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What’s for lunch? Cost-effective lunches for the office or WFH

By Paperstone on April 2, 2024 in Uncategorized

Need some lunch inspiration? Feeling the pinch on your bank account, and your time?

Many of us are feeling the pressure of the cost-of-living crisis. Rising prices seem to be affecting everything, from groceries to energy. People are left looking for ways to cut back on expenses wherever possible.

One expense that can quickly add up is lunch for work. Whether you’re working from home or heading into the office, the expense of daily lunches can take a toll on your budget, especially if you go out to buy lunch every day.

However, with a bit of planning and creativity, it’s possible to enjoy delicious and nutritious lunches without breaking the bank. Here are some tips…

Take time to plan your lunch

Plate that says 'meal plan' on it

At the beginning of each week (perhaps a Sunday evening) plan out your lunches. Consider making larger batches of meals that can be portioned out and enjoyed throughout the week. This not only saves money but also time during busy workdays. Keep a journal of recipe ideas to further help save time.

Think bigger quantities and longer shelf-life

Look for items like rice, beans, pasta, and canned goods that have a long shelf life and can be used in a variety of recipes. Here’s some recipe inspo.

Embrace leftovers for lunch

Leftovers are your best friend when it comes to saving money on lunches. Instead of letting leftover dinner go to waste, re-purpose it into a delicious lunch for the next day. Get creative with how you use leftovers – think stir-fries, salads, wraps, or grain bowls. More leftover inspo here.

Stir fry and green beans

DIY snack foods

Skip the expensive pre-packaged snack foods and opt for DIY versions instead. Make your own trail mix, energy bars, granola bars or yogurt pots at a fraction of the cost. Not only will this save you money, but it also allows you to customise your snacks to suit your taste preferences and dietary needs.

Make the most of seasonal produce

Seasonal fruits and vegetables are not only fresher and tastier but also more affordable. Visit your local fruit & veg shop or supermarket to see what’s in season and build your lunches around these ingredients. Incorporate them into salads, sandwiches, or as side dishes to stretch your budget further.

Flexibility for when time is lacking

Keep a well-stocked pantry and freezer so that you always have options on hand, even if you haven’t had time to get to the shops. Having a few go-to pantry meals, like canned soup or frozen burritos, can be a lifesaver on busy days when you don’t have time to cook from scratch. We loved this from Tesco, 9 store cupboard ingredients and how to use them. And this from BBC Good Food.

Invest in re-usable lunch containers

Re-usable containers for lunch

Investing in high-quality, re-usable containers can save you money in the long run. Instead of constantly buying disposable bags and containers, opt for durable options that can be used repeatedly. Not only is this better for the environment, but it also saves you from constantly having to replenish your supply of lunch containers.

While the cost of living crisis may have our pennies pinched, there are plenty of ways to make your work lunches more cost-effective. With a bit of creativity and forward-thinking, you can navigate these uncertain times while still enjoying satisfying meals throughout your workday.


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