Saturday, January 28, 2012

Anatomy of a School Lunch

In the spirit of documenting the minutiae of my life for my future edification, I present to you a breakdown of what goes into my kids' school lunches. Let's hope the future me isn't horrified by this list, either for dietary or financial purposes.

Drink. Bottled water, which we refill with Brita water and then replace every week. At $4 for a 24-pack, that works out to about 3 cents a day.

Entree. PB&J for Jada, turkey and cheese for Aaron. A loaf of bread is $1.50 for 24 slices, so that's about 12 cents per sandwich for the bread. PB&J can't be more than 10 cents per sandwich (figure $6 each for huge tubs of peanut butter and jelly, each lasting about 120 sandwiches). Turkey and cheese are both about $5 a pound, so if I'm putting about a half-ounce of each in each of Aaron's sandwich, that's about 30 cents total. Plus a light spread of mayo is about 3 cents each ($3 tub lasting about 100 sandwiches). So that's 22 cents each for Jada and 45 cents each for Aaron.

Fruit. Either half an apple or half a pair. A bag of apples is usually about $3 for 12, so let's call that 12 cents each.

Dairy. Gogurts (my kids and I call them "squeezy yogurts") I hold out until they're on sale and I have a coupon, so I can usually get them for $2 for 12, or about 16 cents each.

Snacks. Fruit cups or applesauces are usually $2 for 6, or about 33 cents each. A bag of chips is $6 for 32, or about 19 cents, or else a granola bar is about $2 for 10, or about 20 cents.

All told, it works out to about $1 to $1.25 per kid per meal, or about $10 to $12 per week for our family. Health-wise and money-wise, I can live with this. Thankfully, my kids are very predictable, and don't insist on a lot of variety, which makes buying and preparing much easier.
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