How to: Save money on healthy school lunches

How to: Save money on healthy school lunches

July 29th, 2013

zucchini-noodles-v-1By Aimee Heckel

You do realize a small bag of chips costs way more than a big bag of carrots, right? And in America, with (too much) information, it’s not like we don’t know what’s good for us and bad for us. Yet we continue to buy junk food — and worse, give it to our kids.

This year, send your kids back to school with proper nutrition to fuel their brains and bodies.

Here are some easy and cheap ways to pack healthy school lunches for your kids.

One website, an advocate for “clean eating,” makes it easy for parents to make a dietary change. The Gracious Pantry offers clean-eating tips, shopping lists and tons of easy (seriously easy!) and inexpensive recipes. The Gracious Pantry even has a special section for kids snacks and food. 

On a budget?

The Gracious Pantry offers some recommendations for how to eat clean on the cheap. Among the suggestions:

  • Buy food from the bulk section, not the packaged section. Bulk food is cheaper because its price doesn’t have to offset packaging. This includes, flours and quinoa. 
  • Don’t buy things in boxes or cans. They cost more.
  • If you can’t afford to buy all organic produce, at least buy the “dirty dozen” in organic. Click here for the list of the most important fruits and veggies to buy organic, because otherwise they tend to have a lot of pesticides.
  • Make food from scratch. It’s cheaper. Homemade bread costs less than 99 cents per loaf. Whereas taco seasoning (filled with mysterious ingredients, often with MSG) can cost $1 to $2 in a package, the natural seasoning made up of a few different spices costs pennies.

shoppingOther ways to save on healthy groceries if you’re on a budget:

Healthy recipe ideas that your kids will actually eat:

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Aimee's passion for storytelling has brought her around the world as a journalist, writing award-winning news articles about Haiti and Uganda. Aimee studied international journalism at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, and she majored in journalism and German at Colorado State University. When she's not writing stories for a Colorado newspaper, she travels and volunteers for Think Humanity, her family's nonprofit that helps refugees and disadvantaged people in Africa. She's also a mom, a wife and a furious bargain-hunter. Reach out to her at, find her travel board on Pinterest, follow her on Twitter, or ping her on Google+.

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