We live on the outskirts of a town that meets all our basic needs: a pharmacy, grocery store, hardware store, a health/bulk food store, library and post office, some 2nd hands stores, and even a fantastic bakery.
For the most part, we can get what we need in our little town. But groceries, oh man, buying all of your groceries in a small town is bad (the only time it won't be as bad is when there are 2 stores, because then they at least try to have competitive prices)! I'll stop in when I need to pick something up quickly, but otherwise, we have our grocery day when we're in Belleville, a city about 30-40 minutes away. On Sunday's after church, we head on over to noFrills with our menu and our list, and get 'er done.
Wow, that slightly off-track intro was all to say...when you're "in town", it can be really easy to stop in someplace for fast-food. Fast-food is obviously super unhealthy (even the 'healthy' choices aren't really that great), but worse than that, it can be a ridiculous expense!
If a family of 5 (with kids old enough to want a meal) went to a drive-through only once a week, by the end of the month they would have spent $80-$100 dollars!!! Maybe to some people that doesn't seem like a lot of money, but seriously, that's just ridiculous. I know of people who "can't afford" do anything or go anywhere in the summer as a family, but they eat out (which is way more expensive) and drive-through once or twice a week. If they saved that drive-through money every month starting in September, by July they would have $900-$1000 (or close to $2000 if they ate out twice a week, or more if they ate out more often) to use for some summer.
Oh my, I am just off on a tangent, rambling away about stuff.
This post is meant to be about planning, about packing a lunch, about choosing the healthier option, and about saving some money!
The real trick to doing this is to plan to do it! I know, brilliant.
For real though, we leave for church on Sunday morning at 8am-ready with our groceries bags and baskets, our menu and list, and our lunches. Do I wake up at the crack of dawn to have the lunches ready? Gosh no. I make them the night before, and stick 'em in the fridge. Sometimes I'll add a last thing or two in the morning that I know wouldn't be great in the fridge, but otherwise, I try to get the whole thing packed at once.
The thing about packing a "lunch" or a snack, is that with kids and adults, having a good variety to choose from/nibble at makes not eating the drive-through food a bit more manageable. If you only pack carrot sticks, all you'll think about is french fries! So, do yourself a favour and "variety pack", as I call it.
I only have this one sad photo from one of our most recent town trips. I make the lunch based on what we have (remember, we are going on grocery day!). Sometimes it's leftovers, sometimes it's lots of fruits and veggies, it's just whatever! I use wax paper or paper muffin cups to divide things. If something is wet (like that orange), I will use the special aluminum lined muffin cups. Yes, I know they are expensive, but I literally re-sue them for these lunches (they just wipe clean), so it's not too bad. I bought this container from Dollarama, and we each have our own.
You could also buy (or maybe you have) some silicon baking cups. I used to have some....I'm not sure where they are anymore....anywho....
You could also buy a fancy-schmancy lunch box meant for these types of lunches. Here are some cool boxes, and some great lunch ideas.
I know, right! This lunch from Family Fresh Meals is hard-core! That lunch box is called a PlanetBox, and I do sort of want one. Anyway, you can see this Mom packed a good variety in this little power-house lunch. I honestly think for kids, these lunches are so ideal. There is never some enormous sandwich that needs eating, or an entire apple that should be finished. Some kids (like my 5 year old mousey eater) just literally cannot do an entire sandwich. These lunches, with their little bits of this and that, make it easy to eat it up all.
This Mom at My Mommy Style packs some good looking lunches too. She just uses plasticware she already has, and some silicon muffin cups to divide and conquer.
Packing these lunches might be new-ish in our country, but this type of lunch has been around for a long time in Japan. The word "Bento" to us may just be a name brand, but a "bento" is a traditional lunch in Japan, usually with rice, meat, and a vegetable. They even do a "character bento" which is an amazing character based lunch. Seriously, amazing! Check these ones out at Lunchbox Awesome! Seriously, just click there to see some cra-cra character lunches!
Anyway, Bento Boxes (and all the available accessories) are pretty cool, and if you have a kid who comes home from school with a half-eaten sandwich, a half eaten this, a half eaten that....guess what? They may benefit from a bento style lunch. It'll save you food you throw away, that's for sure!
And, like us, if you have to travel "into town" often (I know a lot of people around me do because we all live away from the nearest city to us), pack a bento lunch, and save some money (....and calories, and saturated fat, and...).
Now, as a closing statement, we DO drive-through sometimes! I don't want anyone thinking we never do! Sometimes we're in town longer (waaaaay longer) than we had hoped and it ends up being a 2 meals in town kind of day. I won't lie, I actually like McDonalds fries a lot, so I'm never too upset if I have to eat them! :) Sometimes we plan on packing one meal, and eating the other one out. It's a treat, and because we don't do it every week, the kids feel like it's special.
Hi, I'm Amy-Lyn!
I am the lady behind this here blog! I live in the sticks with my animals, my super handsome husband, and my
3 amazing kids!
Here you'll find things from recipes (gluten-free, paleo, and strait up junk food!), DIY ideas, thoughts on raising a son with autism, and whatever else pops into my brain! : )
Read more about me by clicking here!
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