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Packed Lunch Tips and Tricks

The same sandwich can get boring. Being creative with packed lunches can help provide good nutrition and enjoyment. This guide is about packed lunch tips and tricks.
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A lemon shaped container for lemon juice.

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The small lemon shaped plastic juice containers can be reused for a small ice pack. This is a guide about using lemon juice containers as an ice pack.

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March 13, 2017

I take my lunch to work and have been buying tubs of Hillshire Farms lunch meat. Once the tub was emptied, I had a bright idea that it could store a sandwich instead of using a baggie. The sandwich fits perfectly and does not get crushed or moist from other contents in my lunch bucket. I have even put my potato chips and cut veggies in them for lunch.

I cannot remember the last time I bought baggies. When I used to use baggies, either the baggie would not zip close right or the size was bad and I had to force my sandwich in. So I am very pleased with these tubs.

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Anonymous
March 14, 20170 found this helpful

I also am a big time composter, wish everyone would also recycle, we do both.

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February 15, 20119 found this helpful

When having a salad, put the dressing on only the portion served. The remaining salad can kept fresh by wrapping soda crackers in a paper towel and placing them in the bowl. Cling wrap the container to seal out the moisture. This trick will extend the life of the remaining salad.

By Dave from Oshawa, Ontario

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February 16, 20110 found this helpful

Sounds good. I will try it!

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To save paper and money, I take my lunch to work every day in a cloth tote bag that I bought at the Dollar Store. It is about 10x10 inch square and has a nice handle. When I come home, I just put my lunch bag in the fridge so I can find it fast in the morning.

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As hard as I looked, I couldn't find cold packs small enough to fit inside a lunch bag or lunch box. I finally picked up a few heart shaped baby teething rings and I keep them in the freezer. They're just small enough to keep in a lunch bag, but not so big that they take up all of the room.

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If you have a thermos, you have a very thrifty money-saver at your fingertips! Instead of spending money by eating at restaurants during trips, take your meals with you! A good quality, well-insulated thermos can keep food hot for hours.

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Recently, at my work, I have been on a committee that is looking at strategic planning for the next year, 5 years, and 10 years into the future. One of the issues we have been looking at is sustainability.

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Pita sandwich with lettuce and tomato in it.

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The prices of school lunches, like most other things, are rising. Yet, parents need to question whether these lunches are providing their children with healthy lunch options and whether or not the lunches are worth the money.

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lunch box with small bottle of hand sanitizer next to it

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If you take your lunch to work, put in a pocket-sized hand sanitizer. It's great if you can't wash up before lunch.

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Tips on school lunches from a pre-K teacher: Invest in cold packs. You can get these at dollar stores. Paired with a thermal bag, the foods you send to school with your child will be protected.

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I make my lunch the night before I have classes each day. Usually I bring for lunch whatever I have leftover from my dinner. If it doesn't sound appealing, I use Pita bread pockets cut in four quarters and get inventive.

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Many people already enjoy this food tip, I hope you will too! Some foods you can heat up and insulate in a Thermos (besides soup). I added more ideas to the magazine I found this in.

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I pack a lunchbox for my husband and have been having an issue with condensations. To solve this problem I am using kuzies. I have been saving kuzies from different promotions around town that are giving them away free.

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Save Naked or Odwalla juice bottles and fill with water and freeze. These are just the right size for a child's lunch box. When they thaw, you can have cold water to drink. These are also useful for placing in a larger cooler.

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My husband puts my 6 or 8 oz. yogurt cup in a coolie cup which is normally used for cans or bottles. It fits right into the cup, and makes a handy way to keep it chilled until lunch.

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I am always looking for ideas for my kids lunches since they don't like to eat at school. When I go to various restaurants to eat we usually have leftover "ranch" of any dipping containers.

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Woman Having Salad for Lunch

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This is a guide about packing salad for lunch. Many delicious combinations of vegetables, fruits, cheeses and/or meats can create a fresh healthy lunch.

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Freeze a week's worth of lunchmeat sandwiches for your children on Sunday night. Place in ziplock bags or plastic sandwich containers. Freeze and take out the next day right before your children leave for school. Pack in lunches.

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My daughter has an old-fashioned type lunch box with a thermos. Putting in one of those hard ice substitutes took up too much room, so instead I use frozen bread to make her sandwich. The bread thaws in time for lunch while keeping the lunch meat cold enough to prevent bacteria from forming.

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put plastic cutlery in my husband's lunches for work. After him losing a couple of my "good" forks on the job site, he's gotten plastic ever since. Those I don't care if he loses.

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To save time in the mornings, make sandwiches and freeze them on the weekend. The sandwich turns out best if you start with frozen bread. Make the sandwich on the frozen bread, then pop it back into the freezer again.

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A salad in a glass jar.

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A great way to take a salad to work for lunch is to put all of the ingredients in a reusable glass jar. This guide contains mason jar salad ideas.

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I buy canned fruit & spoon into small bowls with lids (allow room for the food expanding when freezing) for my husband's lunches. Frozen cups of canned fruits and frozen sandwiches will be thawed in time for my husband's lunches. He works construction.

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When I pack lunch for my school age children, I pack one for my younger child as well that way he gets a kick out of using his lunch box and we have lunch prepared if we are on the go at lunchtime.

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Slip "I love you" notes into lunches, pockets, or between pages of school books for your children or spouse. Costs nothing but means everything! But be careful!

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I live too far away from work to go home to eat and I can't afford $3-$4 per day that it takes to go to fast food restaurants. Since I live alone, I only cook 1 day a week, usually on Sunday afternoons.

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This is a tip that will help anyone who packs lunches! These days, we all need to tighten our belts and packing lunches is an excellent way to not only save money, but also to eat healthier!

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Making Lunch a Little Different. My DH brown bags his lunch. To make his sandwiches more interesting and to save time, I took three large frozen chicken tenders, greased them top and bottom with extra virgin olive oil. . .

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Avoid Juice Box mix-ups by placing a different sticker on each child's juice box or juice bag. Everyone can pick their favorite sticker and no leftover juices!

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Put tomatoes and lettuce in a separate container and place in your sandwich later to avoid mushy bread. Also, keep your mustard, etc. in the lounge kitchen (also to avoid mushy bread). By Crystal Podvin

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

1 found this helpful
April 4, 2011

I am looking for lunch ideas for hubby working on forestry gang. I have a tight budget, and he is sick of sandwiches. Any thoughts? Thank you.

By Elaina

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May 10, 20110 found this helpful

This is a variation of a sandwich, but my hubby likes it, toasted frozen waffles, spread with peanut butter. Dot one side with raisins, and put apple slices in the middle. He also likes homemade tuna or chicken salad, and I send big leaves of lettuce, then he makes a 'wrap' with the lettuce leaves.

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September 26, 20050 found this helpful

I get bored with lunch, I need thrifty ideas and variety.

Lucy from West Covina

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September 27, 20050 found this helpful

Someone just posted the same thing a couple of days ago. You can probably find the info. in the archives.

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0 found this helpful
May 27, 2012

Does anyone have any suggestions on what to pack for my ten kids' lunches? Two of them can't have anything with added sugar or food dyes and one of them can't drink normal milk and has to drink soy or almond and my oldest is allergic to mushrooms. What can I do? My kids are sick of the same old tuna fish sandwiches, with an apple, and a low fat sugar free juice and maybe some crackers. Suggestions?

By mc4lifes from Sydney, NSW

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Archives

ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

Does anyone have any ideas for lunches that do not require heating. My husband works outdoors and away from home all day and has a habit of constantly grabbing fast food. This can get really expensive!

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May 12, 20100 found this helpful

At the office, many of my colleagues buy their lunch at the local take-out, spending $4-6 a day! I remind myself that I would rather eat lunch out on vacation with the money I save by brown bagging it--I'd rather have lunch in Venice, Italy than at the takeout in town!

Marion

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