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Budget-friendly kids' lunch plan

Keeping your children fed during the day when the schools are closed can be expensive and one more thing to think about. We're getting behind an initiative launched by the charity Bite Back 2030, who are all about putting young people's health first. They've created a shopping list under £15 with varied meal ideas to make catering for kids' lunches that bit easier.

  1. How it works

    Below you will find a suggested shopping list made in collaboration with Bite Back 2030 for one week along with varied lunch ideas (each to serve one child) that you can make with your ingredients. This budget-friendly shopping list comes in under £15, to help you plan if you have a free school meals shopping voucher.

    You can choose between the suggestions, so if one day your little one fancies a jacket potato but the next day is much more interested in a sandwich, you’ve got the flexibility.

    To make sure every part of the food you’ve bought on the list is used up in tasty meals throughout the week, scroll down for extra ideas on how to use up all your ingredients.

  2. Shopping list

    1 Tesco easy peeler clementine
    6-pack Rosedene Farms small apples
    3 x Tesco loose bananas
    1 Tesco iceberg lettuce
    1 Tesco loose tomato
    3 x Tesco baking potatoes 
    250g pack Creamfields grated Cheddar
    2 pints Tesco semi skimmed milk
    500g pot Creamfields low-fat natural yogurt
    240g pack Eastman's sliced cooked chicken
    800g loaf H. W. Nevill's wholemeal bread
    6-pack Tesco medium free-range eggs

    420g tin Stockwell & Co. baked beans
    325g tin Grower's Harvest sweetcorn
    3 x 80g tins Tesco tuna chunks
    500ml jar Tesco light mayonnaise
    340g jar Stockwell & Co. peanut butter
    500g pack Tesco couscous

    Head to our shopping list on to buy.

    Total cost is based on online prices at the time of publishing and is subject to change. Dependent on product availability, total basket price online may change due to substitutions.

  3. Sandwich ideas

    A quick sandwich is the easiest lunch - buy a wholemeal loaf and make different fillings each day to last you the week. You could also turn these into toasties by frying on each side until toasted and hot all the way through.

    Tuna, mayo and sweetcorn

    Cheese and tomato 

    Chicken and lettuce

    Egg mayo and tomato

    Sandwich ideas
  4. Toast ideas

    Instead of sandwiches, try toast - it's just as versatile. You can top it with sources of protein like beans and eggs, or top with some grated cheese as a good source of calcium. Plus it will warm you up on colder days.

    Scrambled, poached or boiled eggs

    Baked beans and cheese

    Toast ideas
  5. Jacket potatoes

    Jacket potatoes are a good source of fibre and are brilliant for lunch. You can either pop them in the oven an hour before lunchtime, or microwave for 5 minutes on high before putting in the oven for 30 minutes. Try topping them with:

    Tuna mayo with sweetcorn

    Cheese and baked beans

    Chicken and lettuce

    Jacket potatoes
  6. Couscous ideas

    Couscous is great for mixing up lunchtimes - plus one bag goes a long way. It takes 5 minutes to make with boiling water and you can add whatever flavours and vegetables you like. Using the ingredients on this week's shopping list, try:

    Chicken and sweetcorn

    Tuna and tomato

    As a rough guide, adding the amount of any fresh, tinned or frozen veg or fruit that fits into the palm of your child's hand will count towards 1 of their 5 a day.

    Couscous ideas
  7. Snacks

    We've budgeted for quick snacks to have after lunch or in the afternoon to keep the kids going and add in some fruit for their 5-a-day.

    Fruit salad with apples, clementine and banana

    Yogurt and sliced fruit

    Bananas spread with peanut butter

  8. Use up your leftovers

    Whatever lunches you choose to make throughout the week for the kids, you'll probably have some leftover ingredients that can be turned into delicious family dinners.

    Here are a few dishes to get you started:

    If you have leftover bread, you can easily freeze it and save for next week. Alternatively, you can whizz it up into breadcrumbs that can coat chicken or fish, or turn into croutons to bulk out soups and stews.

    If you have leftover couscous, try it in these easy fish and couscous parcels, or use it in place of pasta to go with meatballs, Bolognese or any kind of pasta sauce. It's also great to have cold in salads; just add whatever vegetables you have in the fridge.

    If you don't use up all your potatoes, try chopping them up and turning into homemade chips or wedges, chop them into smaller pieces and use for your Sunday roast - you can even prep roasties for next week by blanching the potatoes and freezing them.

    For perishable foods like bananas, why not turn them into two ingredient pancakes by mashing, combining with eggs and frying for breakfast pancakes. Cheese can be frozen, tomatoes can be thrown into any kind of sauces to add to the flavour, and yogurt can be used for breakfasts or for homemade "frozen bark" on warmer days.