Lunchbox Wars: Bean & Cheese Burritos

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It’s hard to beat a burrito when you’re looking for a simple, complete and portable meal to go.  Sadly, the “insides” never look like the picture in the ad.  Today, we are going to show you exactly what you are not missing and how much cheaper making your own can be!

Homemade bean & cheese burrito compared to a popular drive-thru fast food version.

Round 1 – Convenience

A burrito doesn’t take long to make.  You order it at the drive-thru window, pay for it and thirty seconds later they hand you one at the next window.  Or, you buy a frozen box promising deliciousness in 30 microwavable seconds. Tada! No bueno.

MOMables Tip: Get a whole pack (or two) of flour tortillas and make a bunch yourself, ahead of time. They’ll keep in the freezer 3 months. A few minutes in the microwave and you have the perfect on the go dinner for busy activity nights. No more drive-through and no boxed ones!

Round 2 – Contents

I opened up the fast food burrito (at right) expecting to see just beans & cheese. I didn’t know there would also be some kind of sauce, and a lot of chopped onions. There wasn’t much cheese that I could see, but maybe it was just smothered by the sauce.  Slightly unidentifiable, don’t you think?

There were also a few pieces of lettuce. I suppose this was an unintended “freebie” courtesy of assembly line fast food.  When you make your own you know exactly what goes in your burrito.

I only put beans & cheese in my version (at left). No sauce – the seasoned beans and sharp white and cheddar cheeses have enough flavor for me .  If you are using plain re-fried beans or black beans, I’d suggest a dash of salt free taco seasoning.

Round 3 – Cost

The fast food bean burrito costs $1.29.
While the ingredients for the bean burrito were quite a bit more than that, broken down to the cost per burrito, the homemade one is only $ .79That is nearly 40% savings!

Bonus Round – Is Lunch Complete?

As filling as a bean & cheese  burrito is, it doesn’t make a very well-rounded lunch on it’s own. What about fruits & vegetables?  Can you get those at the drive through window?  You can have any fruit or vegetable sides you like if you pack your own lunch ahead of time.


I packed my  burrito in an EasyLunchboxes container, adding bite-sized tomatoes & sliced strawberries on the side. For a school lunch, warm the burrito in the morning, then wrap in parchment paper or foil paper before packing. Since avocados are in season, I also added some fresh guacamole & organic blue corn tortilla chips. The guacamole is homemade too. I jazzed it up with some lime juice, diced red pepper, and Zatarain’s Creole Seasoning = Cajun guacamole!

Which would lunch you rather feed your family?

The “MOMables™” burrito lunch is a winner!

This challenge shows that convenience foods often seem cheaper; but in reality, they  actually cost more per unit and  are often nutritionally incomplete. What fast food saves me in time, it costs my family in health.

It makes more sense to pack  my own meals to go, with fresh, healthy ingredients from all the food groups. MOMables menu plans make that easy, by taking the guesswork out of making a nutritionally complete lunch.

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