Is a Fresh Lunch More Expensive Than Packaged?

Lunchables packaged lunches or homemade? Which costs more?

MYTH:    Organic, fresh, wholesome, homemade school lunches are more expensive.

TRUTH:    Convenient, packaged lunches cost more.

I used to think that all organic food was more expensive. My perception of buying organic was that only rich people did that and those who couldn’t afford had to settle for less expensive (read lower quality) ingredients. Who was I kidding?! It wasn’t until four years ago, when I really got serious about wholesome eating, that I realized I was wrong and began to fit organic products into my grocery budget.  But when I shopped, I discovered that I was often loading my cart with items that I didn’t need and therefore spending a lot more than I should.

Since then, I’ve gotten more organized at shopping by dedicating a few minutes a week to do some meal planning before I venture out to the grocery. I plan our weekly lunches and dinners and reserve the weekends to eat leftovers, or mix and match unused ingredients. Because we have very little food waste, I can afford to purchase certain ingredients organic, hormone free, free range, unprocessed… you know, the ones that I thought were causing me to go over budget.

Sunday Night Fridge packed for the week by MOMablesWhen it comes to my children’s school lunches, I do not settle for prepared foods no matter how rushed I am. I typically spend 20 minutes in the kitchen Sunday evenings and make the first half of the week’s worth of lunches; and again mid-week to tackle the rest. With the help of  EasyLunchboxes, I always have fresh, convenient, lunches ready made for my husband and kids.

Owning a lunch planning company has me in the kitchen testing our meal plans nearly 8 hours a week in addition to my regular daily cooking. I spend a lot of time ensuring that other peoples’ kids are fed a variety of healthy foods that are easy and quick to prepare but that won’t break their grocery budget. At the office, I also spend numerous hours checking out ingredient costs, and nearly always, I can make the same lunch in our menu with organic and fresh ingredients for under a dollar than if I use conventional foods.

Want to know what turned me into a lunch enthusiast four years ago? Going to my child’s school and seeing all the pre-packaged lunches and food that was wasted daily. Yikes!

If you still have doubts that the same lunch can cost less made with wholesome, organic ingredients, take a look at this table and compare for yourself:

Lunchables or MOMables - a detailed cost comparison

Cost Comparison: Packaged vs. Fresh

Incredible, isn’t it?

With the help of EasyLunchboxes and a little menu planning, you too can make lunches that look like what other kids are eating, but made with fresh ingredients in less than ten minutes.

Download the MOMables™ Deli Box instructions here. It’s free 🙂

Click HERE for lots more mom-approved, kid friendly “Lunchable” ideas.

Make Lunch Fresh and fast with MOMables lunch menu plans

Happy Lunch Making! — Laura

Laura Fuentes, chief Mom, MOMablesLaura Fuentes is the Chief MOM at MOMables™; a school lunch menu planning service that helps parents make fresh lunches in 10 minutes or less. She’s a wife, mother of 3, and a lunch enthusiast who insists on healthy, wholesome food for her family. On her personal blog, Super Glue Mom, she writes about motherhood, green living, deadlines and keeping her cool, even when her kids super-glued her hairShe’s also a food contributor to numerous sites, and helps parents overcome the difficulties of cooking for picky eaters.