Surprise Your Kids with Trade-Worthy School Lunches!

It is back-to-school time which means that it is time to start packing school lunches. If you know me well enough, you know that I get bored with the lunches I pack for my kids and I’m always looking for new things to pack. My husband bought some bento box supplies and recipe book last year but I failed to use them. This year, I plan to make some awesome lunches for my kids. I started practicing already with food I purchased from Kroger. I received a gift card to purchase items to make Trade-Worthy lunches with everything from Kroger. How do you think I did?

Button Face Sushi

My son loves sushi but I would never send sushi to school for his lunch unless it was a special occasion like his birthday or something. It is so expensive! I combined a few recipes that I found in my recipe book and online to create a more kid-friendly lunch that I call Button Face Sushi. It is definitely trade-worthy and I call it Button Face Sushi! Below are all the ingredients for the lunch – it looks like a lot but I only used a small portion of each item for the lunch.
First, I boiled the Choy Mein Noodles for just a few minutes and I cooked the Spam in a soy sauce and sugar syrup for 10 minutes.

I created the button faces with my vegetable cutters.colby-cheese-starts

I shaped the sticky Nishiki rice into squares. I cut the spam in the same size squares. I cut thin slices of the seaweed and wrapped the sushi, adhering with a little water. Kroger has a lot of delicious items to make your own sushi. They have everything you need in one convenient place, I wasn’t sure if I would have to go to a specialty store for these specialty items. I was glad to not have to run around for everything. Plus, I found fun stuff like the Bamba peanut snacks to surprise my kids with. faux-sushi-lunch-combo

Button Face Sushi is definitely a Trade-Worthy Lunch and so cute with the food picks and decorations.faux-sushi

I always add plenty of fresh fruit to my kids lunches. Kroger has raspberries and blueberries on sale this week – two of my kids’ favorites!darling-fruit-basket

My son loved the Button Face Sushi! Below he is exploring how it was made.interesting-little-buggers

For such a specialty lunch, you would expect the price to be high – much higher than a school lunch. The grand total was just $2.78 – if you consider that the peanut butter snacks accounts for $1 of that total, it really is an inexpensive meal!

  • Kroger Extreme Fusion Water $.18
  • Seaweed $.05
  • Spam $.50
  • Rice $.20
  • Peanut Butter Snack $1
  • Noodles $.20
  • Cheese $.25
  • Blueberries $.20
  • Raspberries $.20

Sleeping Crabs Lunch

Making lunch fun is a goal of mine when I pack my kids lunches. I try to provide a balanced meal that will get them through the day as well as make them happy. Below are the ingredients for this lunch – it is an overall simple lunch that is made fun with a few touches.


First, I used a cutter to slice the Kroger multigrain sandwich slims into small squares. My son loved this! My daughter did too, which is great since she never wants bread in her lunch box!cutting-bread

I made shapes out of the cheese and placed it on the corn on the cob that was cooked and cut into thirds.cutting-cheese-stars

I cut a hot dog in 1/2 and then length wise to make the sleeping crabs. I added legs on either side and eyes in the middle. I boiled them in water to give the curled up edges. I placed the hot dog crabs on the bed of bread squares. For the apples, I quartered the apple, cored it, and then scored a simple grid on the peel. I took off the peel on an alternating pattern. example-lunch-1

My kids loved the sleeping crabs! The corn-on-the-cob was a hit too!crab-hotdogs

My daughter liked the apples best. I was rewarded with this comment.

[exceptional-citing quoted=”elizabeth-o.,-age-6″ template=”elegant” date=”” ]Did you make this?! Mom, you are AWESOME![/exceptional-citing]happy-lunch-eater

This fun and simple lunch makes kids happy for only $1.45!! It is a trade-worthy lunch for sure!

  • Kroger Extreme Fusion Water $.18
  • Hot Dog $.19
  • Cheese $.25
  • Apple $.15
  • Grapes $.15
  • Kroger Trail Mix $.20
  • Corn $.10
  • Kroger Sandwhich Slims $.18
  • Carrots $.05

Do-it-yourself Pizza Lunchables

My kids love lunchables, especially the pizza lunchables. When they are on sale, I pick up a couple for quick lunches for my kids. Otherwise, I make my own Do-it-yourself Pizza Lunchables for a fraction of the price!


No instructions are needed. I use a divided lunch container for this lunch. I place a mini bagel on one side and toppings on the other. I used Kroger brand pepperoni and pizza snack sauce, making it very affordable. I added my kids favorite GoGo Squeez in Apple Grape flavor for the fruit. This is a filling lunch as is, but I would probably add a bag of carrots or similar the next time.make-your-own-pizza-lunch

This is an affordable alternative to lunchables at only $1.54 total.

  • Bagel $.28
  • Kroger Pizza Snack Sauce $.15
  • Kroger Pepporoni $.25
  • GoGo Applesauce $.64
  • Capri Sun $.22

Classroom Snacks

Back-to-school also means sending peanut free classroom snacks for your kids. My kids get to bring 1-2 snacks to school every day. I always make one of those items a piece of fruit or fresh veggies. For the other snack, I provide items like the below that I purchased at Kroger. GoGo Squeeze, Kroger CowPals Snack Cheese (be sure to keep in lunch bag to stay cool), Keebler 100 calories snacks, Chobani yogurt tubes, Goldfish crackers, and Kroger Cheese ‘n’ sticks.


Kroger helps make grocery shopping convenient and affordable with everything you need for meals at home, lunches for school, and snacks anytime. I have found their prices great, especially when you purchase the Kroger brand items. I really like how they set up their produce department with conventional and organic next to each other. Everything is so organized too! Be sure to pack in plenty of fruits and veggies to your kids school lunches this year.

produceAnd add a little sweet treat too. 🙂 There is a section devoted to “lunchbox essentials” that kids love like Rice Krispies Treats and Capri Sun drinks.KIMG0060

Be sure to check out the Kroger Trade-Worthy School Lunches page on Pinterest for more ideas – and please pin my lunches above!

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2X Fuel Points Extended!

I told you all about the 2X Fuel Points Weekends promotion earlier this Summer. Good news! They extended it through  September 1, 2013.fuelpoints

Download the 2X Fuel Points digital coupon to be loaded onto your Kroger card. Shop Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at Kroger for your groceries and earn DOUBLE Fuel Points! You could save up to $1 off your #summerfuel!!

Shop Kroger

There are many Kroger stores throughout Ohio, however the closest ones to Akron, Ohio are in Mansfield, Sandusky, and Port Clinton, Ohio. For this post, I shopped in sunny Mansfield.

Appleseed Shopping Center, Mansfield, OH 44907

Win $25 Kroger Gift Card

You have the chance to win a $25 Kroger Gift Card.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. In order to comply with the latest Facebook Promotion Guidelines (revised 5/11/11), the following statements are true:

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30 Day Winning Rule applies. For complete contest rules, please see our Contest Statement and Blog Disclosure.

Contest ends at :5 pm EST on August 20th, 2013 when a winner will be drawn at random. I will notify the winners and they will have 24 hours to respond or another winner will be selected!

This was not a paid post. My own opinions were used based on my perceptions and experience. Thank you to Kroger who provided the gift cards for review and giveaway.

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Founder and Lead Blogger at Akron Ohio Moms
Cindy is the top Akron Blogger with her own take on awesome brands for families, where to vacation for families, a beat on local activities and family fun, a knack for getting moms to share , and a house that is always 2 weeks away from a complete remodel!
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