Do you struggle for interesting but frugal packed lunch ideas?
A couple of years ago I wrote about how I could make a healthy and filling packed lunch every day for around half of what I would pay for a school dinner and whilst I know that rising prices would have changed the costings a little bit, I can still make a packed lunch for less than I would pay for a school dinner.
I still make the packed lunch cake and the cheesey pops (like cheese straws) on a weekend sometimes to use in the following week’s packed lunches but as the kids have got older, they like a bit more variation in their meals each day so I’ve written a list of 50 packed lunch ideas that we’ve either tried or are planning to try!
I would say that the most money saving ideas for packed lunches are using up the things you have in so where possible, make a little extra to save for the next day. Some things on the list aren’t particularly frugal if you went out and bought them just for the purposes of a packed lunch but if you have it in already and it’s leftovers from tea the day before then it’s definitely money saving!
And it’s not just the kids who I need packed lunch ideas for these days, I take my lunch to work most days and I know that if I don’t mix it up then I’ll get bored and be tempted to buy something from the work’s canteen which always smells delicious!
50 filling & frugal ideas to make you look forward to your packed lunch!
Ham – a smallish ham joint cooked in the slow cooker on a Sunday will do a meal and have enough leftover for some sandwiches.
Tuna – not particularly frugal these days unless you buy the very cheap brands and I’m not sure about the quality or the ethics of the lower priced brands so I tend to steer away from them.
Leftover meat – whatever you have for Sunday Dinner will be great for sandwiches the next day.
Cheese – grate your cheese and it always seems to go further here.
Houmous and grated carrot.
Cream cheese and cucumber / tomato.
Jars of paste.
Salad cream and salad
Cold bacon and sliced egg.
Cold bacon, lettuce and Mayo.
Grated cheese and coleslaw.
Cold Cheese and tomato Quesadilla.
Cold cheese and bean Quesadilla.
Cottage cheese and cucumber.
Prawns in seafood sauce (only if we have some leftover)
Nutella (as a treat)
Food in a Flask
Soup – Homemade is best as it’s usually thicker but shop bought is almost as good.
Tins of beans / beans and sausage.
Egg fried rice.
Goats Cheese Quiche
Pasta in tomato sauce.
Homemade potato wedges.
Homemade sweet potato fries.
Leftover spaghetti bolognaise.
Leftover Slow cooker vegetable lasagna
Stew and dumplings can be reheated in the morning and poured into the flask.
Stir fry leftovers – not as crunchy but still delicious.
Remember to avoid any thing too spicy as it can linger in the flask no matter how much you wash it!
Other Savoury Ideas
Carrot sticks and Houmous.
Celery Sticks and dip.
Breadsticks and dip.
For a treat a small snack pack of sushi from the supermarket (usually £1).
Cottage cheese and sliced veggies.
Homemade sausage rolls.
Cold pasta salad – tuna and cucumber is the current favourite.
Mini homemade quiches – with a crust or without.
Rice salad – never tried this so not sure about what to add to the cooked rice.
A slice of home made pizza.
Fridge bottom Frittata.
Packed lunch cake.
Homemade muffins (great to get some fruit in)
You can often get a pack of chocolate type biscuits (like Penguins or Breakaways) on offer for less than a pound for six which works out to around 16p per bar.
Squeezy Yoghurts are also a pound for six so they’re a good extra for 16p a day too.
Fruit can usually be bought for around 5/6 pieces of fruit for a pound so mine always have at least one piece of fruit too.
Any other packed lunch ideas?
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