Anyone who takes dips or condiments for work or packs a child's lunch, try this sometime. Its a great way to recycle and great for portion control as well. Picture is of a spice jar and the jar on the right is holding my hummus.
By KoryD from NY
The grocery store only sells individual chocolate milk and I didn't like the sugar content. So I take a small, empty water bottle and fill it with white milk. I put it in their lunch box with an ice pack. It saves them time at lunch and saves us money, too!
By NB from Plaistow, NH
My kids are always begging for those packaged dessert snacks like Oreos and such for their school lunches. For a long time I usually said no because a box of 6-10 packages would run up to $6.00 and they were so high calorie (6 Oreos in a package, for example - that's 3 servings!).
This year, I started purchasing a regular size package of Oreos for $2.98 and dividing them up into the snack size Ziploc baggies. At 2 cookies a serving, I get 14 Oreo "snacks" at half the cost. I do the same with crackers and anything else that you might by "snack" packs of - even Tupperware containers of pudding. They only get one "snack" a day and I rotate through different types of snacks to keep lunches interesting.
Another thing I did last year and will do again this year is make pudding cups. I bought some of those small Gladware containers (you can get about eight for around $2.00). Then I made pudding and spooned it into the cups, popped them into the frig and let them set. It's cheaper than buying the prepackaged stuff. Works with Jello too.
All four of my kids take packed lunches to school. To save money on the snacks that go in, I buy big bags of chips, cheeses, whatever, and bargain sandwich bags, then pack the snacks in them. Saves a lot over buying the individual snack packs that are made to fit into the lunches. I make my own peanut butter crackers too, with saltines or Ritz-type. It takes a few minutes extra in the morning, but it does save money.
I too mostly buy the bigger bags of snacks, cookies and such and then pack myself in the little snack bags or sandwich size zipper bags. I get my bags at Wal-Mart, Dollar General or some place like that so they are pretty cheap. Of course, buying up the individual bags of snacks is very convenient but seems expensive to do a lot. We buy them for trips some times, though.
I too make my own peanut butter and crackers which my son seems to really be eating well at school.
Susan, I really like your idea a lot! Why didn't I think of that. I generally make up any non-perishable items for my son's lunch the night before and then I just add anything from the frig in the am....but to be able to just go to the big container of already made up baggies of stuff. Wow, I would like that, a time saver and just a convenience. I could also use those for just days out with the kids or garage sale day.
Have a one day baking day with the kids, do the cookies from cake batter, mini muffins, mini cupcakes or mini banana bread (I found the mini molds at Dollar Tree, they are silicone and reusable.) When all the items have cooled, slice the bread for serving, mix and match for variety and bag in the sandwich bags and freeze for easy grab and fix.
On the same day, have the kids put together sandwiches on hard rolls or hoagies, meat and cheese. Wrap in plastic wrap, placing the tails on bottom. I heat my waffle iron and rub the bottom of sandwich on iron to seal. Freeze, they will be thawed by lunch if put together with the snack the night before. You can put a dab of sauces in small container or go to Sam's or a restaurant supply and get packages of mayo, ketchup and mustard for small amount or you can always get extra at drive through. This can be done with tacos, burritos, mini pizzas on muffins; just freeze before bagging.
Put any veggies in separate baggie the night before and drop in. Drinks can be the little jugs, they now have half size sipper jugs for milk or juice. Sam's has the mini juices and I have found them in the $1.00 section of my store.
Also you can do leftovers but try to skip the next day or two so you don't burn them out eating what they ate the night before.
I have all grown kids but have taken over for my daughter with the grandkids (4) so she can be ready for work and school and daycare within 30 minutes in the AM.
Like every parent I am looking forward to school. :) Happy days and good luck!
By Lindainthekitchen from Weirton, WV