I calculated that I pack 100 plus lunches a year X 2 kids. That's approximately 200 lunches.
Hypothetically, say I buy 7 packs of juice boxes or Capri suns with 32 per package.
7 packs X 32 = 224 drinks
Let's say I pay a minimum $10 (average guess) per package. That's $70/year (7 packs X $10) on juice! And in reality it would probably be more because once these juices are in the house, it's hard to have self control and not drink them at home.
Of course my children prefer juice to water. But about a year and a half ago I made it my life's mission to get my kids off of juice. It took about three days of hard core training, but it worked and now they will drink water.
If I start to feel like I'm depriving them, I remind myself what a luxury it is to have clean, running water. And if my kids complain (which they never have), I will be happy to remind them as well.
Another thing I just started doing with lunches to save time is I make several days worth of sandwiches at once.
For example, on Sunday evening when I'm preparing for the week, I go ahead and make 11 sandwiches (5 for my husband, and 3 a piece for my kids). The sandwiches keep well in the refrigerator for several days.
It's so nice to avoid the cumbersome process of getting out all the sandwich stuff 3-5 times a week.
got to love a photo bomber
I love it when I can figure out a way to be more efficient!
Now as for creativity and lunches, I've got nothing for you. Sandwich, pretzels, fruit, and water is what you get at my house. Occasionally, if you're lucky, I will throw in a sweet treat. But it's rare.