How I do my lunches

I’ve brown bagged my lunch for a while now.  Once in a great while I will go out and have a quick bite to eat but that is out of personal money or I’m treated (and I treat back with my personal money or at least I will be).  It’s not out the budget money and it’s not putting me farther into debt but normally I go and work out on my lunch.  I typically will eat my lunch after that workout.

So, in order to make sure that I will not buy lunch, I try to keep my ideas healthy, easy and different.  I do have some standard; I bought this on sale and have to heat it in a microwave for 90 seconds pasta type things.  But typically I make my lunch through leftovers or when I was grocery shopping, came up with some ideas for the week.  I’m not a huge fan of the premade pastas but they are good in a pinch.

Leftovers.  When we first moved into our rental, we bought a pack of Tupperware that comes in a multitude of sizes.   I was already in the process of not eating all of my dinner because of working out and I actually enjoy most food the second or third day after. So whatever I eat the night before, be it at home or at a restaurant, gets halved and put into one of the containers.  I put everything in a pile in the fridge and grab it in the morning. My dinners usually consist of a protein and a starch/veggie.  I also do salads a lot.

Grocery Shopping Ideas. Just the other day, I made some homemade bruschetta and packed that with some triscuits, leftover ham and some delicious cheese.  This was all stuff that I had at home because when I went shopping, I tried to think of some good lunch ideas that weren’t leftovers.  We don’t always have ‘big’ meals—sometimes we’ll have a chicken salad or just some hot dogs.  On those days I try to make sure I’ll have something for lunch or I’m stuck grabbing those pasta things.   Again, this is made the night before and put into a pile in the fridge for easy grabbing in the morning.  Other times, I’ll go with a quickly made sandwich that morning.

For my work snacks, that’s extremely easy as I have the same basic things every time.  I usually have a piece of fruit and some type of veggie thing.  I love to eat the fruit right after I work out because it gives me some energy but isn’t too heavy for my stomach.  The veggies (salad, cucumber slices, tomato slices, etc) are usually eaten with whatever leftovers I had for the night before or are my side item if I make a sandwich.

Using the above ideas, I don’t waste food and I don’t feel like I “need” to buy my lunch.   Most of them are pretty cheap as they are leftover dinner.  This way I’m not throwing out leftovers and wasting money that way.  And they are lot more healthy than going to the fast food place down the way or the vending machine.  Cheaper too!


31 Comments on “How I do my lunches”

  1. Modest Money says:

    My favorite lunches are usually leftovers too. Sometimes a meal is even better the next day. I can’t say I’m really a fan of those microwave pasta dishes either. I still buy a few of them if it’s a good sale, but they’re just not very satisfying. For me I really need to keep my lunches varied and interesting to avoid the temptation of buying some fastfood. It’s when I’ve had a few days of the same boring sandwich that that burger and fries starts calling my name.

    • bogofdebt says:

      I agree. Like I was telling you before, I’d “pack my lunch” but end up throwing it out because I wanted something different from the fast food place. I also really enjoy making my own lunchables. (Or variations of them) I maybe do a sandwich once a week because I can get sick of them really fast.

  2. Daisy says:

    I looooove leftovers for lunch. Lately, in an effort to lose a few more pounds, I have been eating salads for lunch which aren’t overly satisfying but they are healthy and low calorie, which is good. They are also easy, since I just chop up a cucumber, a pepper, and a tomato all at once and then grab some spinach and feta and then keep it all in different containers at work.

    • bogofdebt says:

      Mmm feta cheese is yummy. I need to buy some for my salad’s now! What I found works the best for me that’s mostly low calorie, is a big salad with lots of veggies and a half of a sandwich.

  3. Alice says:

    I take my lunch to work, too. Hubby does most of the cooking and he hasn’t mastered the art of only cooking for two. We have lots of leftovers. Monday of this week he made a baked ham, squash casserole and herbed potatoes. We had that for supper that night and I’ve brought leftovers for lunch everyday and we also had it for supper again last night. There will probably still be enough ham left for a couple of days worth of sandwiches.

    A couple of weeks ago we had a hamburger/pasta dish with lots of leftovers. I put a lunch portion of it in a container and froze it so I have something to grab if I don’t have anything else to bring with me.

    • bogofdebt says:

      The last time I made a ham, we cut it up and froze it. That way we could bring it out a little at a time and not get all hammed out. Not sure if that would work for you?

  4. ugh..i hate packing lunches. i usually pack yogurt and fruit. I try to do leftovers but the kids and hubby usually get those first. Salads are good too since there are so many ways to make it different everyday. I like to buy the spring salad mix and then toss in whatever meat or additions. very easy.
    As much as i dislike packing lunches, i dislike paying for lunch even more, so that keeps me going.

    • bogofdebt says:

      I have a day to eat them or my guy will eat them. But we’ve really mastered cooking for two so we dont’ get too many leftovers from the meal as a whole unless it’s spaghetti. So I get a little leeway as they are litterally my leftovers! I love doing spring mix with chicken. Tastes so yummy!

  5. I love leftovers for lunch! Usually I will do that, or I will make a sandwich or salad. Very quick and easy, and at work I don’t usually eat heavy meals (I don’t want to fall asleep!).

    I have Lean Cuisines for when I have no time to make anything. Also I have some snacks like crackers and goldfish at my desk. For breakfast I always have greek yogurt with honey and fruit. And I have a bag of almonds always ready for snack attacks!

    • bogofdebt says:

      Oh I hear you about the no heavy meals at work. I’ll try to avoid my heavier leftovers because I have gotten really sleepy at work after eating one of those type of leftovers. Almonds make great snacks in my mind. They are yummy and healthy! I haven’t tried greek yogurt yet. I need to but I got yogurted out and haven’t felt like buying any more.

  6. DebtsnTaxes says:

    I really don’t have a choice in lunch options at work. I either pack a lunch or eat the crappy unhealthy food that they provide. I would rather pack a lunch anyways. The wife is an awesome cook and I don’t mind eating what she makes.

    • bogofdebt says:

      It’s always great when you have an awesome cook–I love when my guy makes chicken wings at home. I always try to have left overs but it never works….I eat them the night before. It’s one of those times that I really can’t make myself have leftovers.

  7. Michelle says:

    I almost ALWAYS bring my food. Such a great and easy way to save money. I’ll make a good sandwich or bring leftovers.

    • bogofdebt says:

      I always love when people at work comment on how my lunches look better than theirs. My reply I want to make is “mine is cooked from home, your’s is from xx fast food place, so it’s not loaded down with grease!”

  8. I bring my lunch every day. I go through waves of eating the same thing always. Right now I bring to work tuna+avocado+mayo (not as gross as it sounds, at least not to me!) and either split pea and ham soup or pork sausage chili, both made in big batches in our slow cooker. I can make 8-10 servings at once, package them up, and eat them over 1-2 weeks – very easy! If I’m going to be at work for dinner as well I’ll also bring berries, oatmeal and peanut butter, and pulled pork. So I don’t eat leftovers for lunch but I don’t rely on the sandwich and fruit model either (as my husband does). I use up a LOT of containers though so we have to run our dishwasher fairly frequently!

    • bogofdebt says:

      Actually that tuna mix sounds absolutly yummy. I love avocado–it tastes great everywhere! I do my eating the same stuff for breakfast in waves. Right now I’m on a cereal or peanut butter (crunchy only please 🙂 ) toast kick but before that I ate oatmeal for about a year straight.

  9. I love leftovers as well. It’s so much cheaper and healthier.

    • bogofdebt says:

      They are–I used to work at a fast food place and no one would believe me until I did the math for them on how even though we got a discount, it was still cheaper to make my own food. Granted if it was free, I still wouldn’t have eaten there everyday brcause one can only take so much grease.

  10. I have been making my lunch for work ever since I started working and don’t plan to stop any time soon. I did a lunch and coffee comparison post on my blog and the numbers will shock anyone. I like hot lunches so I make sure I always have a hot lunch ready to go. Great Post. Cheers Mr.CBB

    • bogofdebt says:

      I did the comparison for a co-worker when I worked at a convenience store once. We received a discount so they thought it was better to buy their lunches through work. I showed them how I barely paid a dollar for my lunch while they were paying 4 or 5.

  11. Your lunches sound a lot like mine. Leftovers are fantastic, as is grilling an extra chicken breast and making salad with grilled chicken on it. I don’t eat lot of sandwiches (trying to avoid bread), but between salads and leftovers, I’m usually good all week.

    • bogofdebt says:

      I’ll do that on occasion too-I’ll make an extra bit of protein to top off a salad. Grilled chicken salad with some minute amount of Italian Dressing is yummy

  12. […] first home. I need to tuck this knowledge away for my future first-sale. Bog Of Debt talks about How I do my lunches. Great tips for those of us who spend far too much on daily […]

  13. Sounds like you’re working your way into doing much the same as I do… long as I have great food options to bring with me for lunch, I have no urge to buy one. I have really come to like bringing a lunch for the simple fact that it saves time. If I eat at my desk, it takes 15 minutes and I can eat while I continue working. If I go out and buy a lunch, it’s a lost 30-45 minutes. Hurray for getting done with work earlier!

    • bogofdebt says:

      I don’t get my work done earlier really but I do get my workout done earlier! That’s what I do on my lunch breaks 🙂 But on days I skip lunch, its so nice to go pop it into the microwave and continue working while I eat. That helps when I’m in the middle of a report that I can’t just quit to go grab some lunch from a fast food place.

  14. When I was working full-time, my biggest vice was NOT brown-bagging it. I absolutely LOVE the idea of leftovers for lunch…save on time, money, and food waste!!!

    • bogofdebt says:

      When I first moved out here and was working at a call center, it was easy to get talked into buying my lunch. I’m really glad that I’ve gone back to brown bagging it.

  15. What a great money saving meal idea. I am fond of kitchen TV shows that provide good cooking suggestions on how to modify leftovers into another dish. That’s something I prefer when I’m not very interested repeating leftovers. This is also helpful when you have kids around.

    • bogofdebt says:

      Oh repeating leftovers can get old but if I change it just a bit I find it great! The ham that I cooked, I did some sandwiches, some scalloped potatoes with ham and fried ham. All great and quick! Really changed the flavor of the ham so I wasn’t getting sick of eating it.

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