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Creative Lunchbox Ideas on the Cheap

Spending a pretty penny on school lunches? Save money and help your kids eat healthier with these inexpensive, creative ideas to make their lunchboxes more fun.

Want to save about $20 week? Pack your kids lunch, instead of sending them with lunch money. Not only is it cheaper, but it's healthier!

With two of her three kids in preschool, working mom Jill Jarvis says there are several great ways to make school lunch easy and fun.

"I am not a good artist at all, but with a few little gadgets I'm able to make some fun lunches for my kids and they really like it," she said.

Jill says when preparing for kids, it not only has to taste good, but look good too.

"It just makes things more fun for kids to eat. A carrot shaped like a flower is better than a plain old carrot," she said.

Find supplies that can help you make it easy like veggie cutters, easy-to-use sandwich cutters, food coloring pens and hard-boiled egg molds.

"You can find them at the dollar store, or Amazon has them for a couple dollars each so you don't have to spend much on them," Jill said.

Instead spending money on throw-away zip-top bags, she invests in reusable containers. She found a bento box for $15 and two Lunchskins, reusable velcro containers, for $9. You'll make that money back in no time over the course of the school year.

"We have so many school days and two kids taking lunches, I really hate to throw out all the lunch bags," she said.

Jill's secret weapon to making lunch easy: get your kids involved!

"Helping with dinners is not always safe, but helping with lunch boxes is easy," she said.

Jill lets her kids use food coloring markers to create "sandwich art" using markers filled with food coloring.

If your kids are tired of another sandwich, she suggests thinking outside of the bread by making rice balls. She uses food coloring to dye the rice and molds it in the shape of an animal, like a frog. She found the edible eyes in the cake decorating section at the grocery store.

"Then take whatever you want, but we take edamame, which is soybeans and the kids like eating them," she said.

She finishes the bento box with fresh fruit.

Another idea that scores big points is a tortilla wrap. To make it cute, cut it in sections and use cute food picks to decorate.

Egg molds are another way to impress your kids. They make eating lunch a lot more exciting.

For more of Jill's great lunch box tips, visit bigkidsmallcity.com.

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