Motherhood, Recipes

Homemade Lunchables

Back to school means back to packing your kids lunches. My son will not eat sandwiches and peanut butter is banned from his preschool. Sometimes I feel as if I’m repeating the same favorites each day. One of his favs is lunchables. Lunchables have been around for a while. Probably because of the ease it may cause a busy parent when prepping school lunches. They also make it simple to grab and go for a snack in the car or out and about.
I’m one of those parents that admittedly buys this easy made meal to bring on a car ride or when I don’t have the time or energy to pack a lunch. I especially like the ones that come without the built in cookie! (mean Mom, I know) Although lunchables have obvious benefits for a busy mama like me, there are cheaper and healthier options if you are able to put in the time.
Time is a valuable thing. I get it. I prep my sons lunch the night before. One less thing to make in the morning. Even though it cuts into “me time” when the kids are asleep, in the end it reduces the chances of my morning stress. And when I can, I try to involve my son M in the packing process.
I had suggested making our own lunchables to M after my brother pointed out how I would save money by just making it myself. So says the one without the child(ren). It’s true, I had thought of it before but never put the idea in motion. I decided to give it a shot this week.
We started with making sure we had a container to put it in, which we did (Yay one less thing to worry about). I used a container that happened to have two small sections and one larger one, resembling a lunchables packet. Next I purchased deli meat and cheese as well as round crackers (God forbid it doesn’t match the actual lunchables). M had already picked out a cookie cutter that we had at the house. He decided to keep the cheese in squares like a lunchable and his ham was in the shape of a star.
To make it easier for him to pick up I crisscrossed the pieces of cheese and laid out the stars so they weren’t stacked on top of each other. If the cookie cutter is not cutting the ham or lunch meat use a knife to cut along the edges. I chose to add the crackers in the morning so they wouldn’t be affected by the temperature in the fridge or becoming stale. Because I didn’t want to feel wasteful I did cut extra pieces of the lunchmeat into rectangles or squares and put it on the side just in case he wanted to eat more.
When M returned home from school I was anxious to know if it was going to be a hit. It was!!! He ate every last bit of our homemade lunchable including the ham that was not cut out into fun stars. We will definitely be making homemade lunchables again in the future when time is available. It’s a great alternative since my son will not eat sandwiches.

15 thoughts on “Homemade Lunchables

  1. Cool idea! I never thought of a cookie cutter for the lunch meat. I usually just roll it up since my kids don’t like sandwiches either. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I love this! My daughter is not a fan of sandwiches EVERY SINGLE DAY. We do a bunch of different things like this – think about trying to use wraps cut with a cookie cutter too, or pita chips just to do something different instead of crackers every day.
    You’re writing is great, very personable and relateable.

  3. That’s a great idea to use a cookie cutter! I just do roll-ups. But the kids would go crazy over cut out shapes. I always hate packing lunches but since I started making them the night before, it’s not as bad.

  4. I used to make these all the time when my kids were younger. One of our favorite combinations is using pepperoni (nice because it’s already cut for you) and sliced provolone cheese. You can add a small container of marinara too.

  5. As a teacher, I know Lunchables are a hot commodity in the classroom. I love that you can make them yourself and then you know your child is getting foods that are healthy for them, and you know they will eat them. I hate to see a Lunchable go to waste because the child doesn’t like a part of it, or they are not able to open it easily. Absolutely love your idea!

  6. This is such a great idea! I do it with my own lunches, kind of like creating a home made bistro box from Starbucks. I don’t know if my 13 year old will eat them, or if it will be enough. She currently eats a DIY Chicken Caesar every day, where I pack all the ingredients and she assembles at school. I think this homemade punchable is a good option for breaking up the monotony of the salad. Great tip, thanks!

  7. Ever since my son started school, all he talks about is Lunchables! I’ve made some homemade ones too, but I never thought to use a cookie cutter. How fun! My son is not a fan of sandwiches either, so this is a great idea for lunch time! Thanks for sharing!

  8. This is a great idea. As a homeschooling mom, I’m always looking for fun ways to prepare lunch for my munchkin. Whenever I’ve purchased actually lunchables, my daughter picks through the contents, but with a DIY lunchable I can make her a lunch she’ll love. Thanks!

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