This post was sponsored by the Indiana’s Family of Farmers. You get to learn about affordable ways to prepare food. I get a few extra bucks in the Royal coffers. The post and opinions are 100% mine. No editing was done by anyone. I’m sure you could find some grammatical errors if you read it again. Read more on my disclosure policy.
Holla at your girl if you’re doing the “we’re all done with school” victory dance. I welcome the summer months as a time when we can spend more moments together, make memories, and even sleep in now and then. However, when you’re a work at home or stay at home mom, lunch feels like a bit of a curse during the summer months. Sometimes, I feel like I don’t ever get out of the kitchen during the months of June and July, simply doing dishes and starting another meal once the one I just set on the table is ravenously consumed.
Because of the lunch conundrum, I thought it would be fun to put together a meal plan with incredibly low prep (we’re talking 10 – 20 minutes including cooking on some of them) meal ideas great to feed your kids lunch during the summer months. In fact, some of them are so easy, the kids might be able to make them without your help, depending on their ages.
There are 8 other ALDI Meal Plans on my site – all where you spend $50 or less. From Freezer Meals to Crockpot Meals, from Simple Meals to the original ALDI $50 Meal Plan I posted that went viral, you can find more than a month’s worth of ideas right here. As always, I don’t account for things like spices or kitchen staples (salad dressing, flour, eggs, milk, butter, oil, rice, syrup etc.). You may have other items on hand to punch up a dish and add some pizazz. I’ll make suggestions when I can. Because many of you have asked, this is a plan for 4 people. There are some allergen sensitive items that you might have to replace or alter. I will add gluten free suggestions, too. If you have more people in your family, you’ll want to add more food.
Without further ado, here’s what I bought:
Large Eggs $0.89: I can’t even believe that eggs remain so affordable! I bought these to help with the baking mix but also to scramble one day, too. You should have a few eggs leftover. Expert tip: I’ve been fixing eggs in our waffle iron for the last several months. It takes only a couple of minutes and you can add cheese, veggies, or ham to make an omelet.
Original Grilled Chicken Strips $2.49: So you know, I’m more of a “from scratch” sort of girl. If I had my druthers, you would buy a 3 lb. bag of boneless, skinless chicken breast (which by the way you could totally do for less than the chicken strips and pulled BBQ chicken), marinade, and then grill it yourself. But the emphasis in this plan is E-A-S-Y, so that means you make life a bit easier by buying prepared chicken strips. You’ll be able to toss together Chicken Nachos in no time flat.
Turkey Pepperoni $2.19: I LOVE this simple recipe from the internet (this is the second from the internet recipe I’ve fallen in love with lately). We’ll make a quick variation of it, making our biscuit dough. This is a fun one to get the kids involved in.
Never Any! Oven Roasted Turkey $3.29: We’ve found we really like the Never Any! ALDI Brand. It features products that don’t have preservatives or nitrates. I don’t always buy all meat this way but I like having an affordable way to choose this. We’ll be making Turkey and Cheese Sandwiches with this package. My guess is you might have enough left over for another sandwich or two.
1/4 Boneless Ham $7.57: Oh how I love the quarter boneless ham from ALDI. I feel like we get so many meals out of one meat. In fact, I often open the package and immediately throw half into the freezer in a zipper bag (read generic Ziploc from ALDI). We use half for at least a week for sandwiches and salads and then I get the second half down for the next week. We’ll be making Grilled Ham and Cheese, Ham and Cheese Roll Ups, and Ham Waffle Sandwiches with this package. Depending on your family’s appetites you may be able to make all of the above with half the package.
Pulled BBQ Chicken $3.99: This was a new product for our family. It’s fairly easy to prepare if you have a microwave (we choose to live in the stone ages and don’t have one). BBQ Chicken + biscuits = yummy lunch! By the way, I did notice that it is not gluten free (WOMP) but again, if you purchase a bag of boneless, skinless chicken breast, you could throw a couple of breasts in the crockpot early in the morning on high and they would be ready to shred by lunch.
Colby Jack Shredded Cheese $2.49: Oh how I love cheese! You will need this package for the Chicken Nachos and then could choose to top the BBQ Chicken and Biscuits with it, too.
Mozzarella Shredded Cheese $2.99: This is a 1 pound bag. Divide into four parts for the Pizza Bombs, Ham and Waffle Sandwiches, Ham and Cheese Roll Ups, and Flatbread Pizzas.
Deli Sliced Cheese $1.79: You’ll need to divide this package into two, as well. Use half of it for the Turkey and Cheese Sandwiches and the other half for Grilled Ham and Cheese.
Fit & Active Flatbread $2.29: These fun flatbreads caught my eye and I thought they’d be great to use for ham and cheese roll ups! You can choose to heat the roll ups in the microwave or oven or simply enjoy them cold. There are gluten free wraps in the bread aisle at ALDI that you could use instead of these.
Pizza Sauce $0.99: It’s all about the Pizza Bomb. You should have a half of a jar (or more) left over as each one takes less than a tablespoon.
Sandwich Skinnys $1.69: There are 8 pre-sliced Sandwich Skinny’s (think buns minus the puffiness). They’re high in fiber and protein, too. Bonus. If you have a gluten free kiddo, check out ALDI’s Live Gluten Free White Bread. The Princess Youngest has tried every brand on the planet and this is the only one she’ll eat. It’s a bit pricier than the gluten options; however, at $3.99 it still rings up much more affordable than most gluten free breads.
Restaurant Tortilla Chips $1.19: You will need at least half the bag of tortilla chips to make Chicken Nachos. You could use the other half as a side dish, especially if you have some salsa on hand. ALDI salsa ranges in price from $0.99 to $1.89. I knew I had a jar at home already so I didn’t pick one up. But you could choose that if you want.
Baking Mix $1.99: You’ll need to split this baking mix three ways – to make biscuits for BBQ Chicken and Biscuits, Waffle and Ham Sandwiches, and Pizza Bombs. You might have some left over, too. ALDI sells a Gluten Free Baking Mix for $2.99 that’s great, too.
Seedless Cucumber $0.69: Here’s the deal with the vegetables on this list. If your kid doesn’t like cucumbers, don’t buy them. Buy the one vegetable that they like. I wanted to offer a variety of ideas and show you how affordable fresh veggies are at ALDI. But my kids typically eat Carrots and Peas.
Carrots $1.49: When we were paying off debt, I rarely purchased baby carrots. They’re so much easier to serve but you can get much more bang for your buck by buying whole carrots, peeling and chopping them yourself. If you can, do this on Sunday night and then just dole them out at lunch time.
Bag of Nectarines $2.99: I love nectarines. Again, if your kids won’t eat nectarines, buy apples or oranges or peaches or something they will eat.
Sugar Snap Peas $1.99: These are some of my favorite veggies from ALDI. You should be able to get 1 serving for everyone from this little bag.
Blueberries $1.49: What a great deal! This little pint of blueberries was only $1.49.
Unsweetened Applesauce $1.89: This huge jar of applesauce will stretch so far! You might be able to use it for a side dish for dinners, too.
Red Grapes $1.78: Yet again, I love the price of fresh fruits during the summer at ALDI. This is a 2 lb. bag of grapes so it should be a great side for at least two meals.
Here’s my receipt proof! I left $1.84 of wiggle room for you to play with.
Print the entire ALDI Summer Lunches for Kids Meal Plan Grocery Shopping List here.
And here’s what I made:
Grilled Chicken Nachos
This is so simple. Spread half of the bag of chips on a cookie sheet. Top with Shredded Colby Jack Cheese and the Grilled Chicken. Melt. You can choose to add salsa or BBQ sauce to punch up the flavor. I decided to pair the entree with some grapes and cucumber slices. Again, choose a different fresh veggie for your kids if they don’t like cucumber.
Turkey and Cheese Sandwiches on Skinny Bread
This meal is as simple as they come. Simply add turkey and deli sliced cheese to the Skinny Bread. If you have lettuce or condiments to spice up the sandwich, awesome. If not, the basic sandwich is great and your kids can even make it themselves (with a little guidance if they’re little). Peel and chop the carrots ahead of time so that you can easily put them on the plate at lunch and add a side of blueberries.
Grilled Ham and Cheese
A few years ago, we began making ham and cheese sandwiches on the griddle and I love it! You could be as fancy as you choose or keep it simple but it’s an awesome way to add a little more protein to your kiddos diet and still keep classic kid flavors. The snap peas are pre-washed but I like to snip the little ends off. And then pour some apple sauce on the plate and add a spoon.
You have a couple of options on this one. You could choose to make your own quick pizza dough from scratch. You can use the baking mix to make some (here’s Betty Crocker’s suggestion). Or you could choose to use your extra $1.84 to buy a can of biscuits. This meal will take the longest amount of time but could be the most fun to prepare as a family (again depending on your kids ages). I went more basic with the Pizza Bomb recipe, skipping the garlic, seasoning, and parmesan. Feel free to keep it as simple or if you have the ingredients on hand, mix it up. You’ll definitely have leftover pepperoni and pizza sauce.
Ham and Cheese Roll Ups
This is totally as easy as it sounds. Take a flat bread and layer 3/4 of it with ham and cheese (if your kids like mustard or mayo, you could also put a thin layer on the bread before). Roll up the sandwich from the full side first. You could heat it in the microwave or oven or choose to eat it cold. Add some carrots and some applesauce on the side.
Ham and Waffle Sandwiches
Use the baking mix to make some quick waffles. You could also choose to make some eggs in the waffle iron. Then assemble to make a sandwich. You could choose to heat the ham in the oven or microwave or let the waffles warm it up. Here’s a recipe where I got the idea. If you made waffles over the weekend, you could make extra to freeze and heat the entire thing up in the oven in a snap. Again, I love making eggs in the waffle iron too. Skip the veggies on this one and let everyone have a nectarine as a side.
BBQ Chicken Biscuits
Use the baking mix to make some quick drop biscuits to serve with the BBQ Chicken (which again can be heated in the microwave or the oven). Add carrots and applesauce to the side. Depending on how hearty lunch time appetites are, you may have some extra chicken.
There should be 2 flatbreads left from the Ham and Cheese Roll ups. There should be more than enough sauce and turkey pepperoni, too. And you should have some leftover cheese. Instant make pizza for the family lunch. Even the littlest of kids can help with the assembly. Bonus points if you have veggies on hand that you could convince the kids to add to your masterpiece. Also, that bag of nectarines is huge. Eat up.
Well there you have it! 8 kid friendly lunches for $50. Plus, I’m certain you’ll have left over ingredients, too.
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