It's fall harvest time - roasted root vegetables are a favorite. Tonight, parsnips, beets, and carrots, cut into strips to maximize child interest and dipping ability. Lavender liked all of them plain ("I have so many favorite foods!" she said) ... but decided that they were even better with ketchup.
First, homemade chili (made with local, grass-fed beef) with some trail mix (homemade granola, sunflower seeds, coconut flakes, freeze-dried strawberries, and currants) and fresh prune plums. The chili cost about $1.10/serving, the prune plums $0.25 for 3, and the trail mix $0.20. Total lunch cost: $1.55 (all numbers rounded up to the nearest nickel).
My lunch system is fairly simple. Although I can agree that there are some very tempting lunch and bento systems, for the sake of food safety I pack items in a container of the right size. Things that need to stay cold are placed between two ice packs. If we're using the hot food jar, I don't pack anything that needs to stay cold - both so that the food jar can remain hot (I wrap it in a towel for extra insulation, inside the lunch bag) and so that nothing perishable heats up from the food jar. Lavender has an early lunch and a later snack, so sometimes I use a small insulated bag for each of those, and sometimes everything is packed together in one bag. The food above is for lunch and snack together. Lunch is only 20 minutes - not a lot of time to eat much of anything!