Living isn’t cheap, and with all the expenses you contend with every day, it’s important to save money wherever you can. Bringing a lunch to work is a great way to do just that! USA Today has written that the average American spends $11 while eating out for lunch, while a meal from home costs about $6.30 on average, and it’s easy to get that number even lower.
Cost isn’t the only reason why you should bring a lunch to work—it benefits your physical health as well. Regularly dining out significantly impacts your well-being, especially if you’re trying to save money by eating cheaply at fast-food restaurants. Fast-food meals contain added sugar, fat, sodium, and large quantities of trans fat, which is a manufactured fat that increases your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Of course, there are better options when eating out. As the world becomes more aware of the impact of fast-food on physical health, more and more health-conscious restaurants are cropping up with a focus on light, whole food fare. A new federal requirement also forces restaurants to disclose calorie amounts on their menu items.
All of these things have made it possible to eat out in a way that doesn’t put your health at risk—but if you want to avoid the expenses of eating out and ingesting harmful ingredients, preparing your own lunches is the best option. Here are some healthy and low-cost meals you can make yourself at home:
Tuna and White Bean Salad
The cost per meal of this tasty and quick lunch is only $1.65! All you need is a 15 oz. can of white beans, a 5 oz. can of light tuna, 2 stalks of green onion, lemon juice, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste and eat with a side of grape tomatoes and baby carrots.
With a cost per serving of $1.96, this will definitely become a staple in your lunch menu. These peppers are filled with ground beef, polish sausage, veggies, and rice! They’re incredibly filling and can be made meatless or carb-free—just substitute cauliflower rice for grain rice.
Black Bean and Bell Pepper Wraps
Wraps are very economical. You can take everyday pantry ingredients and transform them into something delectable, like this black bean and bell pepper wrap. The cost per serving is $1.41.
Tomato and Lentil Soup
The approximate cost of the total recipe is only $2.53, which makes it the cheapest option on our list. It makes use of bargain food items like lentils, celery, carrots, and spices to give it lots of body and flavor. It’s also pureed, which gives it a creamy, thick texture.