Lunch on a Budget
In these austere times tightening the purse strings could mean getting a little more creative with your lunch menu, making it a little less expensive. Save money by making your lunches at home and bringing them with you to work. Plus you’ll have greater control to create healthier, cheaper, delicious meals.
The truth is, any lunch you make yourself will taste 27 times better than the extortionate slippery salad with dodgy dressing, or the soggy sarnies you could end up buying off the shelf.
We mustn’t over look the ubiquitous sandwich with bespoke fillings that you can make yourself at home to save a few bob, but always pack yourself a lunch box to look forward to. Try using up food left from the night before, or in fact, you might want to make extra food for dinner so you’ll have goodies to bring for lunch. Include fresh fruit and tins of soup at very little extra cost.
Bring in leftover pieces of last night’s pizza, also, wraps can be made at the speed of light, and will include your own choice of ingredients.
Roast chicken is versatile and flexible, so pick up a bigger bird than usual for more extras. Pick off every scrap of meat, this can then be chucked straight from the fridge into rice, pasta or salad, use the carcass to make stock for soup as well.
Make more casserole than you need and pad it out with boiled new potatoes or quinoa, which adds a little variation too.
Chilli con carne uses cheap ingredients, Throw a few potatoes into the oven while you’re eating, and gain yourself some jackets to go with leftover chilli for lunch.
Tins of tuna travel well, all you need is a can opener, then toss the fish, along with some mayo or your favourite dressing into some rice, pasta, or canned pulses such as beans, chickpeas or lentils, yum!
Muffins, bread, crispbreads and savoury biscuits don’t need refrigerating and are all good for bulking out your lunch.
Serving food up the second time around
If you’re planning to keep food for the next day, cool it as quickly as possible and get it into the fridge. Once cooked, you should aim to get it into the fridge within 90 minutes. Avoid the temptation to leave things cooling on the hob overnight.
If you have the facilities at work to reheat food, make sure that it’s piping hot the whole way through.
Keep food in the office fridge until you’re ready to use it. Don’t pop it in your bag to take to work and then leave it there until lunchtime.
Make sure all food is carried in thoroughly sealed containers.
Beating the budget when you eat out
If you really need leave the office for lunch, check web sites such as Vouchercodes for downloading or printing coupons for restaurant discounts and promotions. There are also money saving dining apps for your tablets and smart phones.
Look online for details of discount dining cards such as the Gourmet society, tastecard, and Hi-life, the deals can vary from 50% off food, 2 for 1, or 25% off the total bill including drinks.
Some cards give you free initial membership, usually for three months, and then ( if you bide your time) will sometimes offer a substantial discount on the annual fee, which you can quickly recoup in savings.