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  • Trade-Worthy School Lunches + $25 Ralphs Gift Card Giveaway

    Ralphs wants to prevent a common ailment sweeping across the nation called “Smashed PB&J, Chips and Juice Box fatigue.” To combat this childhood malady, Ralphs has started a new campaign called “Trade-Worthy School Lunches” – and they’ve asked me to share a few ideas with you.

    My boys don’t buy lunch at school … ever. But our school district’s lunches are relatively cheap, at just $1.50 per day. That motivates me to keep my own costs down, and my biggest secret is buying in bulk. For example, I picked up a giant carton of Pepperidge Farm Goldfish at Ralphs yesterday for $6.99 as part of the current Mix & Match sale. It’s 30 ounces, which works out to the same as paying $1.54 for a 6.6 ounce bag. Those are on sale for $1.99 right now, and there aren’t any coupons available – so the bulk purchase will save me money in the long run, so long as the boys eat the entire carton (and they will).

    Like most kids, my boys feast with their eyes first, and that means their lunches have to look appealing. For years, I have gone the bento-style route, packing a little of several things, like a sandwich with some chips, fruit and a cookie all in one container. When the lid is removed, the food is visually interesting, and there’s a variety of things to eat – so I know they’ll eat at least some of it, and if they eat all of it, then they’re getting an assortment of nutrients.

    So here are three easy and affordable lunches you can pack for your kids this school year:

    Apple Turkey Cheese Wraps
    Apple Turkey Cheese Wraps from chieffamilyofficer.com
    Contents: Low-carb wraps made with slices of deli maple turkey breast, brie cheese, and organic apple; silicone baking cup with organic red grapes; Goldfish; 1 Vanilla Oreo

    The variations on the wraps are endless – you could use a different type of turkey, or switch to ham. Use a different cheese (including a strip of string cheese). Use a different apple – I used Fuji, but Granny Smith would work well, especially with a sweet deli meat.

    As you’ll see in the pictures below, silicone baking cups are a constant packing aide:

    Mini Kabobs
    Mini Kabobs from chieffamilyofficer.com
    Contents: Kabobs with red organic grapes, rolled sliced deli turkey breast, and piece of string cheese; silicone baking cup with Goldfish; wedge of organic Fuji apple; mini foil muffin cup with 5 chocolate-covered raisins

    Again, the variations on the kabobs are endless. Cherry tomatoes and fresh mozzarella would be a classic.

    Sandwich Rollups
    Sandwich Rollups from chieffamilyofficer.com
    Contents: Sandwich Rollup with deli maple turkey breast, Swiss cheese and a little bit of mayo; silicone baking cup with clementine pieces; Snapea Crisps; 2 Vanilla Oreos

    To make the rollup, I simply cut the crusts off a slice of bread and used a rolling pin to make a very thin slice of bread. If your children are more adventurous than mine, you can obviously make prettier rollups with more color. (If this rollup had been intended for me, I would have added avocado to it!)

    The nice thing about all of these lunches is that you can do many of the steps ahead of time, and get everything you need at Ralphs. But before you head out to Ralphs, be sure to check out their Digital Coupons for extra savings! And remember that store brand items can be a great way to save too.

    PIN IT!

    Click here to pin these ideas to Pinterest! {And your re-pins will help me win a Ralphs gift card of my own … so thank you!!!}

    WIN IT!

    Ralphs wants to give one lucky CFO reader a $25 Ralphs gift card to help you build Trade-Worthy School Lunches! To enter, just follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below:

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

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