Budget effectively by making your lunch everyday

       

Phil Mills

Work takes up a large amount of our daily lives. If you happen to work full-time, you most likely spend a minimum of 8 hours there. Somewhere in-between these hours, the need to snack or eat a meal usually kicks in. As a result, many people tend to buy food from the nearest shop or cafe as it is quick and convenient. Have you ever stopped to think about how much that odd £5 meal every day comes up to at the end of the month? The reality is, the amount that you come up with might be the reason you end up needing a cash loan before payday. Research actually suggests that we spend an average of £1,840 annually if you work up to 46 weeks out of the year. On the contrary, those who take their lunch to work from home are said to only spend £552. This is a significantly smaller amount that you could spend on many other things. Making your own lunch may seem like a drag, but it is something you might just grow to love. Who says you can't recreate the excitement you felt as a child when you knew you were having your favourite for lunch? This guide will outline how to budget effectively and the many benefits of taking your food to work everyday as well as give you a few ideas to get you started.

The sacrifice you'll have to make if you want to enjoy the benefits of a packed lunch is sparing an extra thirty minutes to an hour every day. We're hoping that you'll be convinced that it's worth that extra lounging time after work or snooze time in the morning.

Health

Most outlets that are located near offices tend to be processed and mass-produced food spots. As tasty and appealing as these foods are when you're hungry, they may not be the healthiest. When you pack your own lunch, on the other hand, you're in charge of what goes into your meal. You can ensure you pack food that contains nutrients such as iron, protein, fiber and complex carbs. These nutrients are necessary to give you the energy you need to get you through the workday.


ham sandwich on white bread

More for less

Ever had what seemed to be a filling lunch and then found an hour later that you're still hungry? If yes, that is one of the disadvantages of buying lunch as opposed to bringing it from home. When you bring your own lunch, you can get more for less. You're able to bring as much food as you want without having to pay for it twice.

Lunch box ideas

  • Beef skewers
  • Quesadillas
  • Spring rolls
  • Cold noodle salads
  • Hummus and pita plate
  • Quinoa salad
  • Cocktail sausages

Cash efficient

Packing your own lunch is almost always going to be cheaper. This is unless you're having lobster and steak throughout the week. If for instance, you spend an average of £5 on food and snacks a day, that means you're spending close to £100 a month on lunch. You'd most likely get far more with that amount if you packed your lunches from home. Depending on how much you make, £100 may seem insignificant. You will, however, realise how significant it could be in an instance where you have unexpected bills.



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Variety is the key

We know that time is of the essence to your average working person. As a result, we haven't thought up three-course meals as lunch options. These suggestions should be fast and easy to throw together. You may choose to make them the night before. Alternatively, you could wake up a little bit earlier to get it done before you jet-set off to work.

Sandwiches

You know those world class sandwiches that you get at the little café near your office? What if we said you could make them right at home? When making a packed lunch you'll want to take a few things into consideration. These include picking foods that won't easily leak as well as food that's easy to re-heat. If you don't have the luxury of a microwave at work, you'll have to think of foods that are still enjoyable when cold. Sandwiches perfectly tick all of the boxes above. There are tons of sandwiches that you can make which include:

  • Tuna and sweetcorn
  • Lettuce bacon and tomato
  • Chicken salad
  • Egg and mayo
  • Ham and cheese
  • Peanut butter and jam
  • Ham and avocado
  • Roast beef salad
  • Corned beef
  • Turkey egg salad
  • Prawn mayo
  • Hummus and grated carrots
  • Cocktail sausages

You can choose to use wheat or white bread to whip up your sandwiches depending on your preference. Don't forget that wheat bread is less likely to contribute to weight gain and is also a great source of fiber.


lunch box treats and ideas

Pasta

Pasta is one of the easiest lunch options as it is quick to make and can be eaten cold or hot. It can also be satisfyingly filling depending on what you want to throw in the mix. As with sandwiches, you can choose from white or whole wheat pasta. Apparently, brown spaghetti keeps you fuller for longer so take that into consideration as well. Some ideas for quick pasta dishes you can make include; sweetcorn, tuna and mayo; sausage, spinach and gorgonzola pasta; vegan scallops with creamy white sauce pasta; garlic kale pasta; pasta bake; cheesy pesto-chicken-stuffed shells; garlic chicken pasta; or salmon and spinach pasta. There are of course a range of other varieties you can explore but these are just a few you can consider. Feel free to try throwing in additional ingredients. If you don't know how to make these dishes, the recipes can be found online. Most important thing is the ingredients can most likely be bought for the same amount or far less than you would spend on eating out for lunch.

Stir-fry

If you're looking for a tasty and quick lunchtime special, try a stir-fry. You can make it as exotic as you want seeing as you can throw so many different things inside. If you've never tried stir-fry a few ideas include sweet chili chicken; Thai pork; Thai basil chicken; shrimp and mushroom; sweet pepper and chicken fajita; beef and broccoli; and garlic turkey-broccoli. The key ingredients in most stir-fry's include peppers, onions, vegetables, herbs and whatever meat you desire. Of course, there are many other ingredients you can throw inside depending on what type of stir- fry you're going for. Whatever the case, it is quick and easy to make and the ingredients are affordable as well.

Rice

Rice is also another easy lunch option to throw together. Like stir-fry, you can also put different things inside. Some examples of rice lunch options include red beans and rice; sweet corn risotto; chicken tikka masala; tuna poke bowl; salmon egg fried rice; smoky spice jollof rice; jerk prawn and coconut rice; root vegetable rice; and steamed salmon and veg. Impressively, all of these rice dishes should take under an hour to whip up.

Burrito bowls

If you're a vegetarian, burrito bowls are a great lunch option but they also work well if you do eat meat. They're full of vegetables and things that will keep you energised and awake while you're at work. Some ideas of bowls you can try include spaghetti squash; chicken; cauliflower rice; kale and quinoa; sweet potato and black bean; grilled veggie vegan; paleo burrito bowls; spicy shrimp; as well as cauliflower rice and pinto bean vegan.

Salads

The green stuff is definitely the way to go if you're on the path to keeping healthy and fit. It can also be tons of fun coming up with unique and tasty salad combinations. The health benefits of having salads for lunch are numerous. One includes that they contain fiber which helps reduce constipation and lower cholesterol levels. You can make your salads with both fruits and vegetables which will help you get all of your recommended nutrients down in one go. If you include raw vegetables in your salad, you'll get a good amount of Vitamin C and E, which will increase your blood levels. Salad ideas include noodle salad; avocado salad; herb salad; champagne greens salad; Caesar salad; pasta Caprese salad; three-bean salad; crab salad; Greek rice salad; roast beef salad; and your traditional chicken salad. The internet has a plethora of ideas so you can take a few minutes to browse and find one that tickles your fancy. Most salad ingredients can be bought at your local supermarket. Making a salad will work out cheaper than buying a ready-made one. Getting the individual ingredients will enable you to make more than one salad which again gives you more for less.

Wraps

Wraps are quick to make and can be a pretty satisfying lunch option. There are many types of wraps you can make including an avocado BLT; roast beef and avocado; chicken Caesar; tangy veggie; spinach and feta; salmon and bacon; hummus and veggie; crispy fajita; Mexican quinoa; Caribbean wrap; and meatball lettuce. This should give you a wide variety of options so that lunch-time doesn't get boring. The primary benefits of wraps are that they're mess-free, can be healthy and they're easy to make.

Snacks

An important concept as snacking is an essential part of the day.

We aren't oblivious to the idea that your belly may rumble in-between meals. As a result, we've got you covered on snacks you can make at home, as well as ones you can buy. Ideas for snacks you can make at home in your free time include brownies; banana dog bites; energy bars made out of nuts, dates and dried fruit; spicy popcorn; coconut macaroons; baked almond butter banana and sweet potato chips. Perhaps try giving mozzarella sticks a try as well. They're easy to make and only require egg roll wrappers, string cheese, and egg.

Other snacks you can indulge in which may be healthier include fruits as well as vegetables. You can also consider mixed nuts, seeds, and crackers. These options will enable you to get your five a day in while staying full in-between meals.

If you must indulge in your chocolates and cakes, bear in mind that these snacks in excess aren't beneficial if you want to be highly productive at work. Although they provide you with quick energy boosts as they quickly release sugar and cause insulin spikes, they also tend to result in crashing lows.

If you're not up for making snacks and would rather stick to ready-made, remember to buy them in packs so you get more value for less. Visiting your supermarket every weekend to stock up on snacks for the week or month will save you time and money.

Look out for offers and coupons to take advantage of bargains. You can use apps, check online, or check newspapers to see what offers and deals are available every week.

Perhaps not the answer you were looking for but snacks are often the main culprit in missing your food goals be that to lose weight or eat clean. To save money and look great avoid the snacks!

Conclusion

Once you start making your packed lunches, we're convinced you'll be more sucked in by the benefits than put off by the inconvenience. Realistically, there will be days when you just can't be bothered, and that's okay too. Just try and ensure that every now and again doesn't turn into every day. Overspending on food is a real thing and it can most definitely lead a cash flow crisis.

There are tons of packed lunch ideas beyond the ones we've mentioned in this guide. Feel free to be as creative as you want and create a lunch you'll look forward to every day. Don't be hesitant about awaking your inner chef in order to save hundreds of pounds annually. What do you usually eat for lunch? Which of the ideas in this guide will you try? Feel free to share some of your lunch dishes with us! For more ideas check out this site.

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