Millions of Brits eat the same lunch every day because of lack of inspiration, convenience and cost according to a recent study, and it’s probably the same for us Kiwis. Few would argue with the more than 80% of people in the study admitting, ‘lunch is boring’1 - but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Lunches can also cost us because we end up opting to ‘buy’ lunch at least two days out of every five2 because we need variety. Just $10 on lunch may not seem like much, but in a working year of 249 days3, buying lunch two or three times a week can add up to nearly $1,000 a year.
Try these 7 top tips for cheap and healthy work lunches
1. Make pre-prepared salads
Most of us avoid batch making salads because we don’t want limp looking food, but salads like quinoa salad, Israeli couscous salad and Moroccan carrot salad – keep very nicely. Avoid dressing the salad until eating day. Add the previous night’s roast chicken, potatoes or other leftovers and you’re all set.
2. Sandwiches don’t have to be boring
Use ingredients from last night’s dinner in innovative ways to bring new life to those two slices of bread. For example, anytime you have spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, try layering up a French baguette with meatballs on sauce.
3. Tasty frittatas from left over meals
Left-over meals and food from the pantry can also be used as ingredients in a delicious frittata lunch (an Italian egg dish like an omelette).
4. Cook lunch in big batches and freeze left overs
Choose some exciting recipes e.g. casseroles, lasagne, and meatloaf; and cook yourself a couple of weeks of nutrition, variety and convenience. Freeze in lunch sized portions.
5. Use your own veggie patch to pump up the flavour
The difference a pinch of herbs can make is amazing, and your own vegetables are tastier and can lower your grocery bills - potentially by hundreds of dollars a year.
6. Do a stock take of your fridge, pantry and cupboards
What needs using up? Leftover cereals for example, can be used to make Leftover Cereal Slice.
7. Inspire your lunches with dry foods
Nuts, seeds, nut butters, grains, beans and even dried fruit can add a tasty and nutritious twist to your salads, pre-prepared meals and even your baked goods (like the Leftover Cereal Slice).
If that isn’t enough to persuade you, perhaps you love the planet more than your palate or purse. The average Kiwi throws out more than $500 in waste food every year, but you can reverse the waste and contribute to sustainability by turning your leftovers into delicious and nutritious lunches.
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1 New Covent Garden Soup study, February 2017 http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/15088422.Revealed__Millions_of_office_workers_have_same_meal_every_day___are_you_in_80_per_cent_bored_by_lunch_/
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