Save Money With Zero Waste Lunches

 

If you’ve gone to the grocery store lately, you might have noticed the price increase in milk, bread, eggs, fruits and vegetables.   I nearly choked when I saw that tomatoes were $3.99lb (non organic!) and a gallon of milk went up by 59 cents in less than two weeks.  With food prices in the rise, I can sympathize with parents who decide to pay the $1.50-$2.00 a day for their kid’s school lunch.

Packing a wholesome lunch for your kids (or yourself) doesn’t have to break the bank.  While buying packaged snacks may seem convenient and not that expensive… they add up.  A healthy home made lunch becomes expensive if your child doesn’t eat it or it gets thrown away.  Uneaten lunch usually ends up in the garbage.

In most schools, lunch is between 20-35 minutes; which means, that your child does not have sufficient time to eat a huge lunch!  Think about it.  It may take them a few minutes to get situated with their friends, find a lunch table before they take their first bite.  In many cases, lunch is the only opportunity your child has to socialize outside the classroom. It’s hard to talk and chew at the same time!

A way to prevent food waste and reduce your grocery bill is to pack lunch smarter.  A whole apple takes a lot more time to eat than when it’s cut up into slices.  Limit your child’s choices to three-five items.  Often times, a child becomes overwhelmed by too many options in their lunch box and will usually pick the item that is most familiar to them.  Portion control is very important.  While a high schooler may eat a sandwich, fruit, vegetable and dip,  plus a treat; it’s unrealistic to expect a six year old to eat that much food in a short period of time -not to mention that it’s too much food for their little bodies!  By packing less lunch they will eat more of the wholesome choices you’ve made for them.

I am a BIG fan of nutritious after school snacks!  If you don’t own a mini muffin pan you are missing out on fun, wholesome treats with built in portion control.  One of my favorite recipies is Chocolate Chip Banana Flax Mini Muffins (recipe follows).  If your child rides the school bus, you can pack it inside a “bus-snack” container (make sure it’s smash proof).  Otherwise, you can bring it for them to eat on the way home or have it ready to eat upon arrival.

Preparation is easy and the taste is delicious!

Chocolate Chip Banana Flax Mini Muffins

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Yield: 36 mini muffins

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour (you can use 1/2 whole wheat)
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 large eggs
11/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
1 (6-ounce) container nonfat Greek yogurt (or regular yogurt)
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup chocolate chips
– Cooking spray
Preparation
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, butter, eggs, bananas, yogurt, flaxseed, vanilla and walnuts in a large bowl, mixing well. Pour batter into mini muffin pan(s) coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pans. Cool completely on wire rack. Will store 2-3 days at room temperature or 7-10 days in refrigerator. Freeze in zip bag up to 2 months.

 

This delicious recipe was tested and enjoyed thanks to Ingredients Inc.

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