Back-to-School Recipes: DIY Lunchables

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This week, I’m featuring a new idea and different idea for back-to-school lunches and snacks as shared by Coupon Project readers. Yesterday I featured Reinvented Ants on a Log, in case you missed it.

Today’s idea comes from Cindy. I loved her idea since my son loves Lunchables!


Ritz or other crackers
Cheese cut to fit
Deli meat, cut to fit


Assemble a “Lunchables” style lunch using the ingredients above. I used a sandwich sized container to neatly contain all the components.

While the idea seems simple, I love how Cindy decided to take something children may eat for lunch and reinvent it in a frugal (and healthier!) way.

She writes:

We’ve done apples or bananas w/ PB instead of grapes, berries when in season, carrots instead of cucumbers, different meats/cheeses, etc. I have plates that are partitioned (like a lunchable tray), so we just portion it all out and have our own lunchables that everyone likes! 🙂

I love the idea of making lunch cute and healthy at the same time!

6 thoughts on “Back-to-School Recipes: DIY Lunchables”

  1. This is a great idea. Since my kids like lunchables to but I can’t stand buying them because of all the preservatives and bad tasting cheese. 🙂

    • Yes – this is definitely a healthier take on that meal!! (Sort of one of the things I was shooting for with this series.) 😉

      I think there are a lot of ways you could vary this idea depending on your kids’ tastes, too.

  2. I’ve done this before! My kids loved it! You can also make up a few ahead of time and freeze them individually then pull them out the night before to throw in their lunchbox. I also made “crackers” out of tortillas. I cut tortillas out with cookie cutters and baked them till they were crisp. A little healthier than crackers. 🙂

  3. Thanks so much for this! I’m always trying to come up with new and interesting lunch ideas. My kids love Lunchables, but like Lacey, who posted above, I refuse to buy them because they are laden with all kinds of disgusting things. The sodium content alone scares me. By doing it this way, I can shop at Trader Joe’s and get things that are a lot healthier! Thanks!

  4. I came back to add more: So I went to Trader Joe’s and I’m SO happy. They have GOOD pepperoni and oven baked, nitrate-free turkey breast! I paired that with cheese and multigrain crackers. Instant improvement over Lunchables (both in taste and nutrition). I also wanted to add: If anyone lives near a Daiso store, I HIGHLY recommend it! It’s a Japanese store (EVERYTHING is from Japan) and almost everything in the store is just $1.50. They have a Bento section with all kinds of fun stuff for making lunches. I promise, you will be dreaming of all the fun lunches you can make for your kids when you see all the fun containers they have. Plus, there are food punches there so you can punch out fun shapes from your cheese and veggies. I went today and got some cool reusable containers for the kids. They have really tiny ones too, perfect for dipping sauces, dressings, and other condiments (or in tomorrow’s case, mango gummy candies from Trader Joe’s… they are to die for.) Thanks again for the inspiration. When I showed the kids what I had done, they smile and they are really excited for tomorrow’s lunch! 🙂

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