The Batch Lady's meal plan: Five lunches for three children for £15

The Batch Lady, aka Suzanne Mulholland, has prepared a shopping list of ingredients and five meal plans that will make your children's lunches for a week - at a cost of under £15. 

For more recipes, Suzanne's second book The Batch Lady Meal Planner is available to buy on July 23rd.

Five lunches made from the shopping list below

Monday: Simple tomato pasta bake, served with a yogurt, satsuma and glass of juice

Tuesday: Cheese and ham sandwiches, served with cucumber sticks, a banana, biscuit and glass of juice

Wednesday: Macaroni cheese with sweetcorn crunchy top, served with a satsuma, biscuit and glass of juice

Thursday: Wrap pepperoni pizzas, served with carrot sticks, humous dip, yogurt, satsuma and glass of juice

Friday: Bagels with ham and cucumber, served with a banana, biscuit and glass of juice

Shopping list

  • Flour 45p

  • Skimmed milk 1 pint 49p

  • Homous £1

  • No added sugar juice 1 litre 43p

  • Bagels 5 pack 79p

  • Bananas 5 69p

  • Satsumas 1 small bag 85p

  • 6 pack yogurts 73p

  • Sweetcorn 325g can 35p

  • Macaroni 500g £1.05

  • Pepperoni slices 120g £1.20

  • 8 plain tortilla wraps £95p

  • 1 onion 10p

  • Bolognese sauce 500g jar 64p

  • Carrots 1kg 49p

  • Cucumber 49p

  • Cooked ham 125g 86p

  • Butter 69p

  • Lighter mature cheese 400g

  • White bread 59p

  • Chocolate digestives, 49p

Total £14.83

What's needed for each day

Once you have done your shopping from the list, it’s a good idea to look below and see what you will need each day. Often you will be using just some of an ingredient and keeping part of it for another day, such as the sweetcorn, ham, cheese and tomato sauce, which are divided and used over different days. This is a great way of keeping costs low, you just have to remember not to use it all on the first couple of days.

Want to batch your lunches?

You can make these lunches in advance, so if you want to be completely organised, you can make them at the beginning of the week and place in the fridge or freezer. The sandwiches and bagels are quick and easy to make and best served on the day of making, but the two pasta dishes and the pizza pockets can easily be made in one lunch batch ready for the week ahead.

Simple tomato pasta bake 

The Batch Lady Suzanne Mulholland pasta bake contributor image

Serves: 3 children

Ingredients

250 grams of dried pasta 

1 onion finely chopped

2 ends of bread - toasted

100g of cheese - grated

¾ jar ( 500g jar) of pasta sauce

Method

1. Cook the pasta in a pan of boiling water

2. While the pasta is cooking you can now chop the onion, grate the cheese, toast your bread in a toaster and grate the toast so it becomes breadcrumbs

3. Next use a little oil and heat the onion in a pan until soft, add the ¾ jar of sauce to this pan and allow to heat for 3-4 minutes

4. Once your pasta is cooked, drain and add to the sauce, stir until the sauce coats the pasta then and pour all the coated pasta into an oven proof dish

5. Sprinkle with the grated cheese and breadcrumbs and cook in a pre-heated oven for 10 minutes at 180oC until the top is golden brown

Making in advance and eating later?Simply make up until the final instruction above but do not put it in the oven for the 10 minutes, instead allow to cool, then cover and place in fridge until needed.

Once ready to eat heat in a pre-heated oven at 180oC for 20 minutes until piping hot throughout.

Ham and cheese sandwiches

The Batch Lady's ham and cheese sandwiches

The classic ham and cheese sandwich cannot be missed from a kids' lunch menu. Use this on a day you know you need to grab and go and a packed lunch or picnic is required. Serve with a yogurt, fruit, a biscuit and a drink.

Serves: 3 children

Ingredients

6 slices of bread

Margarine

4 ½ slices of ham

100g of cheese sliced

Top tip: On a budget? Buy a cheese slice, it slices the cheese so thin that you get more cheese slices from a small block than you would using a knife. Just keep away from small children as they can be very sharp.

Using mature cheddar also allows you to need less cheese - it’s stronger so you still get the taste, but require less.

Method

1. Lay out your bread

2. Lightly spread the margarine over both sides of the bread to help the filling stay in place

3. Add 1 ½ slices of ham to each sandwich and divide the cheese slices between the 3 sandwiches

4. Wrap tightly in cling film if adding to a lunch box or if making in advance

Macaroni cheese with sweetcorn topping

The Batch Lady's Suzanne Mulholland macaroni cheese contributor image

Serves: 3 children

Ingredients

250g macaroni dry pasta

30g butter

25g flour

500ml milk

150g mature cheddar

½ can sweetcorn

Method

1. Cook the pasta in a pan of boiling water

2. While the pasta is cooking you can now make the cheese sauce

3. Melt the butter in quite a large pan as you will be adding the pasta later

4. Add the flour stir and cook for 1-2 mins on a slow heat

5. Add half the milk and whisk so no lumps appear, then when it starts to thicken add the rest of the milk and stir until it’s a smooth sauce

6. Take off the heat add the cheese stir until it all has melted

7. You may have to place it back on heat to ensure it’s all melted but keep stirring it if you do

8. Your pasta should now be cooked, drain the pasta and add the cooked pasta to the cheese sauce

9. If eating straight away, heat sweetcorn and sprinkle over the top of the macaroni

10. If eating later, simply add the cold sweetcorn to the top, allow to cool, place in fridge and when ready to eat. Heat in over at 180 for 20 minutes, stirring ½ way through.

Ready for the freezer: Do not freeze until completely cold! Freeze in heat proof dish with lid.

Ready to eat: Thaw in a fridge overnight. Sprinkle cheese over the top cook for 30mins at 180°c.

Wrap pepperoni pizzas

The Batch Lady's Suzanne Mulholland pizza wraps contributor's image

These wraps are great, they can be served flat like a pizza, or can be folded over to make a more manageable wrap. Great for a day where you don’t know if you are eating in or going out as they can be served cold in a packed lunch if folded, wrap style.

Serves: 3 children

Ingredients

6 wraps

¼ jar pizza sauce

100g grated cheese

24 pepperoni slices

½ can (½ of 325g can) of sweetcorn

Method

1. Preheat your oven to 180oc

2. Simply lay out your wraps and add 2 tablespoons of sauce to each wrap, don’t worry if it doesn’t look enough, it will spread out once cooked

3. Grate the cheese and sprinkle over each wrap

4. Add 4 pepperoni slices to each wrap and finally sprinkle the sweetcorn over all wraps

5. If serving flat, pizza-style you can now add this to a baking tray and place in oven for 5-8 minutes, until the top is hot and cooked

6. If serving wrapped, simply fold the bottom of the wrap into the middle then fold each side into the middle, you can now either put this in a flat toasty maker to toast, or if you do not have one then simply add to a frying pan and cook 4 minutes each side until its golden brown and cooked through

Making in advance: Simply follow all the steps above, then allow to cool and place in fridge these can be served cold or you can heat in microwave for 2-3 minutes, if wanting to serve warm again.

Ham and cucumber bagels

The Batch Lady Suzanne Mulholland bagels contributor's own

Such an easy lunch, but who doesn’t love a bagel! This is a great on the go lunch for summer, simply serve it with fruit, a treat and a drink of juice to make a full child-friendly lunch.

Serves: 3 children

Ingredients

3 bagels

Margarine

4 ½ slices of ham

½ a large cucumber

Method

1. Slice your bagel and lightly toast in a toaster

2. Spread your margarine over both sides of the bagel to help the filling stay in place

3. Add 1½ slices of ham to each bagel

4. Slice the cucumber and divide the slices between the 3 bagels

5. Wrap tightly in cling film if adding to a lunch box or if making in advance

Leftovers

You will have a few leftovers from your shopping list (you may have even more if you're only serving two children). These can either be frozen and can be used the next week, or if you have teenage children you may wish to use these to bulk out the lunches above.

Top tip: If you know you are going to have left-over bread products, then take out what you don’t need from the packets and wrap and freeze on the day you buy them, that way they will be really fresh for when needed.

Bread slices: freezer

2 bagels: freezer

2 wraps: freezer

1 bag of flour: store cupboard

Margarine left: use next week, save on costs

Some biscuits