I know that some people can struggle with lunches, so I thought I’d share some frugal and healthy options for lunch today.
Hummous/bean pate with a bread product and a piece of fruit/veg
This is more of a template than a recipe, but is a great way to turn half a tin of beans (or some dried ones, which are even cheaper!) into lunch. The top picture is hummus (homemade is much cheaper and nicer) with toasted pitta breads and pieces of pineapple. The bottom one is butter bean, rosemary and lemon pâté with crackers and apple slices. You can replace the crackers/pittas with any bread product you have needing used up (such as crusty bread, toast or rice cakes) and have any raw sliced fruit or veg on the side (carrot sticks are a particular favourite of mine).
To make hummus, grind chickpeas in a food processor with lemon juice, crushed garlic, salt, olive oil and tahini (I use peanut butter which is much cheaper and just as nice). The quantities depend on your taste – I like mine much more garlicky and oily than shop bought and use two cloves of garlic, half a lemon and a half teaspoon of peanut butter to a can of chickpeas. Best to add a little oil and salt at a time then add more as you need it!
Soup and home made bread
This is what I have almost every weekday at work (pictured is carrot, lentil and ginger, a favourite of mine!). I make big batches at the weekend (don’t be afraid to experiment, you can make soup out of almost any veg!) and freeze in individual tubs. I also make homemade brown bread almost every week, slice and freeze in food bags with two slices in each. Makes life easy in the morning and is generally super cheap.
At the weekends, or if I discover at the last minute there’s no soup left, I’ll often make a quick salad with whatever’s in. The trick to making it satisfying is too add at least one protein or carby ingredient to fill you up, and you can also have some crusty bread or oatcakes on the side if necessary. I find it a particularly good way to use up odds of cheese, or you could make a pasta/couscous salad if you need something extra filling.
The top picture is goats cheese and roasted peppers & onions layered on top of spinach leaves and dressed with a squeeze of lemon. The bottom is a salad I made in a tub to eat on the bus because I was running late one day and didn’t want to buy lunch out! It used up the end of some value feta, the last artichokes from a jar, a squishy tomato, some sundried tomatoes and pine nuts, and spinach leaves. Again dressed with oil (from the tomato jar) and lemon juice.
I love leftovers for lunch! (Well, as long as I liked the original meal). Usually I have them with bread at work, instead of the original potatoes/rice/whatever, and this is a great way to use up little bits that aren’t enough for a full meal. For example, last week I had spag bol sauce in a sandwich – lovely if messy! Another day I had a leftover chimichanga with a banana, as pictured.
Hope these ideas are able to help some people – do you have any tips for keeping lunch healthy but affordable?
Grocery Spending (new total £135.75)
Savers cocoa pops - 83p Savers mayonnaise - 45p Savers washing up liquid - 35p