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Better Bargain: School Lunches or Home Made?

03/28/2018 09:38AM ● Published by Digital Media Director

By: Jessica Schaap, Koko FitClub Sioux Falls

Let’s talk school lunches. Every year I have intentions of making school lunches five days a week. After the first week, I end up putting money on their school lunch account and there go my dreams of healthy lunches for my kids. It’s convenient. It’s cost-effective. My time is worth more, or so I thought.

A few days ago, all three of my older kids were home from school on a break. I decided we were going to make a menu, meal prep and compare the cost of a month’s worth of school lunches versus a month of sack lunches. This may not be to the penny, but I do think it’s close enough to make my argument.

We came up with seven main protein dishes to rotate, fresh veggie/fruit options, as well as a carb and a treat. Next we assembled all the food for this week’s menu and assigned bins in the fridge for school lunch only. The kids’ job will be to pack their lunch every day from the lunch bins. After school they unpack their lunch bags and re-pack for the next day.

Now, show me the money! I looked up this past January’s charges and my kids spent $350 on school lunch! THREE KIDS! On food I wouldn’t buy and put in my house. I thought my lunches would cost more, but at least they are getting fresh food and some nutrition. Yet, that wasn’t enough for me: I want to know how much it is going to cost me to feed my kids for a month. I went on a local grocery store’s online shopping, and I calculated a week’s worth of groceries, for just the food they will be taking in a school lunch. Came out to be $70 a week! That is on average about $280 a month! Sold!

It was pretty easy and fun! Kids were involved and we have a goal! Every week we hit an “all school lunch week,” we will get a special treat! 
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