Fred Meyer $100 Giveaway and School Lunch Ideas & Tips

August 12, 2013 169 Comments | Disclosure

Congrats to our winners! 

  • $50 gift card:  Lisa (c******
  • $25 gift card: Katy D (k*****
  • $25 gift card: Cynthia W  (c******

Check out all the excellent ways to make school lunches a cinch in the comments below!

school lunch ideas tips and tricks

Back to School Lunches

Yesterday we shared several School Lunch ideas… we hope you felt inspired to go above and beyond the usual PB&J.  🙂  Today I’m going to share my tips for making school lunches easy on the mom, budget friendly, and something the kids will eat!

Menu Plan

  • If you’re already menu planning for dinner, you might as well menu plan for lunch too!  This is as simple as making a list of 5-10 lunch ideas and then rotate through it every 1 to 2 weeks.
  • Need school lunch ideas?  We shared some school lunch ideas yesterday as well as more cold lunch ideas last year!  BUT, we’re going to get MORE ideas from YOU!  So read the comments in this post.  (In order to enter to win one of three Fred Meyer gift cards, share a fun school lunch idea or preparation tip that works for your family!)
  • Keep it simple… just grab a piece of paper and list out your favorites and stick it on your fridge or inside your pantry door for quick and easy reference.
  • Call in the troops… get your kids to help make this list!

Save Money

  • Rather than buy pre-packaged foods, buy large bags in bulk!  Then all you need are some baggies and you can divide up the large bags into individual portion sizes.  Cha chings… more money in your pocket!
  • Give them left overs!  Spend a little extra now and get a nice thermos.  Heat up the left overs in the morning and then put them in the thermos.  They’ll still be warm for your child at lunch time!
  • In the coming weeks we’ll see plenty of coupons and sales for school lunch items!  Keep watching FabulesslyFrugal to stay in the know (sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss a thing)!  You can also search our Coupon Database if you’re looking for something particular
  • Don’t buy school lunches… one child alone could cost you $40-$50 a month!  If you have 5 in school like I do, that’s a big chunk of change!  A little preparation and effort will make a big difference in your budget!  I let y kids pick a few days out of hte month they want to have “hot lunch”.
  • Take advantage of the school lunch kits that are currently 25% off this week at Fred Meyers!  Stack it with the Friends and Family 15% off home coupon (it expires on the 15th!) to save even more!

Save Time

  • My sister and her kids will make all the sandwiches for the week on Sunday night, pack them up, and then freeze them!  They spend about an hour doing this, but it saves a ton of time during the chaotic week!  The kids say the sandwiches taste great too. 
  • Another family I know will assigns one of the children to make the lunches for everyone the night before.
  • I need more ideas for this… please share!!!

Now for the gift card giveaway…

We are excited that Fred Meyer is giving away $100 worth of gift cards!  Rather than pick just one winner, we thought it would be fun to have THREE winners!  So our first randomly selected winner will win a $50 Fred Meyer gift card, and the second and third will each win a $25 Fred Meyer gift card.  Thanks Fred Meyer!

To Enter:

  1. Mandatory:  Share your favorite school lunch idea or time saving tip in the comments below.
  2. Share this on facebook and leave a comment below stating you did.
  3. Subscribe to one of our FREE newsletters, and tell us in the comments that you did (or already do)!
  4. Share something you’ve pinned from our site on Pinterest.  {Here are ideas of what others have been pinning}.  Leave a link to your pin for this entry.

The Rules:

  • You are allowed one entry per category for a total of  4 entries
  • Must make different entries example comment #85, #88, #91 will give you 3 entries. :)
  • Invalid entries will not win
  • There will be a $50 gift card winner and two $25 gift card winners
  • Giveaway ends Monday August 19th at 11:59 am MST
  • Winners will be chosen at random, using number generator
  • Winners will be announced on Tuesday August 20th
  • Winner will have 48 hours to claim the prize and will forfeit prize if no response.
  • Have fun! and Good luck. :)

In the interest of full disclosure,  Fred Meyer is so awesome and provided me with a gift card as well.   Aren’t they fab? Thanks Fred Meyer for the offering this fabulous giveaway to our readers!


  1. Nicole Akins says:

    In order to save time, I pack the lunch the night before. It’s also important for me to ensure that I’ve done all my shopping the weekend prior, so I’ve effectively used all of my coupons to save money.

  2. Nicole Akins says:

    I shared on Facebook.

  3. I would pack the lunches on a sunday evening, put them in the back of the fridge, morning time on Mondays I would make sure the beverage would be included and tuck some fruit inside the lunch package..Saving time and grief, oh, we would get up early I would and make a fine meal of a protein, fruit and some hydration (milk or almond milk) eating in a relaxed non hurried manner. I shop Fred Meyers all the time would love to win!

  4. preparing the night before is a definite worth-it time saver!

  5. Jana Banana says:

    I like to prep as much as possible the night before. This includes filling water bottle, taking the banana off the bundle & grabbing a homemade granola bars (or other yummy) from the frezer.

  6. The kid has to help make/pack lunch either on Sunday night or each night after supper–and also gets to help decide what’s for lunch.

  7. I subscribe to your daily newsletter.

  8. Jana Banana says:

    I subscribe to FabFrugal emails. I love the daily updates…..especially when I am short on time and cannot browse the actual site that day.

  9. I bag the chips up for the weeks so we can grab and go.

  10. Rochelle M. says:

    A nice way to help keep a lunch cool (and give kids a slushy treat at lunch!) is to freeze Capri Sun (or other) pouches and put them in with the food in an insulated lunch bag. Especially nice now that so many of them are available as juice.

  11. Rochelle M. says:

    Shared on facebook!

  12. Rochelle M. says:

    E-mail newsletter subscriber!

  13. Make the whole lunch the night before except for the sandwich

  14. I make lunches the night before – saves a lot of time!

  15. I get your emails 🙂

  16. I have re-pinned lots of your homemade cleaners

  17. I love making pinwheels for lunch. So versatile, keep well (for making a big batch on Sunday), and fun to eat!

  18. I have a Tupper wear container full of snacks in the pantry for easy access to make quick lunches on the go!

  19. My daughter has chosen to let me know each day based on the next days lunch if she’ll be eating what I fix or chose what they will be having. What I offer is usually better YEA!! PB&J usually are the fav. in this house.

  20. shared on fb

  21. Stephanie says:

    I have been making large batches of stuff for a few weeks and I am freezing it all for easy school mornings. Ham and Cheese muffins, Raspberry Whole Grain Bars, PB Protein Rice Krispie Treats, And banana bread so far. Plan to make PBandJ muffins and zuchinni bread next. All the recipes work for breakfast or lunch!

  22. Stephanie says:

    I pinned and loved your DIY fabric softener!

  23. Meridian Mama says:

    The night before, portion & package all fruit or veggies, cut up cooked chicken or cheese into bite size pieces, use plastic baby food containers for small servings of hummus, dip or ranch.

  24. Meridian Mama says:

    I subscribe to your newsletter! Thanks for hosting the giveaway and sharing all these helpful tips!!!

  25. I always make lunches the night before.

  26. I shared!

  27. I already subscribe!

  28. Suzanne DeVaux says:

    Thanks for the giveaway! I use cookie cutters to turn boring sandwhiches into fun shapes!

  29. Suzanne DeVaux says:

    I shared!! Thank you.

  30. I pack lunches the night before to save time in the morning.

  31. Shared on facebook

  32. Email subscriber

  33. Pinned Pizza Stuffed Chicken

  34. With a picky eater, we plan lunches for the week with his input (helps cut down on a sandwich coming back home) and pack them up the night before.

  35. On Sunday we make the sandwiches & bag up veggies. The night before or morning of make sure the fruit & anything else that needs to be fresh is ready & grab & go. The only way to survive morning craziness in my opinion!

  36. I subscribe to your daily email & the main thing I read is the Fred Meyer info. Thank you so much!

  37. I try to pack lunches the night before and my son loves the go-gurts frozen and ready so they help keep the lunch cold.

  38. I shared on facebook.

  39. I bought some little school lunch bento boxes on Amazon. I love the little compartments. In some way, I think it inspires me to try new things in there. And I also love that I save on bags over and over again! It cuts down on bags at least by half which is a good frugal as well as environmental move! 🙂

    Here are the boxes I like on Amazon:

  40. I love to use cookie cutters for sandwiches, fruit, cheese ect. I also include a little note or joke in his lunch sack.

  41. Adrienne M says:

    To save time I put everything in little ziplocks on Sundays! That way all you have to do is grab and go!

  42. Adrienne M says:

    I subscribe to Thrifty NW Mom!

  43. Adrienne M says:

    I subscribe to Fabulessly Frugal!

  44. Tracy Sch says:

    I subscribe to your Store Deals via email.

  45. Tracy Sch says:

    I make sure I shop at the beginning of the week to be sure I have everything I need on hand. I fill the beverage container and cut the fresh veggies/fruit the night before. I also mix it up a bit by using dinner leftovers on some days.

  46. I make a list of what lunch will consist of (with help from kids) for the whole week & shop on Sunday for all necessary ingredients. The night before lunches are prepared by both kids and I.

  47. We love to use the lock lock lunch boxes and the boys (7,8) love getting leftovers (or even better a rolled sushi)

    These look much smaller then they actually are and hold too much food at times:

  48. Danielle Smith says:

    I freeze their Go-gurts, that way they are still cold by lunch time but ready to eat. It also helps to keep other lunch food chilled.

  49. Danielle Smith says:

    I shared on Facebook.

  50. Erinn Carrillo says:

    I try to prep as much as I can the night before. We make the sandwiches in the morning.

  51. Erinn Carrillo says:

    I subscribe to the Fabulessly Frugal newsletter.

  52. Erinn Carrillo says:

    Shared on Facebook

  53. My kids like “deconstructed” sandwiches. Lunch meat rolled with cheese, pickles, bread and butter, lettuce… all of it separate. They eat it so much faster this way!
    Shared on fb.

  54. Wendy Peluso says:

    I subscribe to the email newsletter. I like to take the kids shopping and let them see all the choices in the store instead of just buying and hoping they don’t refuse it later. It saves money to have lots of ideas, and then buy things when they go on sale.

  55. I made a list with all my kids favorite food items, grouped by category (fruits, veggies, protein, etc..) I can then make a menu plan with this “master list.” This has definitely helped me the most.

  56. I let my son help cut fruit and veggies and portion out the other bulk snacks. This saves me time and I’ve noticed that he tends to eat more of his lunch this way. He also likes to help pick out lunch items and typically asks if we have coupons for them.

  57. Cara Ewings says:

    I subscribed to the weekly matchup newsletter

  58. Cara Ewings says:

    I shared on FB…

  59. Cara Ewings says:

    Our school sells milk in cartons, but I can pack it in a thermos for half the price…which easily recoups the price of the thermos!

  60. Nickie Rolanx says:

    I shared on Facebook.

  61. Nickie Roland says:

    I subscribe to your newsletter. To save time on lunches I definitely prep ahead of time and make the night before!

  62. Cynthia Ward says:

    I bought two Rubbermaid Lunch Blox sets half-price at Fred Meyer to save money on plastic sandwich bags.

  63. Cynthia Ward says:

    I shared on Facebook.

  64. Cynthia Ward says:

    I subscribed to the Online Deals (Daily) newsletter.

  65. Cynthia Ward says:

    I pinned the bird’s nest necklace on Pinterest:

  66. Jennifer Philbrook says:

    I buy most lunch items in bulk or Costco sized boxes. Once a week I put portions into small storage containers. This saves money on the bulk items and not having to use baggies. It also makes mornings go easier to just grab the containers to put in the lunch box. This works great for crackers, trail mix, dried fruit, apple sauce, carrot sticks, yogurt, grapes, cherry tomatoes, bite sized pieces of cheese, canned fruit, cereal.

    My daughter does not like sandwiches so I have to be creative with her lunches. She really likes homemade Lunchables (meat, cheese, crackers or make your own pizza), wraps cut into bit size, peanut butter on graham crackers, soup, mac n’ cheese, tuna fish and crackers, and leftovers. To mix things up I will put meat and cheese chunks onto swizzle sticks to make kabobs. This is also lots of fun with fruit and marshmallows.

  67. Jennifer Philbrook says:

    I subscribe to your newsletter.

  68. Shelly :) says:

    My time saving tip is to plan ahead! 🙂

  69. I send a note each day to my kiddos in their lunch–I write it on their napkin.

  70. I shared on facebook.

  71. I have subscribed to the email newsletter.

  72. I pinned the honey lime enchiladas.

  73. Amanda S. says:

    I have my older kids pack their own lunches…that way they will actually eat them, lol! They tend to not eat much during school because lunch is short, so if I overpack, it just goes to waste. Having a big afternoon snack when they get home makes up for it.

  74. Amanda S. says:

    I’m a subscriber

  75. Make sandwiches the night before , for sure!!

  76. This is my first year with a kid in school, but I love the idea of having a list of ten ideas. My least favorite thing on the planet is not being able to come up with a meal (without stress) when it’s crunch time.

  77. I receive your daily email.

  78. I like sending leftover pizza in lunches, it’s just as good cold!

  79. I subscribe to your newsletter.

  80. Amanda Sakovitz says:

    I always pack the lunches the night before to save time

  81. Amanda Sakovitz says:

    im a newsletter subscriber

  82. Amanda Sakovitz says:
  83. I like little tupper-ware containers for fruit salad, tuna salad, etc. I wash and re-use them. I also have been known to keep the black little salsa containers from Baja Fresh for salsa or ranch dipping sauce.
    Cash and Carry also has disposable containers for pudding or jello to make the night before with a lid. Way cheaper than pudding packs from the store!

  84. I pack lunches the night before and use a bento box to make it fun.

  85. I subscribe to your newsletter.

  86. I pinned your lemon oat squares recipe.

  87. Surprise your child with a slice of cold leftover pizza!

  88. I have a picky eater so simple pb and j sandwich and mini-carrots are generally it but a sweet little love note from mom makes it the best lunch ever, I have been told! 🙂

  89. email subscriber

  90. We pre-package aide items each kid chooses there sides and sauce containefs if they need it and i do there thermos or sandwhich while i make my coffee.

  91. Shared on facebook

  92. I love the Angry birds sandwich!!!

  93. I subscribe to your emails

  94. I separate things once a week (put carrots in baggies, pretzels, etc) so that each night I can just grab what I need and put in in their lunch!

  95. I’m an email subscriber!

  96. I pinned these bread sticks the other day…they look SOOOO good!

  97. Samantha B. says:

    I use bento lunch containers for packing my son’s lunches – works great! Keeps each thing compartmentalized (which he likes because he’s picky) and mine even have an ice cooling layer to keep things nice and cold!

  98. Samantha B. says:

    I subscribe to ALL of your newsletters! 🙂 Love them!

  99. Lisa Osler says:

    Make 7 layer bean dip in plastic cups with lids and send to school with chips and a fruit.

  100. Lisa Osler says:
  101. Lisa Osler says:

    Shared on Facebook

  102. Lisa Osler says:

    Subscribe to your newsletter.

  103. freeze yogurt for the lunch box to have a nice cold yogurt at lunch time

  104. Time saver to make a list of lunches for the week then allow children to choose which lunch they want each day. Makes preparing the night prior easier and keeps everyone happy.

  105. Shared on facebook.

  106. Pinned on Pinterest.

  107. Already subscribed to newsletter.

  108. my favorite school lunch idea.. and the kids too.. is we pre make our own pizza crusts using cookie cutters for shapes. keep in freezer. then that morning pull out one throw it in a Tupperware with some shredded cheese and a cube of frozen pizza sauce… wala! homemade lunchable!

  109. I shared the giveaway on facebook

  110. I am already subscribed to your news letter 🙂

  111. ive pinned this but I haven’t tried it yet

  112. Kelsea R. says:

    My favorite lunch was always just a good ole sandwich. But putting it in a Tupperware with seperate compartments to assemble at lunch so you don’t have a soggy sandwich by the time you eat.

  113. Kelsea R. says:

    I already subscribe

  114. Thomas Murphy says:

    My time saving tip is make lunch the night before so you are not rushing in the morning.

  115. Thomas Murphy says:
  116. Thomas Murphy says:

    I already Subscribe to your email as rounder9834

  117. Thomas Murphy says:
  118. We sit down and make a list of what they would like that week. Then I purchase the items. Then they make there lunches each day.

  119. My time saving tip is to plan out the week on Sunday — main food and fruit choices, chips bagged, go-gurt and/ or juice frozen, etc., so that it’s easy to grab, stuff, and go. Main food choices are: munchables (crackers, meat, and cheese), tuna, ham and cheese, pb&j, bagel w/cream cheese, and homemade treat — muffin, rice crispy, brownie, cookie, etc.

  120. I like to use silicone cupcake liners in a sandwich keeper and make a fun bento box

  121. Shared on Facebook 😀

  122. Email subscriber I love the nightly wrapup emails

  123. Nikki Bell says:

    We ONLY do sack lunch in our house and I have couponed to get ALL of it. Our favorite lunches are the Michaelina’s frozen snack ’ems. Just right for elementary school kids to heat up quick and eat fast with all of the “treats” in the box, they are full!

  124. I pinned the back to school memory board for the first day. My oldest is a third grade but idc so starting this this year

  125. Briana Livingston says:

    To save time I have started a Freezer Meal Exchange group in Boise, ID. Next month will be our first exchange. It will be nice to have a few dinners stocked in the freezer.

  126. I plan our meals for the week after looking at everyone’s schedules to make sure I have enough time to make them and we can all sit down together to eat.

  127. Briana Livingston says:

    Shared on Facebook!

  128. Briana Livingston says:

    I subscribed to the weekly store deals.

  129. I already subscribe to your daily newsletter. (Which I love to look through for all of your saving tips from the day! Thank you!)

  130. I save a cool snack in the back of the pantry and pull it out in the middle of the week to jazz up the pack your own lunch experience. My kids and I have a deal…,I make their sandwiches, they pack the rest.

  131. My kids make their own lunches, if needed, at night. Minus the sandwich, that is saved for morning so it doesn’t get soggy.

  132. Briana Livingston says:

    Here’s my pin on freezing zucchini….I will definitely be doing this.

  133. I would say preparing as much as possible the night before. We also like to freeze gogurts to help keep lunch cool.

  134. I subscribe to your newsletter.

  135. My kids love yogurt but go gurt is full of junk. We make our own and put it in silicone molds. I put them in the freezer so by lunchtime they are perfect!

  136. Michelle Martin says:

    To save time and money my kids always wanted to tame lunchabale but I never felt they were getting enough, so I would make up my owe cutting cheese and meat with cookie cutters, also cut furit the same way,my gwo sons loved them and to save time we would cut the eat and cheese on sunday night enough for how ever ma y days we needed.,

  137. I am an email subscriber!

  138. I get my kids to help when shopping for groceries and packing lunches. That way it helps me knowing they are more likely to eat what they chose, within reason of course.

  139. I pinned your Pico de Gallo recipe-perfect with all of my garden bounty!

  140. Michelle Martin says:

    I shared and subscribed

  141. I subscribe to your newsletter.

    Thanks for this great giveaway!

  142. To save time I pack the night before

  143. I am already a subscriber!!

  144. I like to plan out the lunches for the week and prep them the night before. It’s much easier to pack a lunch when I have it all planned out.

  145. I shared on facebook

  146. I bought my daughter the mini- crockpot and she takes leftovers to school in that and plugs it in for a delicious homemade hot lunch once a week.

  147. I subscribe to your newsletter and I love it! Thanks for all your help!

  148. My kids love Lunchables but they are pretty pricey so I began making homemade versions. I buy lunch meat, cheese and crackers and cut the meat & cheese into small pieces so the kids can build their “lunchable” stack. Not only is it much cheaper, but the kids can pick their mix of meat and cheese instead of taking the combinations as offered in the store.

  149. I am an email subscriber!

  150. I pinned this chicken and I’m so excited to try it!!!

  151. Shared on Facebook.

  152. Subscribed to your newsletter!

  153. I shared on Pinterest.

  154. I have found that if my kids pack their own lunches the night before it reduces my stress, and their forgetfulness in taking lunch with them. It also makes it so they will eat what is in their lunch box. For us, it’s a win, win all around!!!

  155. I have shared this post on facebook

  156. I get your evening emails-that’s a wrap!

  157. I love making the kids roll-ups – just take a tortilla – add a bit of lunch meet and cheese – can even add thinly sliced carrots or cucumbers – roll it up tightly and then slice down the link of the tortilla roll. we also like to use sliced cucumbers to make little sandwiches

  158. I pin at least one recipe a week from your Sunday share and/or your freezer meals. My favorite dish is your skillet lasagna!! yum!

  159. I try to bag everything at the start of the week so we can just grab and go!

  160. I get your daily email and love it!

  161. I have actually pinned a lot from you guys. One of my favorites was the Rhodes mini pizzas. Yum!

  162. I shared on Facebook.

  163. My son is high functioning Autistic so he really is picky one of his favorites is meatloaf sandwich. So every other week or so I will fix a large meatloaf for dinner on Monday or Tuesday so he can have it for his lunch.

  164. Heather C. says:

    I think that having the kids get everything prepped the night before has saved us a ton of time and hassle in the mornings. They figure out what they want to wear and eat the next days, which saves us the morning melt-downs.

  165. Heather C. says:

    I subscribed to the back to school newsletter.

  166. Heather C. says:

    Here is a link to the pin I pinned from Pinterest.

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