Ok, so first off if you want to save money, unless you are entitled to them for free, ditch school dinners!
My son’s school charges $2 (please note the $ is actually for gbp not dollars but i seem to have a non british keyboard!) a day! thats 10 pounds a week! I spend a similar amount on lunches for the week for all 3 of my boys!
Sandwiches. Yes they can be boring but they are cheap! Morrisons do very edible bread for just 59p a loaf, butter is cheap enough. Jam you can get for around 30p a jar, soft cheese around a pound a tub, a packet of ham (i buy turkey ham which is around a pound a pack depending where you buy it and can get it to do 2 to 3 days of sandwiches) will keep for a few days in the fridge. If your kids are happy with jam then you can do at least 3 days worth of sarnies for less than a quid!
Don’t be afraid of budget brands. My son has value braded crisps and snacks in his lunch box. these range from 30p for 6 bags to 80p for 10 bags! asda is probably the best place for these.
Drinks… most supermarkets do cartons of value orange juice for around 45p for 3. so thats 6 days of lunches for 90p! bargain.
so fruit and veg is an important part of lunches and the only place I really splurge as i have a very fussy child! My son will only eat cucumber with no seeds (50p at morrisons for a whole cucumber does me a week of lunches), bananans (but they have to not be bruised he is very particular about them! i can get 5 small loose for about 70p at morrisons) and fresh pinapple (which i have to cut carefully to make sure there are no bits or he wont eat any of it!) he also loves fresh strawberries but these are a luxury! When I do these i use small tubs (the same ones I used for storing my home made baby food weaning pots from morrisons recycled into big boy pots lol. Once I have prepared the fruit i line the bottom of the tub with kitchen roll. This helps to absorb the excess moisture and keep them from going soggy. Other things that can be prepare this way are celery, carrots, berries, tomatoes, raddishes, the list is pretty much endless! The only other fruit he will have is chopped apples but they have to be prepacked as they cannot be brown. I get these from asda and they are a great option if you are stuck for time as they have lots of different fruit and veg packs available at 5 for 1.50. this is the best price i have found for this type of thing. Raisins are also a cheap alternative to fresh fruit. Buy a big bag and use a pot to save cash.
Another thing asda do at the moment is a special treat! yogurt coated strawberry flavour pieces (apple and strawberry) in little bags. a box of 5 is currently just 1.25 so a great additional treat.
A great way to keep it cold is to freeze tubes of yogurt. Wildlife do tubes that are 6 for just a pound in most places. frubes are usually on offer 9 packs 2 for 3 pound or asda do their own 9 packs for 1.50. freeze and they will keep for a month.
Another top tip? a dairylee triangle and a few mini breadsticks (i get a tube that does 4 to 5 servings for around a pound at morrisons) in a little tub makes a great make your own dunker. why not have a special tubs day? K loves it when on a friday he gets lots of little tubs to open to discover whats inside! fruit in one or two, ham in another, sausages maybe, grated cheese, raisins, nuts, crisps, cheese savouries, breadsticks, cheese triangle, the possibilities are endless! And I hae a fussy eater if you dont then its even more endless for you.
I hope this helps someone! please feel free to comment or ask questions. sorry for the lack of pictures I will try and add some soon!