Creative summer lunch ideas on a budget

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It’s summertime, and our kids are out of school. It’s great to have them home, but most days it seems like all they want to do is eat. And there’s 5 of them so they eat a lot. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m really not a fan of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I can’t serve them sandwiches everyday all summer. Surely they’re tired of them after eating sandwiches everyday at school all year long.

It’s my goal this summer to create a lunch meal plan along with my dinner meal plan when I grocery shop. This week has been crazy with the move, but I still managed to make a couple yummy lunches. We had pork nachos make from leftover shredded sweet pork from the night before, so delicious.

Here are 5 creative summer lunches that are fun, tasty, and not too expensive.

1. Use leftovers from the previous night’s dinner. I’ll chop up a leftover chicken breast or hamburger patty and add it to a cheese quesadilla.

2. Salads-I love to buy the big box of organic spring mix at Costco. It’s $4 and lasts about a week. I’ll add some homemade ranch dressing, the broken tortilla chips from the bottom of the bag, some shredded cheese, canned black beans and chopped up tomatoes for a meat free taco salad.

3. Smoothies-When it’s hot and we’re on the go, I’ll make a couple blenders of smoothies. In the summer, berries go on great sales. If we don’t finish them before they start to go a little soft, I’ll freeze them for smoothies. One of our favorites is blueberries, bananas, greek yogurt, orange juice, and ice cubes. It’s enough protein to keep the kids going until their afternoon snack.

4. All kinds of grilled cheese-I adore grilled cheese sandwiches. We do cheddar on whole wheat bread a lot, but I like to mix it up for variety. Sharp cheddar with thin red delicious apple slices is a good way to add a little fruit. Ham, mozzarella, and spinach sneaks in a veggie. If we have any bacon left over from breakfast, it’s wonderful in a grilled cheese with colby jack and tomato slices.

5. OK, this is kind of cheating, but about every other week we splurge and go out to lunch on a weekday. We bring our reusable water bottles from home, and hit the In-and-Out burger drive thru. My older kids each get a burger, the youngest shares with me, and we all share 2 orders of fries. It’s fun to take our food and eat at the park. Summer lunches don’t need to be boring or expensive. With a little planning, lunch can be healthy, delicious, and affordable!