Lunch is an essential part of our everyday routines. Some of us have lunch at the office, grabbing a quick bite nearby. Other times, we are at home and can afford the luxury of preparing a more meticulous meal. Either way, planning your lunch ideas isn’t always easy. Having lunch can be a real challenge when you’re on a budget.
You need something to prepare and eat quickly neatly. In addition, the lunch ideas need to be very flavorful and nutritious. On top of these criteria, you want affordable lunch ideas that won’t cost you a fortune.
Fortunately, it’s possible to eat delicious lunches without much money. Check out these twelve quick healthy lunch ideas for a week:
Idea #1: Pasta
Pasta can be put together the night before and is very inexpensive to make. You can also customize it with a protein of your choice and vegetables depending on what’s in the fridge. It’s filling, gives energy, and supplies your body with what it needs to make it to dinnertime with no appetite trouble.
Idea #2: Soup
Soup is an extremely healthy meal and cheap on the wallet, regardless of whether you make it at home or buy it from a third party. A broth-based lentil soup, vegetable soup, or chicken soup is quick to heat up and made in large batches. Anything you can make in batches reduces prep time and is a go-to for anyone on a meal plan for lunch.
Idea #3: Lunch Meal Kit
Try a meal delivery service for lunch-specific meal kits. Some meal delivery companies offer specific lunches for every day of the week. You can choose meals based on the health condition you’re eating to improve, such as low cholesterol. You can also order from a vegetable food delivery service, which can be great if you are following a specific lifestyle (i.e. keto).
Idea #4: Chili
If soup isn’t quite your style, try a chilli instead. There are some real tasty bean-based chilli recipes available. You can make it in the slow cooker the day before, and it’s ready to heat up the next day. The best thing about chilli is that, reheated, it will taste just as fresh as it did the day before. Nutritious and low-calorie chilli is an excellent idea to have on your weekly lunch plan.
Idea #5: Calzones
A calzone is bread dough folded over with stuffing inside. It’s essentially a pizza pocket, and homemade means you can toss in all the savoury ingredients you want. Although the prep is time-consuming, the benefit to these is that they’re easily frozen and can be heated with no supervision afterward.
Idea #6: Sandwiches
A sandwich is an easy-to-eat lunch idea and very affordable. The bread with a little butter or margarine and topped with a spread of your choosing or filled with chicken or turkey is also delicious. This can all be prepared very easily beforehand and takes little time to eat if you’re in a rush.
Idea #7: Wraps
If you want to assemble something you know could soak through sandwich bread, do a wrap instead. A wrap is easy to put together. A few sliced veggies, some chicken, cheese, and mayonnaise, and you have it all there. You can also put so many things into a wrap, making it a cheap way to use what’s already in your fridge.
Idea #8: Salads
A nice salad with a low-fat or olive oil-based dressing is a cheap lunch idea. If you’re focused on eating healthy and cheap, you’ve got to get your veggies in, and nothing’s more nutritious than fresh vegetables. A salad is something anyone can make, and with many ways to customize it according to what you already have in the fridge.
Idea #9: Quinoa Salad
We know we mentioned salads earlier, but quinoa salad should get its entry to this list. Quinoa is a super-food. It’s a great pasta substitute mixed with sun-dried cherry tomatoes and roasted red peppers, and it’s a perfect lunch option. Add in a little pesto, and if you love veggies, you’re going to love having a quinoa salad for lunch.
Idea #10: Tofu Stir Fry
A tofu stir fry is a great habit to get into. Tofu absorbs flavour easily. Making the stir-fry the night before provides it with lots of time to marinate and absorb the flavours around it. Add in your favourite veggies, a nice sauce and a collection of spices, and you can easily set this up for a few lunches over the week.
Idea #11: Microwave Egg Sandwich
Egg sandwiches may be more breakfast-oriented, but they can make a great lunch on taste and price. You can cook a few of these beforehand simply by prepping the egg and then stacking some spinach, red onion, and cheese in between two pieces of the toasted bun. Come lunch, all you have to do is pop it in the microwave for a quick heat-up.
Idea #12: Chicken Fried Rice
Another easy lunch idea is chicken fried rice. Rice is quick to cook, made in batches, and spread out across 3-4 days. You can customize it with chicken or another protein and some vegetables. A bag of frozen vegetables is easy to portion and toss in. A healthy and cheap lunch idea regularly keeps this in the rotation if there ever was one.