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How much do packed lunches cost?

(10 Posts)
Smithagain Tue 21-Jul-09 16:03:55

Has anyone ever bothered to work out how much it costs to provide a decent packed lunch?

My second child starts school in Sept and it's just hit me that I'm going to be spending nearly £20 per week on school dinners. And while I'm a big fan of school dinners on the grounds of making life easy for myself, that does seem like a heck of money. Also, the school is moving to a new building that's just behind our back fence, so I will have an extra 20 mins per morning, that could be put to good use!!

So for the first time in my life, I'm contemplating making packed lunches. But only if it's worth it. And once DD1's got wind of the idea, there will be no turning back.

Nemoandthefishes Tue 21-Jul-09 16:05:32

think DS costs around £1 a day but will get cheaper as more of the gang have packed lunch as I buy things specifically for packed lunches.

tootyflooty Tue 21-Jul-09 16:13:02

a sandwich with various fillings
carton of fruit juice
fruit ( ie apple, banana, tub of grapes)
kitkat or samll cake bar
Crisps ( if school permit) I usually do this on a friday only

probably about 1.00 maybe less, as things like crisps , kitkats etc come in multi packs

in my experience the school lunch is hardly a quality meal, (grey fish fingers etc!!!) and you don't see the wastage, at least with a packed lunch they bring home any leftovers, mine quite often finish the contents of their lunch boxes when they get in. If I am feeling very organised I make mine up the night before and keep them in the fridge, this buys so much more time in the morning

Smithagain Tue 21-Jul-09 16:17:35

The thing is, the school meals are actually pretty good as these things go. Cooked on premises, home made bread on the side, lots of fresh fruit etc. But £4 per day is really going to add up!

Hmm ... need to ponder this one.

SammyK Tue 21-Jul-09 16:26:22

My DS starts school in September, and as he has sensory issues I know a packed lunch is my best bet in terms of getting some food into him between 9 and 3.

I figured it out to be cheaper than school dinners, and as DP has packed lunches won't take much time out of our day.

SammyK Tue 21-Jul-09 16:30:06

Would yours eat the fruit and homemade bread?

I spent the lunch hour in DS' school dining hall last friday, they all either refused these at the counter or left them on their plates!

Our city's school meals are brilliant, were way ahead of Jamie Oliver, but only if your child actually eats the whole meal!

If your dcs will eat them it' worth it I suppose but I know my DS wouldn't.

FritesMenthe Tue 21-Jul-09 16:36:49

DH does 3 packed lunches here and buys various bits and pieces to make life easier - frubes, fruit bars, babybel, juice carton etc plus makes a sandwich or roll.
It could be done a lot cheaper by chopping up chunks of cheese or fruit, or decanting raisins into a little pot.

Hes does the the night before and leaves in the fridge, to save time.

gingertoo Tue 21-Jul-09 16:38:22

Agree with SammyK. School meals are good but loads gets wasted.
I've also found that the portion sizes are quite small (especially for the yr5 and 6s.)

I think that for much less than the cost of a school lunch you can provide a very tasty, healthy, filling packed lunch that you know your child likes.

Also don't forget, it doesn't have to be sandwiches. If I make pasta for an evening meal, I cook extra to make a tuna pasta salad for lunches the next day or I'll save some cooked chicken to make chicken wraps. Even homemade pizza leftovers can be wrapped in foil and eaten cold the next day and they all cost very little.

meltedmarsbars Tue 21-Jul-09 22:00:21

I have 3 dc's, I have done school dinners since the beginning, I don't have the time/organisational skills to make sure there is enough bread/drinks/etc for kids and husband.
I teaches the kids to eat someone else's food, and accept different tastes from home.

Apparently my kids are good eaters at school - they are good eaters at home.

I do packed lunches for school trips and holiday days out - then its like a treat.

And I'm just too lazy to make packed lunches every day. Now dc1 is heading off for secondary, she can make her own grin.

muggglewump Wed 22-Jul-09 01:12:42

Compared to paying for meals, packed lunch does seem the cheaper option.
DD is entitled to free meals, as I don't work, but she'd begged to have packed lunch, so for half a term last year I let her.
The basic lunch (sandwich, yoghurt, fruit, sometimes crisps/flapjack/cake/veg sticks/dip etc), was cheap, but DD was coming home and asking for things because her friends had it.
I did try to let her have a few treats, but it got too pricey for me, and DD got upset that she couldn't have what her friends did.

At the end of the half term she was glad to get back to school meals. No competition over who has what then, and of course it's better for me as I don't have to pay.
I like that she gets a hot meal in winter too.

If you can pay for the meals, then I'd go for them everytime.

Our school does have good meals though.
I wouldn't be so keen if it was junk.

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