese stick
1 cup cottage cheese
Example: 1 cup berries, 1 cup sliced bell peppers, 5 100% whole wheat crackers, 1 hard-boiled egg, and ⅓ cup Greek tzatziki dip
Nutrients Per Serving (from example): 280 calories, 9 g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 165 mg cholesterol, 330 mg sodium, 41 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 16 g total sugar, 0 g added sugar, and 13 g protein