10 Frugal School Lunch Ideas

Pasta Salad

The great thing about pasta salad is that it has a lot of different textures, colors and flavors that combine to make a delicious one-bowl dish. And it's really easy to adapt pasta salad to include either what your kid likes to eat, or what you have left over in the fridge. Plus, it's best served cold, which makes it ideal for a lunch box meal.

Just mix together cooked pasta, steamed or raw veggies like broccoli or bell peppers, fat-free Italian or vinaigrette dressing and some shredded parmesan or crumbled feta. Cold lunchmeats cut into bite-sized pieces -- like salami, ham or turkey -- make a great addition to this salad. Chickpeas are also a tasty way to add texture and protein.

The best kind of pasta to use is short-cut extruded pasta -- the tube, spiral or shell noodles, or other small shapes that are easy to spear with a fork. For a fun meal with lots of texture, pick up a box of mixed pasta that includes a variety of different noodle shapes.