Budget101 Challenge: Share your Favorite Back to School Lunch Bag Ideas

Budget101 Discussion List Archives Budget101 Discussion List Budget101 Challenge: Share your Favorite Back to School Lunch Bag Ideas

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    • #321146

      We’ve compiled a pretty big list of inexpensive hot and cold lunch ideas for back to school over here, but we’d love to hear your ideas, thoughts, recipes and input as well!

      coffeebath smilieSo much so that we’re giving away a Keurig Coffee Pot system to one randomly drawn winner from each of the replies to this thread. So jump in and share your favorite ideas!

      So are you up for the Challenge? What are YOUR best Back to School Lunch Ideas?

    • #441112

      Well, when my youngest son wants tuna in his lunch, I will freeze his juice bag and that will double as an ice pack. It keeps the tuna cold and is ready for him to drink by lunch time. It will sweat so I will also wrap a paper towel around the juice bag to help keep things somewhat dry.

    • #441113

      Leftovers, leftover & leftovers. A combination of last nights dinner (small portion) & yogurt & fruit. You need a combination of both hot & cold.

      Make your own iced tea for a beverage.

    • #441115

      Freeze the Yogurt Squeeze ups and they will still be cold also freeze the milk and it will be cold. You can freeze seedless grapes for a good cold fruit to also pack for lunches.

    • #441117
      Ms Alusa

      I put my ideas in the “Share your Favorite Back to School Lunch Bag Ideas” thread. I hope that’s what I was supposed to do to enter. This site is proving very difficult for me to navigate.

      It’s never really clear to me how to do what I want to do. Does that make any sense?

    • #441118

      Lunch burritos: scrambled eggs, cheese, crispy potatoes, and sauteed veggies (onions, peppers, mushrooms, zucchini) rolled in a soft flour tortilla. Can be warned in the microwave, but is great at room temperature also!

    • #441126

      I place the bread, meat, veggies, cheese, etc in separate bags. When we go out to restaurants I keep the small pkts of condiments and they can all be placed in a bag and the child or adult can put the sandwiches together at lunch. This method keeps everything fresh.

    • #441127

      Using a variety of natural wraps (or flavored, w/coloring…i.e., sun-dried tomato flavored/red tinted), create several, 8″-10″ ‘logs’, each with distinctly different fillers. Select assorted colors,textures,and flavors of the meats, cheeses, spreads, veggies, frosting (yes!), ANYTHING your kids like best. Stack each item, evenly distributed over the whole area. Tightly roll the wrap from one side, over & over, to the opposite side.

      Either tuck in the ends or slice off any overhang for a ‘clean’ edge. Slice the wrap into as many 2″-3″ servings that each ‘log’ will allow. Finally, take one or two servings of each variety, lining them up back-to-back on a sheet of wax paper or tin foil (plastic wrap may not be sturdy enough, but is the most visually appealing).

      Wrap the log in a nice & tight “candy wrapper” fashion. Your child will have a fun variety of combo’s to eat, served up in Sushi Roll style!! This is great for offering variety and cutting out prep time from your schedule.

      Remaining portions can be served as snacks or again, in the next days’ lunch bag!

    • #441130

      Well I would put a hot or cold lunch in a paper sack with plastic utensils because I remember going to school and it was much easier to throw everything out then to remember to bring it all home. As for the lunch material a simple PB&J with chips and an apple. A juice box and maybe sometimes a soda.

      Don’t forget a treat and a sweet note saying Have a great day! -love mom. You could always replace the sandwich with a cheese and bologna.

      Just remember to change it up and make it exciting.

    • #441133

      Cheesy Turkey Roll-Ups
      3 slices turkey
      cream cheese, softened
      3 strips bell pepper
      Spread turkey slices with cream cheese. Place pepper strip on one end of turkey slice and roll! With juice, four or five triscuit-type crackers and a big cookie…this makes a nice lunch.

    • #441136

      When I think of school lunches, what comes to mind is that old standby; Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches (with Grape Jelly) or just plain Peanut Butter Sandwiches. Might not be the best choice, but it was a favorite of mine (good thing, as it was pretty much all that we had). It was a real treat if you could get some Milk to go with your lunch, but Water worked to wash it down as well.

      Also works for snacks or for an evening meal. Thanks; Virginia

    • #441137

      I like to make a 20 quart stock pot full of vegetable soup or beef and noodles. I cook the soup so the noodle are 3 minutes from done. we will have one serving for supper and the rest are frozen in the small round, screw lid container.

      when I need lunch I have a can of healthier homemade soup made just the way I like it. since it is frozen, I can leave it at my desk and not worry about the gross fridge at work.

      for school lunches. my kids favorite is peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

      I peanut butter both sides of the bread and jelly in the middle keeps the bread from getting soggy. then I give them these Budget101.com – – Crunchy honey Granola bars | Copycat Nature Valley Granola Bars their favorites. with a cut up apple or orange(sprinkle of lemon juice keeps apple from turning dark) bottle of water and they are good to go.

      My daughter likes to take homemade soup, heat it up to it is really hot and put it in a 12 ounce thermos.

      this has a folding spoon that fits on the top. she will take a cup of soup and the mess is confined inside the thermos.

    • #441144

      @Ms Alusa 319317 wrote:

      I put my ideas in the “Share your Favorite Back to School Lunch Bag Ideas” thread. I hope that’s what I was supposed to do to enter. This site is proving very difficult for me to navigate.

      It’s never really clear to me how to do what I want to do. Does that make any sense?

      Ms. Alusa, I’m sorry to hear you’re experiencing difficulties with navigating the site. There are currently over 400,000 pages of info here, so navigation can sometimes be hard to figure out.

      There are 3 Main Sections:

      Forums– where everyone goes to talk/chat/post questions/ etc. the forums are divided in multiple categories to make finding answers to your questions a bit easier.

      Articles– this is where the owners generally share lengthy recipes, do it yourself ideas, tips and tricks, etc. this is also divided into sections, but the content is usually added by the site owner.

      Blogs– this is where you can share your thoughts, worries, joys, blurbs about what’s currently going on it your life, struggles and successes.

      there are also lots of little places to go.. like groups– where you can meet with like minded people to discuss a particular topic, such as photography or homeschooling.

      there are Albums- where you can share your own photographs and food recipe photos, family photos etc

      Hope that helps you!

    • #441154

      always put celery sticks, crackers and cheese, or other fruits. Better than candy for the child.

    • #441161

      I always make my husbands meal the night before with leftovers from dinner. Then in the morning I add a banana and a “dessert” like some fruit snacks because he can easily eat them during his break. I always hide something special somewhere in his lunch box that he has to find.

      A note or Hershey’s Kiss something small like that. So he knows I was thinking about him.

    • #441162

      I have a very picky eater! But likes cherry tomatoes frozen, juice packs and crackers w/butter and cheese we also do ham roll-up.

    • #441169

      Re: Budget101 Challenge: Share your Favorite Back to School Lunch Bag Ideas
      School lunches are getting expensive. I make up a weeks worth of sandwiches on Sunday. My kids help with this and write their name on the baggie(I have 4 kids and this helps A LOT to keep thing straight). Then we freeze them and can pull them out each day. Then they pick a fruit, and carrots, and for a fun snack we make “lunchbox s’mores”-grahm cracker, chocolate frosting on one half, and marshmallow fluff on the other, then press together-whala-“lunchbox s’mores”.

    • #441188

      I freeze my kids juice and that way it keeps their food cold and it is ready to drink by lunch time. since they have ham or some kind of meat in there lunch every day.

    • #441190

      I am trying to put an idea up on the board for lunch box hot or cold but find it difficult to navigate also.

    • #441192

      Throughout the summer season, as fruit comes ready I dehydrate it then freeze it so come fall I have a large amount of preserved fruit to pull from the freezer. I create a mixture of dried plums, apricots, peaches and cherries then add some sunflower seeds and other nuts that are on sale to create an awesome wholesome lunch addition or snack, varying the portion to the size of snack needed. We also take this mixture with us throughout the winter when we go skiing…great energy booster with no additional costs

    • #441209

      I put sunflower seeds in a separate container to the yoghurt and my son likes to mix them together at lunch… also likes frozen peas.. which thaw by lunch

    • #441217

      I like the whole “salad in a jar” concept. Where the dressing is on the bottom and then you layer your lettuce and veggies and cheese (of course). Then when you are ready to eat, you just shake them up and enjoy.

      You can make so many varieties and they can be made at the begining of the week and they don’t get all soggy because the dressing is on the bottom.

    • #441222

      Quick Fried Rice

      Saute thinly sliced scallions (whites only) in vegetable oil, then add frozen carrots, peas, corn, diced ham and a splash of water and soy sauce. Cook until heated through, then stir in leftover brown rice and another splash of water and soy sauce until the rice is softened and heated through. Stir in thinly sliced scallions (green parts), toasted sesame seeds, and (chopped peanuts are optional.) let cool and put in bowl for lunch bag. good cold and room temp. also add an apple that you cut in 4ths. put a rubber band around it to hold it together to keep from getting brown. no need for lemon juice.

    • #441226

      I cut up a cardboard box, into small squares. I place the squares in between each item, so when the cold items sweat they don’t ruin the rest of the lunch. My girls are still little, so I make sure to always put a “little sumpthin” in their lunch. Usually a sheet of stickers, with at note. It gives the girls something to “talk about” with the other kids at lunch, and is teaching them to share more!

    • #441372

      Our kids schools charge an exorbitant amount of money for their GMO filled processed “food” that they serve the kids. I think it tends to get worse over the years rather than better.
      I have a tendency to make casserole-style dishes throughout the fall and winter months and the kids bring leftovers to school, like chop-suey, stir fries, etc. Their friends try to trade with them, haha so they can have “real meals”.

      Sandwich smilie We also use tortillas and make burrito style wraps with taco fillings, scrambled eggs & bacon (they’re still good cold), cream cheese and sliced berries, cream cheese and jam & sliced into pinwheels, etc

      Really if you just toss some fruit into a container or baggie and add a few different little things, like yogurt, cottage cheese, etc, they’ll get a healthy protein and some fruit.veggies. groceries smilie

      Great Thread Idea!

    • #441232

      Self mixed healthy snack- you can purchase most of these items at a dollar store.
      Almonds-dried cranberries-dried banana chips-soy nuts, mix in a gallon ziplock bag and you have snacks for the week. Put in snack baggies and enjoy! You have sweet and salty.

      On occasion I will add other things such as m&m’s and pretzels!

    • #441235

      My mom would not usually let us buy our lunch, it cost too much, so she had a few ways to make our packed lunches great.

      My favorite lunch was when my mom would pack a hot dog bun and little packets of condiments from restaurants (ketchup, mustard, relish) into a baggie. She would then put hot tomato soup into a lunch thermos, and stick a hot dog into it.

      When lunchtime came around, I would take the hot dog out and put it together on my bun, and I would have a hot dog and tomato soup!

      She also had smaller thermoses and would pack a hot burger patty in them and baggie up a burger bun.

      I guarantee you that our burger patties were much better than the school’s “Grade: Edible”!

    • #441239

      putting shelled sunflower seeds in a little container that can be mixed in with my child’s yoghurt seems to be something he enjoys taking to school. Also, frozen peas

    • #441242

      cut a apple in 8’s sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar place back together with a rubber band help keep browning in a minimum

    • #441245

      Here’s a new way to entice your kids to start eating trail mix and eliminates waster from the small bits and pieces at the bottom of the snack bags. Take the last of what’s in several bags of snacks (chips, fritos, etc. ) and add nuts and/or dried fruit.

      Shake up and put in small ziplocks or small containers.

    • #441247

      Love and encouragement notes! Make sure your child knows how special they are to you even at school.

    • #441230

      My favorite lunches are leftovers done differently. Leftover chicken or turkey made into a sandwich or salad, leftover meatballs into a sandwich, etc. I take a juice box or bottle of water and freeze it overnight.

      Then wrap in a paper towel and aluminum foil which keeps it insulated and acts as an ice pack to keep everything cool. Freezing Grapes or blueberries works well for this too and can be used as a snack or pared with yogurt or cottage cheese as lunch. I also like to put a little pack of crackers and individual wrapped cheese (any variety) in there for a snack.

      Those little ziploc snack bags are great for the little stuff. And for those with a sweet tooth a little Dove individual wrapped chocolate (or whatever brand you like) makes for a special little treat.

    • #441216

      I have a child who hates bread products doesn’t like soup and isn’t keen about rollups, but he loves cold fried chicken. I get one of the family bags of Tyson (pre-cooked) breaded wings, divvy it up into sandwich bags (holds 4-6 wings each) and pull a bag out of the freezer the night before. Add a piece of fruit or frozen yogurt tube, cheese wedge, maybe a pickle or cookie, and a juice or milk box.


    • #441281

      Well I see that some of my ideas have already been told..freezing juices and yogurts/gogurts. Since there has been so many problems with the Capri Suns (yes those stories are true with people finding things in them) I don’t put them in lunches any more. My youngest doesn’t like yogurt so I don’t waste it just to keep things cold.

      I make my own freeze packs so I can make them small or any size I want. They keep things cold til lunch and if the lunch is packed in an insulated pack with one of them in it then it keeps it good all day if needed.

    • #441289

      okay well, i put grapes in the freezer overnight and put in a zip bag.. with a peanut butter and nutella sandwich !! Kids love this and the grapes help keep their juice box cold as well as themselves being cool and not warm.

    • #441291

      Kids dont really need anything huge, one dish my kids always liked was pasta salad using rotini pasta with diced salami, halved cherry tomatoes, italian dressing, shredded carrot sticks, and black olives. it was easy to pack, cheap to make and filling. Occasionally if I had shredded cheddar cheese we added a bit of that.
      We also like strawberry and cream cheese sandwiches.

      Just bread, spread lightly with cream cheese and fill with sliced strawberrys or bananas. Yum

    • #441292

      We make a healthy no-bake cookie for the kids lunches

      8 whole-wheat graham cracker squares, finely ground
      1/4 cup(s) raisins
      1/4 cup(s) smooth natural peanut butter
      2 tablespoon(s) honey, plus 2 teaspoons
      4 teaspoon(s) unsweetened coconut

      Combine everything except the coconut in a bowl and mix well. Form into 16 cookies and then roll lightly in coconut. These make great pick-me up munchies that travel well in lunchboxes

    • #441294

      add a box of pure fruit juice to lunch.. no temp worry and is good for all.

    • #441295

      I always freeze their drinks so the are cold and refreshing for my girls at lunch. I also try to give them a variety of items such as crackers, yogurt, fruits, veggies, sandwiches and a couple cookies or pudding.

    • #441297

      to keep a can drink cold in a lunch bag, wrap the drink in foil and put in the freeze the night before take it out and it’s ready to go in the bag

    • #441303

      Well,I no longer make school lunches for my kids,but i do have grown sons who act like kids! Does that count ? i make them lunches for work whenever they are on the job with their dad ,who I make lunch for every day that he works (he is excavating contractor ~ self -“unemployed” as it were) I try to be creative & put all kinds of things in their lunch buckets.

      They really like the hard boiled eggs & yogurts that I put in there. My husband’s fave is Ham & swiss cheese with apple slices in the sandwich with mayo & dijon mustard. I’m glad that he likes it because it’s difficult to get him to eat his fruit otherwise.

      Biggest kid of the family I tell ya! Hope you like my ideas.

    • #441306

      i never thought to freeze cherry tomatoes. I have a few from the garden, I have to try that. I am surprised the skins don’t split.

    • #441309

      Jerky is great. Trail mix. Cereal bars.

      Pudding cups. I pack a lunch for my adult son who doesn’t want something that has to be heated or refrigerated.

    • #441342

      Sometimes a meal only has one small serving or one piece of meat left. Instead of throwing it out, I like to put these into single serving plastic bowls and freeze them. For a break from sandwiches, I will pull one of the leftovers from the freezer the night before and stick it in my husband’s lunch box in the morning along with a piece of fruit and cookie…A welcome break from the normal “lunch”.

      eat-1  smilie (This of course will only work where a microwave is available to use).

    • #441349
      Catherine H

      One of my favorite sandwiches is a turkey, cream cheese, avocado, sprouts and mayo on dark rye bread. To go with it, I like some any kind of a crisp apple, and a bottle of sparkling water. eat-1  smilie

    • #441351

      Years ago when my children were in elementary school they always wanted a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a banana in the middle. To let them know that I thought about them daily I would put the bananas in the shape of a heart, smiley face, a praise etc, in the peanut butter. They always had to look to see what mom had to say that day.

      I became a pro at writing and drawing his lunch. I would also send a note weekly letting them know how proud I was of them. They also wanted good milk “Got milk”.

      Nothing fancy just simple.

    • #441376

      Hello and Welcome to Budget 101, Nana.Chickies and all other Newbies! Good to have you all here. Enjoy!

      If you have not already done so, please introduce yourselves in the Welcome Newbies Section. Thanks; Virginia

    • #441377

      Thank you to everyone who participated in our Budget101 Challenge to share your favorite Back to School Lunch Ideas!

      Congratulations to our randomly drawn winner from all those who participated:


      noturavgbear will receive a Brand New Keurig Coffee Maker System ! don’t forget to enter Todays Challenge for your chance to win an amazon gift card!

      Also, did you know that for every 5 posts you make here in the forums, you’re automatically entered into our Thank You Gift Drawing?

      You must be logged in to view attached files.
    • #441383

      @Budget101 320244 wrote:

      Thank you to everyone who participated in our Budget101 Challenge to share your favorite Back to School Lunch Ideas!

      Congratulations to our randomly drawn winner from all those who participated:

      wow? really? is this for real?

      two cents just for commenting on a thread?? two cents

      this is just unbelievable, thank you so much! i didn’t really think i’d win anything!


    • #441477

      Liss, I think these little contest are great. I love the ideas people are coming up with.

    • #441488
      Ms Alusa

      I think this is a great idea! I would have thought there might be expansion issues with the drink expanding due to freezing, and the bag maybe not being big enough to hold it without popping or blowing up! I may give this a try..

      Thank you.

    • #441529

      It’s not hot or cold but sometimes when I know my girls are having a tough time at school one day. I like to leave them a word of encouragement on their napkins.

    • #441540

      My daughter loves salads. We purchased the perfect container from Old Navy for her. She can put croutons, meat, cheese, any 2 toppings she wants in the top part.

      The bottom holds her salad and veggies. There is a small container for salad dressing and finally (my favorite part) there is a fork and knife that attaches to the bottom of the second layer. Healthy and not soggy choice for lunch.

    • #441645

      Mozarella stick, very thin slice of pickle wrapped up with a deli slice of meat.

    • #442032

      My daughter thinks I am a lunch making rock star.
      1. peanut butter and jelly (I put a thin layer of peanut butter on both slices of bread to keep from getting soggy from the jelly)simple yes but I didn’t think of it (so sorry if you were smart enough to think of it)
      2. Power roll up, take tortilla (any kind I use wheat) spread with layer of peanut butter, sprinkle with raisins (craisins), granola.

      place a small banana in the middle and roll up, I slice it in half. It might not seam like much but it packs a punch, also good for breakfast. (very hearty)
      3. Nuttella and sliced banana on toast. (same rule as peanut butter)

      lunch meat roll up. Layer lunch meat on any flavor tortilla or wrap, add chopped lettuce (I like the salad mix with carrots, cabbage and what not.) shredded/sliced cheese. (mayo or dressing if they like) roll it up secure with toothpicks, slice in half.

      crazy sounding sandwich but she loves it, me too. bread, Colby cheese, bacon, baked turkey lunch meat, miracle whip, sliced granny smith apples(thin slices) (this is her special sandwich and considers it a treat)
      6 bacon sandwich, yes that is it, bacon on bread, I serve this only occasionally and send a hard boiled egg. Like breakfast for lunch.

      (humm, guess you could slice the egg on the sandwich?? wonder if she will eat it that way? or make it a BLT with sliced egg, something new to try) 🙂
      ** sides are the usual, fruits and veggies, however mine loves cherry tomatoes.

      She will also eat a salad, as long as I pack a container with dressing she likes.

    • #454238

      tortilla, spread with cream cheese on one half, then put meat cheese veggies,whatever on other half. roll uo to cream cheese side, this will seal the edges of wrap for you. slice 1 inch pieces, and serve with ranch or salsa for dipping!

      my grandkids sure do think they’re eating fancy with these

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Budget101 Discussion List Archives Budget101 Discussion List Budget101 Challenge: Share your Favorite Back to School Lunch Bag Ideas