Let’s face it: constantly shelling out cash for shop-prepared, less-healthy food, which you could have made inexpensively at home, can go against the grain.
Despite what is commonly believed, a healthy lunch doesn’t have to be expensive. You can easily save money by making your lunches at home and bringing them with you to work each day. This allows you to have greater control over what you eat, and how much money you spend on food.
Pack yourself a lunch box to look forward to: use up food left over from the night before, or make extra for dinner so that you’ll have enough to take for lunch the next day. Include fresh fruit and home baking as a treat. Tins or cartons of soup are an easy addition to your lunch box, at very little extra cost.
How about cooking in bulk? Make a big pot of chilli, soup or rice and beans then freeze individual portions that you can grab as you run out the door in the morning.
Leftover pizza makes a tasty lunch the next day. Wraps can also be made at the speed of light and include your own choice of ingredients. Why not whip up a quick, satisfying salad that includes leftover pasta and your favourite dressing.
The simple truth is: any lunch you make yourself will taste at least 27 times better than the slippery chopped salad you could end up buying.
If you get time, check the yellow stickers that mark down sandwiches and food-to-go at the supermarket.
If you haven’t already got them, put in a requisition for a small microwave for heating up leftovers and a compact fridge to keep food fresh. Situated next to the office kettle you can create a neat, versatile food prep area.
For the office caffeine addicts, source a machine that uses pods to make real coffee in the office – producing the best blends at a fraction of the high street price.
We all like to dine out, but is it possible to keep costs down?
If you do have to leave the office for lunch, check out websites such as vouchercodes.co.uk and vouchercloud.com to download or print coupons for restaurant discounts and promotions. Have a look on iTunes or Google Play for money saving dining apps for tablets and smartphones.
Look online for discount dining cards such as the Gourmet society, Taste card, and Highlife diner’s cards. These offer 2-for-1, 50% or 25% off the total bill, including drinks. Some cards offer free initial membership then a substantial discount on the annual fee, which you can quickly recoup in savings.
Britain’s ‘cheapest’ lunchtime meal was recently revealed by scientists…
The toast sandwich, a mid-Victorian dish, unsurprisingly consists of two slices of bread around a slice of toast, probably coming in at less than 10p per serving!
Taken from Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management, published 150 years ago, the ‘recipe’ dictates that you simply put a piece of dry toast between two slices of bread and butter and add a little salt and pepper to taste. It’s surprisingly good to eat and quite filling… No good for those on a no-carb diet though!
Edible office supplies
How about suggesting that your office keeps coffee, tea, soft drinks and a few snacks in the communal kitchen. This can keep the cost of ‘snacking’ down during those moments when the urge to eat biscuits kicks in.
Keeping your office kitchen cupboards stocked up is as simple as adding small food and drink items onto your stationery order. This also saves time so that you’re not always having to leave the office every time you fancy a bite to eat.