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Smart, affordable lunch box tips

Are your children getting enough nutrients in their lunchboxes?
Children who eat a well-balanced lunch often feel more alert and do better at school. While it’s difficult to make sure your children are eating properly at school, one of the best things you can do as a parent is send them to school with a healthy lunch.

Packing school lunches can be expensive, especially if you have more than one child. However, there are a few ways you can save money on school lunches without compromising on what essential nutrition your children need. How, you ask? See the following tips below:

Create a school lunch menu

Make sure you plan school lunches ahead of time so that you can create your grocery list. Ensure that your children’s lunches include protein, whole grains and fruits or vegetables.

Plan school lunches with your children

You may send your children off to school with very healthy lunches, but how do you know if they’re eating it or not? If you don’t want your children throwing their lunches (your money!) away, get them involved in their own lunch prep. They are more likely to eat food that they’ve chosen.  

Buy foods in bulk

Packaged snacks and foods, like peanuts, dried fruits, yogurts, muffins and juices, are usually more expensive when bought in smaller quantities. Although it may be a lot easier to throw conveniently packaged snacks and foods into your children’s lunch boxes, buying foods in bulk and then dividing them up into smaller packages at home will work out a lot cheaper.  

Get creative with leftovers

Using leftovers for school lunches is a great way to save money on ingredients and prevent food wastage. You can either pack leftovers, like mac and cheese or spaghetti bolognaise, straight into the lunchboxes or you can use left overs, like steak and chicken, to make sandwiches, salads, wraps or salad rolls, etc.

Mini pizza dippers – budget-friendly school lunch idea

Everyone loves pizza! Why not make some delicious mini dippers for school lunch. Follow the recipe below:

Ingredients:

  • Pizza dough (you can make your own or buy it already made for under R30 per kg)
  • ½ cup of tomato paste or a marinara
  • Sandwich ham (about 4 to 6 slices should be enough)
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  
  2. Unroll the pizza dough onto a work surface and press the dough into a flat rectangle, roughly 40 x 30 cm. Cut out circles with a cutter or even a cup that has a diameter of about 6 to 8 cm. 
  3. Spread tomato paste or marinara sauce onto the small cuts of pizza dough, then add a few pieces of ham and a sprinkle of cheese on top. At this stage your mini pizzas should look similar to the image below:
  4.  Bake on a greased baking tray for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
  5. Serve with any tomato sauce, mayonnaise, 1000 island sauce or any other sauce your children like!

 

Bonus

You can store the mini pizzas in the freezer. Whenever you want to, just pack the frozen pizzas in your children’s lunchboxes in the morning and the delicious little pizzas should be defrosted and ready to eat in time for lunch!

Image taken from: Mama Loves To Share  

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