I know most schools have lunch programs available to purchase, but even for one child that can become quite pricey. At the school that three of my children will be attending this year, if I were to purchase the lunches there everyday, it would run me $40.50 each week, plus a drink and the other snacks that are needed for recess or if lunch isn't sufficent! That's $162 a month! My food budget for the entire month for the 6 of us is $500.
By taking a lunch with you instead of purchasing the school lunch, you save money, eat healthier, and you can have garbage free lunches!
First things first, buy a good lunch box and containers. You want this to last, have room in it and be able to keep the food safe. I must say that I really love the lunch box by thermos. I purchased it at Walmart for $13. It comes in your choice of one of three colours, has a hard shell on the inside to keep it from ripping or food getting crushed. The hard shell makes clean up a breeze and all of my children love it! I can't find a picture of it online, my apologies.
The second is a good thermos (hot and cold food keeper). Great for soups, chili, noodles and casseroles. You will also need snack containers; tupperware, locck'n'lock, food saver, whichever brand you chose to be able to put salad, fruit, crackers, baked goods etc in.
Another thing to consider would be utensils. If you are nervous about sending your own utensils, and are hopefully not sending plastic utensils, make a trip to the dollar store and pick up a few regular utensils there to send with them.
Purchase several lunch box size ice packs as well. Keep them in the freezer and each morning include one in the lunch box to keep salads, milk, puddings, etc cool until it's time to eat them. It's my children's responsibility to ensure that these are placed back in to the freezer when they arrive home.
Also, I like to include a napkin (reusable) and don't forget the the drinking bottle as well. See? Garbage free lunch!
Most, if not all, of these items are on sale during this back to school time. It's a cost in the beginning, but it's savings in the end.
Enjoy your day!