Lunch Theirs Vs Mine

Have you ever had a friend that makes you look bad just because she is so darn good?  I have a friend like that and she never has to buy pre-packaged food so her children won't go hungry.  I, on the other hand, am one of those moms who has her ups and downs.  Some days, my kids go to school with an abundance of healthy foods.  Other days, they wind up at school with milk money and last night's leftover takeout pizza in a paper sack.  On days when I don't even have leftovers to offer, the kids get their favorite lunch of all: Lunchables.

My good-mom friend recently suggested that I was spending too much for a little package of meat, cheese, and crackers.  So, I decided to see for myself. 













I bought large quantities of the items contained in our Lunchables of choice: meat, Kraft cheddar cheese, and Ritz crackers.  Here is the breakdown of what I spent: 


Next, I started cutting and counting.  It turns out that my supermarket supplies made the equivalent of ten Lunchables.

So, here are the results:


I was shocked that the prices are identical; I actually expected that I was paying more for convenience.  And while I like the fact that supermom was wrong, this exercise did make me think a bit about my choices.  While price isn't a factor, there is a lot more packaging going to waste when I buy the ready-to-eat lunches.  On the other hand, the time I spent cutting the food into nice little squares (because not even I would send my kids to school with a chunk of meat!) is worth something.   Finally, I KNOW my friend would chime in with arguments about nutrition (disclaimer: I always add fruit), but I am a believer in moderation, so I don't feel my kids are at any grave risk of health problems. 

So, what do you think about Lunchables? Make them or buy them?

Kim McGrigg is the former Manager of Community and Media Relations for MMI.