I'm a single mum-of-three and spend less than £10 a week on 15 packed lunches for my lads using Aldi bargains

A SINGLE mum-of-three has revealed how she makes 15 packed lunches for just £9.98 a week.

Lynn Beattie, 43, from Hertfordshire, is a money-saving blogger and mum to Dylan, 12, Josh, ten, and Jack, seven.

Speaking exclusively to Fabulous, Lynn said: "My boys are Year Three and above meaning none are entitled to free school dinners, but do check the government website to see if you are entitled.

"School dinners are £2.60 per day in my county, costing £39-a-week for all three of my boys. Packed lunches will save a small fortune.

"I have carefully calculated the cost of these packed lunches using ingredients from Aldi, where I do my weekly shop. To feed all three boys for five days costs £9.98.

"Some of the food is homemade with a bit of preparation, but not much. Each lunch has fruit and veg included for a healthy balanced diet.

"And yes, I have also included easy treat items like cereal bars and crisps, us busy mums don’t have loads of time to prepare complex packed lunches.

"I haven’t included drinks as the children take in a reusable bottle with water."

Lynn shares her exact weekly meal plan – including sarnies using the leftover Sunday roast, pasta salad and a tasty looking frittata…

Monday – £1.72 (57p each)

  • Leftover roast chicken and mayo sandwich (98p for 3), banana (39p), carrot sticks (3p), crisps (32p)

Monday is the day for using up leftovers from Sunday Roast.

On Sunday I cooked rotisserie chicken in a bag from Aldi, costing £3.85.

There was so much chicken left, more then enough for sandwiches and food for another day.

I thinly sliced the chicken breast, using around 1/5 of the chicken, and added mayonaise.

Tuesday – £2.17 (72p each)

  • Pasta & chicken salad (£1.46 for 4), apple (39p), crisps (32p)

It's another day for the last of the leftover chicken, this time to make a pasta salad with plenty of vegetables.

I cooked 200g of penne pasta, along with one corn on the cob. Once both were cooked, I added the pasta to a bowl. I cut half of the corn from the cob and added it to the pasta.

I added the remaining chicken, stripped and chopped, from the Sunday roast (around 1/5 of the meat was left).

I also added 1/3 of a red pepper and 1/3 of a cucumber, then 100ml of mayo, although this wasn’t an essential, but was nice for a bit of texture.

These ingredients made a huge bowl of pasta salad, more than enough for three packed lunches, in fact there was enough left for my lunch as well!

It tasted amazing warm as well as cold and the pasta was just £1.45 for the pack.

This meal could work great for a sunny evening dinner sat in the garden and it's so low in cost.

As there was plenty of veg in the pasta salad, I added just an apple and crisps to the packed lunch.

Wednesday – £2.01 (67p each)

  • Ham & cheese wrap (£1.01 for 3), grapes (53p), cucumber (15p), cereal bar (32p)

Wednesday is a simple lunch day, with a wrap as the main event.

The boys love a wrap and it’s a healthier alternative to white bread. I find a ham and cheese filling is always a winner.

I added a small bunch of wonky grapes, which in my opinion just look like normal grapes but are much cheaper!

Some cucumber strips and a chocolate chip cereal bar complete their lunch.

Thursday – £1.77 (59p each)

  • Frittata (£1.06 for 4), apple (39p), crisps (32p)

Today's menu requires slightly more prep, for a lovely Spanish frittata, packed full of healthy vegetables and eggs.

You need 250g of potatoes (peels and boiled, but not too soft), 1/3 of a pepper, one red onion, half a corn on cob and four eggs (or one per person).

I chopped everything into rough chunks.

In a frying pan, cook the onion and pepper in a little bit of oil, then add the potato and sweetcorn (the other half of the cob that you cooked on Tuesday for the pasta salad) to warm through.

In a jug, whisk up the four eggs with a little salt and pepper, then add to the cooked vegetables.

Cook on the hob for a few minutes, so the bottom of frittata is cooked, then move to under the grill to cook the top. And voila, a beautiful frittata.

These ingredients made a huge frittata with more than enough for three packed lunches, again there was plenty for my lunch too.

I wrapped 1/4 of the frittata in foil and popped into the packed lunch with an apple and a packet of crisps.

Lynn’s tips for lunches on a budget

  1. Make a list before you go shopping and stick to it when browsing the aisles.
  2. Shop the Aldi Super 6 Section, for wonky fruit/veg and reduced items. This is the best way to save money.
  3. Fruit and veg can be frozen.
  4. Buy carrots and cucumbers and chop them yourself, it's much cheaper than pre-chopped.
  5. Buy a chunk of cheese and grate it yourself, grated cheese goes much further.
  6. Use reusable packaging like beeswax wraps and keep any small packaging pots to use again.

Friday – £2.30 (77p each)

  • Ham sandwich (67p for 3), cereal bar (32p), cheddar chunks (40p), strawberries (91p)

A simple way to end the week, with a ham sandwich. My boys don’t have butter on their bread, is that strange? I used to eat dry bread as a child as well.

To accompany the sandwich, they got a treat with some cut up wonky strawberries, just 91p for 227g.

1/3 of the berries went into each lunchbox. I also added a cereal bar and some chunks of cheddar cheese.

Total – £9.98

That's a cost of £3.32 per child per week – just over a quarter of the £13 cost of school meals for the week in Hertfordshire.

Lynn Beattie (was James) is a personal finance expert at Mrs MummyPenny.

Her second book, The Money Guide to Transform Your Life, is out September 1, 2020 and can be ordered here.

You can follow her on Instagram here.

All food prices recorded on August 17, 2020, in Aldi, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire.

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