A friend emailed me a while ago saying she was in a lunch rut. She saves money on lunch by packing leftovers, but it had become boring. If you want to spicy up your lunch, here are four tips to create cheap and tasty lunches. Plus, I share suggestions to making the most out of your situation.
- Dinner remake – One of the easiest things to do is to create something new with last night’s dinner. If you had meatloaf, try a meatloaf sandwich. Rice and veggies can be turned into a quick fried rice. Avoid packing the same thing you ate for dinner more than twice a week to keep things fresh.
- Rethink Bread – Sandwiches are a tasty option, but switching it up once in a while can be exciting for your taste buds. There are many tasty pitas, bagels, crackers, flat bread, and wraps to choose from. And don’t forget the spreads, lunch meats, and veggies you can include. Check out these sandwich recipes from Martha Stewart.
- Soups and salads – Soups and stews are a great comfort food for cold weather. All you need is a thermos. Don’t forget the little extras like chopped scallions, homemade croutons, or even a dollop of cream or yogurt to give the soup a little extra something. Salads are great for hot months. I’m not suggesting rabbit food. Try my chicken salad recipe, or quinoa tabbouleh recipe.
- Be creative – Simple snack options like “ants on a log” (celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins on top) are tasty and nutritious. How about spanakopita triangles? You can buy them pre-made or make them yourself. Yogurt with fruit is also easy to grab in the morning. Try my yogurt recipe.
Get excited about eating in.
- Find a lunch buddy – Watching everyone walk out to grab lunch can be tempting and lead to dissatisfaction with your food. Instead find yourself a frugal friend who also packs a lunch!
- Set the table – Make sure to wipe down the area where you’ll be eating. Just think of all the dirt and germs. Yuck!
- Have a work pantry – I actually learned this tip from my friend. She used to have a stash of forks, napkins, and even Parmesan cheese in one of her desk drawers as we usually ate in the newsroom when deadlines where tight. She saved my butt several times from having to go out looking for a spoon when it was pouring rain.
- Keep it cold – For safety’s sake, pack lunch with a reusable ice pack. Skip the brown bags for eco-friendly (and fashionable) lunch bags. It really does make all the difference!
How do you make eating in at work fun? What are your favorite lunch recipes?
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