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Lunch Planning

Are you guilty of always eating out for lunch? Do you wish you were the person that packs lunches for you and your family, but don’t know where to start? Let’s break down how you could save possibly thousands of dollars a year by making variations of these three simple meals! 

The average American household spends almost $3,000 a year eating out at restaurants. If you go out for lunch Monday through Friday, you’re likely spending around $50 a week on lunch alone! Restaurants turn meals that cost $5 at home into $15 meals.  

Let’s go over some recipes that can help you save in the long run! 


1) Wraps

A wrap is one of the easiest lunches to pack, as it is both versatile and inexpensive to make. You can create a wrap out of almost anything, but a good formula to follow is a protein, two to three vegetables, and a dressing or spread of some kind. Usually, a wrap is made with a tortilla, but you could even use large lettuce leaves to make a lettuce wrap instead. Best of all, you can use whatever you have left in the fridge and pantry to make these. It is very rare that you’d have to buy all new ingredients to create one.  Here are just a few examples of what could be in a wrap, but the possibilities are endless! 

Turkey + bell peppers + tomatoes + lettuce + hummus 

Chicken + shredded carrots + tomatoes + lettuce + avocado dressing 

Chickpeas + cucumbers + sun-dried tomatoes + lettuce + Greek dressing 


2) Bowls

Bowls are just as versatile and cheap as wraps, and they don’t even need a tortilla or lettuce leaf to be wrapped in! Sometimes referred to as power bowls or burrito bowls, a bowl is simply a combination of a grain, a protein and vegetables eaten in, you guessed it… a bowl! This is another meal that allows you to simply use up whatever is in your fridge or pantry. Here are some more easy lunch formulas. (PS: These are super easy to meal plan if that’s your thing!)  

Rice + ground beef + lettuce + bell peppers + guacamole 

Quinoa + chicken + broccoli + tomatoes + Greek dressing  

Corn + black beans + bell peppers + pico de gallo + salsa 


3) Pasta

Dry pasta is one of the cheapest items to buy at a grocery store, at about $1.20 for a pound on average. Pasta is also an excellent vehicle for more nutritious items such as produce and protein. It is also very easy to meal prep inexpensively. Here’s some good combos (swap for gluten-free options as needed). 

Pasta + shredded chicken + zucchini + yellow squash + olive oil 

Pasta + cherry tomatoes + mozzarella balls + pesto 

Pasta + Italian sausage + bell peppers + broccoli + marinara 

For more money saving and budgeting tips, browse our CreditAssociates blog! If these tips aren’t enough for you, and you’re concerned about managing your debt, give our certified debt experts a call. We can review with you your financial situation and see if our debt-relief program is right for you.