Developing a budget is the number one way to keep your finances on track, and to ensure that you live within your means. However, it isn't enough to establish a budget -- you need to stick with your budget. And unfortunately, simple everyday purchases, such as lunch food, can blow your budget.
You have to eat during the work day, and if you have a hard time getting out the door each morning, it might be easier to eat out with your coworkers. This might not be an issue if you have plenty of disposable income. But if you're trying to save money, or if you simply don't have a lot of extra cash, it's possible to eat nutritious lunches for about $25 a week.
#1. Skip fast food
It's convenient, fast and tasty; but it's not healthy, and it isn't always cheap. If you're trying to stick with a $25 weekly lunch budget, eating out every day is one of the fastest ways to overspend. And even if you can manage to spend just $5 a day, the foods you choose at restaurants may not be the healthiest. Therefore, to each nutritiously and stay in budget, you need to prepare your own lunches at home.
#2. Load up on fresh fruits and veggies
Fresh fruit and veggies for lunch are not only satisfying, but extremely healthy and reduce your daily calorie consumption. And with so many available options, you can have a different selection for lunch each day. You'll pay on average about $0.50 (or less) to $1.00 per item, depending on whether you purchase organic or non-organic. Thus, you can load up on apples, bananas, oranges, grapes, kiwi and peaches without putting a serious dent in your weekly lunch budget.
Also, fill your cart with vegetables for delicious salads during the week, or purchase raw broccoli and carrots, along with vegetable dip. For a more filling meal, boil or bake a few pieces of chicken and add chunks to your salad. You can purchase a small package of meat for the entire week for about $4 or $5.
#3. Avoid processed foods
Processed or pre-packed lunch meals, such as microwaveable soups or dinners, are also convenient. However, you'll pay for this convenience. These options can work if you prefer a hot meal. However, don't make a habit of eating these items on a daily basis. You'll not only risk exceeding your weekly budget, but these items aren't exactly nutritious. Although there's a low calorie count, these meals are full of sodium.
#4. Choose healthy snacks
Rather than purchase individual cracker or chip bags, which can cost as much as $1 per bag, buy your lunch snacks in bulk to save and stay within your weekly budget. For about $3, you can purchase a box of wheat crackers or another low-calorie cracker, or baked chips. This single bag or box can provide snacks for an entire week. In addition, you might purchase a can of nuts, which are healthy fats, for about $5. Include a half cup of nuts (almonds, peanuts, cashews, etc.) with your daily lunch for a filling, low-cost addition.
Eating healthy doesn't have to break the bank. In many cases, it's all about choosing the right foods, and only buying what you need. Here are some healthy recipes for you to try out which should keep you within budget!
How do you eat nutritiously on a small budget?
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