Change up how you do kid snacks and lunches in your house and watch your stress melt away! Let your kids take over packing their snacks and lunches and save money while doing it. Winning!

Get my best hacks for kid snacks and lunch ideas at Fun Cheap or Free

The other day on Instagram I gave you a glimpse of our kid snacks drawer, and briefly mentioned our lunch system, not thinking much about it. BOY OH BOY did you want to know more! I became flooded with questions about how we do snacks, how we save money with snacks, how we don't get eaten out of house and home, where we buy our snacks, whether or not bringing school lunch from home is actually cheaper, and on and on and on.

I grabbed my camera on the spot, and did a thorough video that covers AAAAALLLLLLL your questions! We even cover what to do when dairy-free or gluten-free snacks are needed!

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Then watch the video on YouTube here, or click and watch below:

There you go! Not too crazy, right?

If you feel like you are spending all your grocery money on kid snacks and lunches, try a few of these tips and I have no doubt they will cut down on the bill DRASTICALLY. Here is more info, and products I said I'd link in the video:


  • I forgot to mention this in the video, but we use bathroom-sized Dixie cups for portioning out crackers and bulk snack items to eat at home.
  • Cereal containers: Keeps cereal fresher longer, keeps them stored nicely in your pantry, and helps kids pour without spilling!
  • Food thermos: I can't find those Contigo ones, but this is a close second I found on Amazon.
  • Condiment cups: I bought a GINORMOUS pack of these at Costco (basically a lifetime supply) but you can buy them in the paper goods aisle of almost any grocery store, or on Amazon here.
  • Lunch bag: I like having loads of extras on-hand, and they don't have to cost a lot! Walmart and Target have good options, as well as Amazon. Look at this cute one I found for less than $10!
  • Costco plastic cutlery is THE BEST!
  • Reminder to sign up for and use Ebates ANY TIME you shop online so you get cash back for your purchases!!
  • See my FOOD playlist for loads of additional shopping, food, and cooking tips!

Now, let's summarize what we covered in the video…

How we do kid snacks

  • Can't snack within 30-45 minutes of a meal (depending upon age)
  • If it's in a wrapper, it's for lunch – NOT at home!
  • They must start with the fridge drawer FIRST, then move to the pantry.
  • We often have the same snacks for lunches, but buy them in bulk (instead of individually packed packages) to eat at home.

How we do lunches

  • Our kids pack school lunch 4 days per week, and get hot lunch one day per week (of their choice).
  • They draw from our “take 2” (fruit/healthy) basket, “take 1” (cracker/chip/granola bar) basket, and “take 1” (treat/sweet) basket. They also get 2 items from the fridge/freezer, and one sandwich or entree.
  • Water bottle with lunch, juice is only for road trips and soccer/sport snacks.

How we do meals

  • We only serve them up an amount we KNOW they can eat.
  • We put one bit of everything on their plate, even if we know they don't like it or will fight us on it.
  • They have to take one “polite bite” of everything on their plate, but otherwise can choose if they want to eat it all or not.
  • If they eat everything on their plate, they qualify for desert, which is sometimes as simple as a single Oreo or a few jelly beans. We don't go crazy with dessert.
  • If they choose not to eat everything on their plate that is just fine, they just don't get dessert. They also don't get snacks before bed. If they are hungry before bed, we will re-heat their plate for them, or they can wait until breakfast.
  • Water is served with meals. Milk and juice can come AFTER they've eaten a good meal.
  • Again, no snacks within 30-45 minutes of a meal, to ensure they are nice and hungry.
  • We do hot breakfast, no cereal (since they are hungry 30 seconds after eating cereal!).

There you go!

How do you do lunch and snacks? Do you use any of these same methods? Hopefully this was helpful in some way or another! Now, get out there and create a good lunch system for yourself and enjoy saving SO. MUCH. MONEY!!

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