As I’ve mentioned before, we’re officially in Money Saving Mode now that we’re building a new house. Eating out is where most of our money goes, by far… and even though cooking at home and bringing lunch to work is the obvious solution, it’s a hard habit to break! I’ve been looking to Pinterest (of course) for lunch ideas, but most of the pics and ideas are a bit too… Pinterest-y, if you know what I mean…. AKA I don’t have time for gourmet lunches with a ton of prep work or a thousand ingredients.
But still… I’m determined to change my eating and spending habits!
So here are Five Non-Sandwich, Super Easy, Healthy-Enough, (Lazy) Adult Lunch ideas that have been working for me lately:
1. Tortilla + Leftovers = Wrap.
Greens + Leftovers = Salad.
Some leftovers can be reheated and eaten the next day, no problem… but some leftovers require a little more creativity. Almost anything can be wrapped in a tortilla to become a taco/wrap, or added on top of greens to become a salad… especially if you don’t have a full meal or only a side dish leftover.
2. Hummus with dippables.
This is my favorite idea, because with a few minutes of prep work this meal can last a few days in the work fridge so I don’t even have to remember to bring home my lunch box at the end of the day. I throw in a bunch of baggies full of dippables, and I’m good to go (bonus points for no-need-to-slice items like carrot sticks). This could work with any dip, but I like hummus because it actually makes me feel full by the end of the meal.
A few of my favorite dippables:
- carrot sticks
- Kalamata olives
- pita bread
- tortilla chips
3. Burrito Bowls.
This is another good one for leftovers, and it’s endlessly adaptable. All you need is a bowl and a bed of rice, then add whatever else you have on hand that could go into a burrito…
- leftover ground beef, chicken or fish
- black beans
- sour cream
- tortilla chips
- shredded cheese
Every couple of months, I make a big batch of soup (my favorites are Sour Cream Potato Chowder, Mama’s Chicken and Rice Soup, and Vegetable Chowder) and freeze about 6-10 individual portions in small tupperware containers. I eat these for dinner a lot, but it’s just as easy to bring for lunch and heat up in the microwave (most of the soup should be thawed by the time you eat lunch, but make sure you transfer to a bowl first so you don’t ruin the plastic containers). Bonus points if I remember to bring a couple slices of good bread or crackers!
5. Homemade Lunchables.
This idea comes from the Kids-Only section of the grocery store: Lunchables. It’s also super easy to make an adult version with better ingredients. Slices of quality ham and fancy cheese are just as fun to layer on top of crackers these days. Pop a Capri Sun in your lunch box if you’re really feeling nostalgic!
Take a look at my friend Lesley’s Adult-Friendly lunchable… yum!
After a month or so of eating in most nights of the week and bringing my lunch to work more often, we’re on the right track… let me know if you have any other frugal tips!