Eating out for your workday lunch is a quick way to bust your budget. If your daily lunch costs $10 (and it will, including a drink and taxes), a 5-day workweek will use up $2600 of your hard-earned money annually. But many claim there just isn’t time to pack a sack before leaving for work — or that they have no idea what to make. These excuses are null and void.
You can brown-bag it all week long by simply spending an extra five minutes in the morning creating these easy, healthy lunches. Heck, you can even put some together the night before. Here are five ideas for cheap, healthy lunches you can take to work.
Throw this simple salad together with ingredients already in your fridge. Grab a plastic container and fill it with any greens at the base (I like romaine), then add drained, canned black beans. Heat a pack of Uncle Ben’s 90-second brown rice in the microwave and dump that on top. Then use any canned or fresh veggies you have on hand: corn, peppers, avocado or tomatoes. Finally, top it with salsa and cheese. Serve chilled.
Hummus, feta and spinach wrap
Just spread hummus on a flavored tortilla, then add tomato-and-basil feta, fresh basil and spinach. Keep it simple and stick with those ingredients, or add veggies such as tomatoes and fresh cucumbers.
Almond butter and banana sandwich
It doesn’t get easier than this. Buy a pack of sandwich thins at Costco, along with a jar of almond butter. Toast the bread before making your sandwich to keep it from getting soggy; add banana if you like. Pair it with cut carrots or other veggies.
Tuna pasta salad
If you’re craving protein, try this easy pasta salad from FANNEtastic Foods that requires no measuring cups. You’ll need cooked pasta, chopped peppers and olives, canned tuna, goat cheese, chickpeas and balsamic vinegar. Add ingredients in whatever amount you desire and mix it up. Make a big batch and eat it for a few days. Or if you refer a more classic tuna pasta salad, try this one from Genius Kitchen.
I’m personally more of a grazer, so my lunches are defined by a series of small snacks instead of one meal. If you’re like me, pack a Greek yogurt to keep you feeling full, along with fresh fruit and cut veggies or healthy chips paired with hummus or guacamole. Chocoholics: Stash a dark chocolate bar in your desk and treat yourself to a square or two for dessert.