If you decide to start bringing your own lunch to work, the first and most important step to take is making sure you have containers to carry your food in. Inexpensive plastic tubs for food are easy to find and are available in most grocery stores. Plastic containers for deli meats with tight-fitting lids are also an affordable option if you don’t want to purchase a separate set of new containers.
Salads Are Cheap, Easy, and VariableFor an easy week’s worth of work lunches, try purchasing a bag of fresh spring mix or romaine lettuce. Portion your salad mix out into each container, with enough to make each container a lunch for one day. Salads don’t have to be boring and bland, and this is where you can really let your creativity shine through. Try cooking up some boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs and then cubing them up. You can toss them in with your salad mix to add protein to your meal. If you like cheese, try using crumbled feta or gorgonzola as this is a great way to add huge flavor to your salads. Feel free to add in more fresh veggies like radishes, olives, mushrooms, or cherry tomatoes as well. Once your salads are ready to go, fit the lids onto the containers and put them up in the refrigerator. They will last you the work week. Add your favorite salad dressing in the morning or bring a small container with you to work to use when it’s lunchtime. And be careful not to let them sit for more than a week in the fridge for food safety reasons.
Skip the Sub Bar and Make Your Own SandwichesSalads aren’t the only thing you can prepare at home for work lunches, though. Try purchasing sub rolls from your local supermarket or bakery and making your own sandwiches the night before or as a part of your morning routine. Options for subs are almost endless, with a huge variety of deli meats and cheeses available, and you can add even more variety by trying out sandwich spreads and sub dressings to punch up the flavor. Sliced tomatoes, onions, or cucumbers add textue and crunch to your subs and are a great way to get more vegetables into your diet. Wrap your sandwiches up in aluminum foil and bring them to work with you, and keep them in the fridge or in a lunch box with a cold pack to keep things crisp and fresh. Be careful with your ingredient choices, however, so that your bread doesn’t get soggy.
Leftovers Aren’t Just For Kids
Don’t forget that leftovers from dinner the night before can make for a great meal the next day, too. This can be especially handy if you have a microwave available at work where you can easily reheat things. Or if you have a thermos, it’s easy to warm up leftover stews and soups and bring them to work, where they’ll still be warm by the time lunch rolls around. This is the ultimate method of eating frugally at work, and it’s an excellent way to reduce the amount of food that gets thrown away each week. Try planning your meals at home around bringing the leftovers to work the next day. You’ll be amazed at how much money you can save.