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Cheap and easy lunch ideas

misskaybmisskayb Posts: 18Member Member Posts: 18Member Member
in Recipes
Hi all!
I am looking for packed lunch ideas. Something simple, healthy and low cal, i can make in minimal time, the night before or in the morning.

TIA! :)
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Replies

  • MiilindaMiilinda Posts: 1Member, Premium Member Posts: 1Member, Premium Member
    I just discovered this brand called evol, they have gourmet, healthy, microwave foods....seriously the best I've had. My favorite is the truffle mac n cheese.
    http://www.evolfoods.com/our-food
  • Sunna_WSunna_W Posts: 24Member, Premium Member Posts: 24Member, Premium Member
    Make lunch for the week and store in three 1 qt. Mason jars. If you have a food processor or blender you can make these three things in about 40 minutes. I store each meal component separately then take out what I need the night before and weigh it / put it in a 16 oz. Mason jar for transport to work. As I am prepping, I weigh each ingredient to get calories / carbs before I process them; as well as when I put each prepared dish into its 1 qt. Mason jar (then divide by 5 for daily amount). Meal Component 1: (Hard Veggies processed together in Food Processor / Blender). 10 carrots, 10 celery, 1 raw onion, some garlic cloves, 1 teasp. good sea salt, juice of 1 lemon, 2 tbsp. good olive oil, 1 bunch curly parsley (or cilantro), or curly kale. Sometimes I add smoked paprika, red pepper, or an avocado. Pulse these until chopped to your liking and then put into 1st of the 1 qt. Mason jars. Meal Component 2: Separately slow cook over 1 pound of sliced mushrooms (I vary the flavor by picking a different variety of mushroom) in a tiny bit of olive oil with some salt and pepper. When they are cooked I add the juice of one lemon. I weigh them / divide by 5 and this also goes into the 2nd of the 1 qt. Mason jar. (These get combined into 1 of 2 16 oz. Major Jar for transport to work). They actually taste pretty great together. My protein is via 160 grams of whole milk Greek yogurt topped by homemade tazkiki style cucumbers (which I also keep separate and add the night before to my yogurt). For Meal Component 3: Slice the cucumbers really thin in the food processor and put them in a 1 qt Mason jar with garlic, chopped dill, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and a splash of olive oil. Shake the jar to combine and separate the cucumbers. (These get combined into 2 of 2 16 oz. Major Jar for transport to work). Both of these jars together work out to between 325 and 400 calories depending on if you add other things like sweet peppers, eggplant, tomatoes. It’s a good dose of raw veggies, healthy fat and dairy that will get up sated / full for hours. Just make sure you invest in some really good breath mints!
  • ANewCrystal4LifeANewCrystal4Life Posts: 121Member Member Posts: 121Member Member
    I meal prep one big thing for the entire week or two smaller dishes for the week.

    Today I threw some chicken breasts in the crockpot and covered with salsa. Cooked all day and shredded them. I'm eating a bowl of this chicken topped with some peppers and onions I steamed in chicken broth and will top with 28 grams of cheese. All are in my fridge ready to go. Healthy and delicious!

    The prep for more extravagant stuff takes a bit longer, but once it is all portioned out, you don't have to do anything but nuke it!

    Sounds delicious. Will have to try this.


    I do something like this.... Chicken in crock pot with onion and green pepper, taco seasoning then after cooked added some Rotel, and a little cream cheese and mixed it all together. going to eat it on a "cheese taco shell" I made enough for 3 days.

  • sisterlilbunnysisterlilbunny Posts: 610Member Member Posts: 610Member Member
    Yup chicken and rotell make for a great week! I shred it and add cheese as well LOL. Looks like we're all on board with a great idea. ;)

    I'm also a huge fan of the tuna pouches. They work great on salads or as a sandwich and don't take a up a ton of space.
  • bugsy380bugsy380 Posts: 6Member Member Posts: 6Member Member
    Your could always use leftovers from the night before
  • jgnatcajgnatca Posts: 10,386Member Member Posts: 10,386Member Member
    A pack of tortilla wraps and leftovers. You can add cheese or mustard to the leftovers to make them more appealing.

    Potential leftovers:
    Shepherds pie
    Chilli
    Refried beans
    Chicken breast
    Shaved ham and mustard
    Creamed Chicken and rice

    Chilli and stew tastes better the second day
  • DandelieDandelie Posts: 133Member Member Posts: 133Member Member
    15 minutes = quinoa boiled and ready to eat. It tastes great hot or cold.
    25 minutes = chicken breasts sliced in half and baked with seasoning. Great hot or cold.

    Prep veggies/fruits in advance.

    If you have a crock pot, there are tons of recipes. Whole chicken. Pork roasts. Beef roasts. Baked potatoes. Soups. Chili. A lot can be made. I personally love putting a pork roast in the crock pot and just letting it go. It turns so tender and delicious. I serve it over rice with steamed broccoli or something.
  • AfuraAfura Posts: 1,753Member Member Posts: 1,753Member Member
    I meal prep one day on the weekend for my lunches, as I find that if I wait till the night before it likely won't get done. Big batch of meat (pulled chicken, ground beef, etc) serves for a great base for a lot of things you can just throw together real quick by adding vegetables, or sauces (spaghetti, bbq, chiles, etc).
  • WadeeeeWadeeee Posts: 51Member Member Posts: 51Member Member
    I meal prep one big thing for the entire week or two smaller dishes for the week.

    Today I threw some chicken breasts in the crockpot and covered with salsa. Cooked all day and shredded them. I'm eating a bowl of this chicken topped with some peppers and onions I steamed in chicken broth and will top with 28 grams of cheese. All are in my fridge ready to go. Healthy and delicious!

    The prep for more extravagant stuff takes a bit longer, but once it is all portioned out, you don't have to do anything but nuke it!

    Salsa chicken is one of my go-to foods. So easy and amazingly delish. Sometimes I'll sprinkle in some fajita seasoning, corn and black beans to make it more filling. :)
  • WadeeeeWadeeee Posts: 51Member Member Posts: 51Member Member
    My favorite sandwich: 2 slices of 35 Cal bread; 1 piece of ultra thin Sargento cheese (40 cal); sliced dill pickle, sliced onions, sliced avocado, sliced tomato; sliced jalapenos; light mayo and mustard - SOO delicious and filling :) I also boil eggs on Sunday for breakfast or to add to my salad. I grill chicken on Sunday too and measure out 2 oz containers to make chicken salad sandwich or on my salad. When I go to the store, I cut all my fruits and veggies and measure them into snack bags - so it's literally just grab and go :) it takes time - but better than spending 30 min in the morning packing breakfast and lunch.

    The veggie sandwich sounds delicious. Will have to try something similar!
  • kelisueraykelisueray Posts: 47Member Member Posts: 47Member Member
    I prep on sundays for my lunches at work. I put everything on one big cookie sheet (except for the corn and black beans) and bake together. They consist usually of:

    2 - 3lb chicken tenderloins
    1 bag of frozen sweet corn
    1 can of black beans
    1 large package of mushrooms
    1 onion
    1 package broccoli

    It equals about 400 cal per serving. I just portion everything out into 5 tupperware containers and I'm set for the week.

    I also enter it in as a recipe/meal and set as 5 servings and then log it each day. I know, I know... next week I'll make sure to weigh it all out instead of using the "container" measurement

    16hbszczh9su.jpg
    edited February 17
  • ritzvinritzvin Posts: 383Member Member Posts: 383Member Member
    I second the rotisserie chicken.
    Carving off the legs, thighs, and breast meat gives me ~7 servings (I'm small, someone larger will want to use larger portion)(throw in freezer containers with a side of veggies and maybe rice/potatoes/corn), + Picking the rest of meat (every last bit) off the bones gives me a pile of chicken to add to a batch of soup or stir-fried rice/beans/veggies + if you feel so inclined, you have the bones left for soup stock.
    jkfimqqv6x5k.jpg


  • jruck371jruck371 Posts: 16Member Member Posts: 16Member Member
    crazyravr wrote: »
    Ok... I have posted this so many times that it should be a sticky by now lol ;)
    Go to your fav supermarket.
    Buy: Rotiserrie chicken + bag of rice of choice + big tub of mixed salad.
    Come home: divide the chicken into 5 (days) + cook rice and portion into 5 servings + split salad into 5 (days)
    Pack and store in the fridge. Add avocado, tomato or anything else you like to the salad with your fav dressing.

    I've thought about doing this before.. but I'm just wondering how you track it in MFP?
    Chickens have white and dark meat with different calories.. not to mention the skin!!

    What do you do?
    edited February 17
  • ritzvinritzvin Posts: 383Member Member Posts: 383Member Member
    jruck371 wrote: »
    crazyravr wrote: »
    Ok... I have posted this so many times that it should be a sticky by now lol ;)
    Go to your fav supermarket.
    Buy: Rotiserrie chicken + bag of rice of choice + big tub of mixed salad.
    Come home: divide the chicken into 5 (days) + cook rice and portion into 5 servings + split salad into 5 (days)
    Pack and store in the fridge. Add avocado, tomato or anything else you like to the salad with your fav dressing.

    I've thought about doing this before.. but I'm just wondering how you track it as the chickens tend to have white and dark meat... do you take off the skin as well?

    I just log the weight...I don't bother to differentiate - I figure it evens out in the long run since I eventually eat the whole thing. I don't remove the skin unless I'm using the entire thing in something where the skin texture would be an issue (large skin pieces would be soggy and weird in re-heated rice; would probably float to the top of soup in an oily glob). I typically cut off a few of the prime tasty-skinned pieces to eat as is with a few sides, and everything else goes into a recipe.
    edited February 17
  • ritzvinritzvin Posts: 383Member Member Posts: 383Member Member
    jruck371 wrote: »

    I've thought about doing this before.. but I'm just wondering how you track it in MFP?
    Chickens have white and dark meat with different calories.. not to mention the skin!!

    What do you do?

    I also should note- if eating pieces as is (instead of in a recipe), removing the skin before re-heating in microwave would be a bad idea unless you want chicken jerky.
  • deneenaedeneenae Posts: 95Member Member Posts: 95Member Member
    I keep an assortment of chopped veggies and fruit for snack and salads: Diced tomatoes, shredded cheese, washed grapes, salad mix, olives, avocado. Also, I freeze 3oz portions of chicken and 1/2 cup portions of a cooked grain like quinoa or rice and 1/2 cup portions of beans to throw in my salad for some carbs.

    Once everything is prepped, it's really easy to just throw together the night before or the morning of. I also have this inforgraphic on my fridge to "inspire" me.

    194tb1kpevle.jpg


  • jennybearlvjennybearlv Posts: 588Member Member Posts: 588Member Member
    I love soup for lunch. Make a big pot for dinner a couple nights a week and have the leftovers for lunch. You can even portion it out into containers as you are putting it away. Prepping everything the night before then cooking it in a crockpot while at work is a time saver. When slow cooking you can use cheaper, less tender cuts of meat and dried beans and grains to save some cash.
  • Pooshka2Pooshka2 Posts: 129Member Member Posts: 129Member Member
    bugsy380 wrote: »
    Your could always use leftovers from the night before

    That's what I do! My recipes generally serve four. I have one serving for dinner, my son has two servings, and the fourth is next day's lunch.
  • l911jntl911jnt Posts: 115Member Member Posts: 115Member Member
    I usually do tilapia or grilled/rotisserie chicken for my meat and green beans, cabbage, cauliflower or squash for my veggie for lunch. I do them all in the oven or on my george foreman grill at once mostly.
    edited February 19
  • rugratz2015rugratz2015 Posts: 411Member Member Posts: 411Member Member
    crazyravr wrote: »
    Ok... I have posted this so many times that it should be a sticky by now lol ;)
    Go to your fav supermarket.
    Buy: Rotiserrie chicken + bag of rice of choice + big tub of mixed salad..

    I can't comment from all stores but some of my local shops have been know to inject and pour over fat to keep the chickens moist, so you may want to check if this is done, or you're talking crazy calories.

    Personally, I prefer to buy small chicken breaststroke and roast them myself.

    But I agree with the main comments about prepping in advance and using left over food.

  • MegaTunez11MegaTunez11 Posts: 12Member Member Posts: 12Member Member
    Tacos- Chicken, black beans, onions, lettuce or buy some fresh lean beef and slice it thin.. mix them to.. very quick lunches.. Your welcome :)
  • crazyravrcrazyravr Posts: 1,706Member Member Posts: 1,706Member Member
    crazyravr wrote: »
    Ok... I have posted this so many times that it should be a sticky by now lol ;)
    Go to your fav supermarket.
    Buy: Rotiserrie chicken + bag of rice of choice + big tub of mixed salad..

    I can't comment from all stores but some of my local shops have been know to inject and pour over fat to keep the chickens moist, so you may want to check if this is done, or you're talking crazy calories.

    Personally, I prefer to buy small chicken breaststroke and roast them myself.

    But I agree with the main comments about prepping in advance and using left over food.

    No its not fat. Its the juices that come out of every single chicken that came of off rotiserrie and is sitting down on a dish, plate or in a box. Now whether your chickens get injected with salt solutions, well ask the store manager or the cooks at the counter. Read the labels.
  • fishcat123fishcat123 Posts: 59Member Member Posts: 59Member Member
    Fruit and yogurt is my staple, quick and easy! I usually do 4 or 8 oz of full fat yogurt, half a banana, and about a cup of melon, berries, and or citrus.
  • RaeBeeBabyRaeBeeBaby Posts: 2,816Member Member Posts: 2,816Member Member
    I'm in the meal prep on Sunday crowd. I do a lot of big salads, rice and veggie bowls and tacos.

    Protein - usually in the crock pot (chicken breasts, beef or pork roast) or sometimes a big pot of chili. Or roast a whole chicken in the oven, which I like better than crock pot for the whole bird.
    Grain - quinoa, rice, polenta, millet or a combo.
    Veggies - lots of greens and assortment of whatever is on sale. Chop or slice to your liking and put in containers or zip-locs.

    For a meal just throw a combo all together in a bowl and add some dressing, yogurt or salsa or eat in a taco. Lots of variety. I often heat the meat and grain together and just add to the veggies. I like the hot/cold temperatures together.

    ETA: I do like the rotisserie chickens, but also have some concerns about whatever is injected in them to make them so juicy and delicious. If I roast a chicken myself it still turns out nice and juicy but I know what's been added. After I pick the bird clean, then I make chicken bone broth with the bones. I save the broth for myself, blend the bones into a paste and save for my dogs.
    edited February 23
  • TheCupcakeCounterTheCupcakeCounter Posts: 44Member Member Posts: 44Member Member
    I like 1 slice of toasted Ezekiel bread (personal fave is the cinnamon raisin since it has some sweetness to it which helps my cravings) with natural peanut butter, carrots dipped in hummus, and a baby bell cheese round.
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