Author Topic: $5/week for lunch  (Read 4275 times)

ThreeWheeler

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$5/week for lunch
« on: October 16, 2019, 12:25:03 PM »
I consider myself very luck that I can eat the same thing ever day without getting tired of it. Because of this I have been eating hummus and veggies every day at work for the last year.

My main motivation for this was it simplified my life. I can make 1 big batch of hummus per week and chop up veggies on Sunday night. Then take everything into the office an leave it in the fridge. This gives me more time back every morning to help get my family ready and out the door on time.

This week dried chick peas were on sale so I grabbed a few bags. I can get about 11 weeks of lunches out of a bag of dried chick peas and they were only $2.50 on sale. This go me thinking 'who much do my lunches actually cost?

Adding up the ingredients I was surprised to find the cost was only $2.50 / week to make my hummus. On top of that I spend about another $2.50/week on veggies (bell pepper, cucumber, carrots) to dip in my hummus.

I'm surprised how happy it made me feel to know I'm eating a delicious lunch every day for only $1. I think this knowledge has made the lunch even more enjoyable.

On the down side, I also now know that when I rarely go out for lunch and spend $10-$15 for a single meal I'm spending 2-3 weeks of lunch money on a single meal ;)

P.S. These are all Canadian dollars. I also buy most of my ingredients in bulk but I'm sure I could squeeze another 10-20% reduction in price if I tried to find better bulk prices or bought even larger quantities.

gannowar

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Re: $5/week for lunch
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2019, 01:44:09 PM »
Thatís amazing! Now it has me thinking. What other lunches can be made for this amount? Great idea.

Malkynn

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Re: $5/week for lunch
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2019, 01:47:54 PM »
Thatís amazing! Now it has me thinking. What other lunches can be made for this amount? Great idea.

Any permutation of rice and beans, any primarily legume dish, pasta, etc.

You could very easily get well under $1/serving

ketchup

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Re: $5/week for lunch
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2019, 01:49:13 PM »
That's great!

My favorite el cheapo work lunch is microwave oatmeal with milk, cinnamon, and peanut butter.  I haven't priced it out exactly but it's probably pretty close.

ATR

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Re: $5/week for lunch
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2019, 02:20:51 PM »
One of my favorite (and cheapest) lunches is greek yogurt, banana, peanut butter, chia seeds, hemp hearts, ground flax, and pumpkin seeds. I buy most of it at Costco in bulk and by my rough estimation it's about $1.25 per day.

kenmoremmm

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Re: $5/week for lunch
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2019, 05:42:41 PM »
care to share your hummus recipe?

i've been eating oatmeal, peanut butter, and protein powder at work for 15 years' of breakfast (after biking into work). it's definitely nice to not get tired of foods.

MyAlterEgoIsTaller

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Re: $5/week for lunch
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2019, 07:48:20 AM »
I cook my workweek lunches on Sundays, and usually alternate by the week between rice/beans/veggies and split pea/lentil/veggies.  I don't get tired of these because I change the vegetables and spices each time.  And sometimes I do quinoa mixed with pumpkin.

I work in a field where people trying to sell us stuff frequently bring us lunch, so at least once or twice a week whatever I cooked for lunch becomes dinner instead, which might technically put my weekly lunch budget in the $2-$3 range.

35andFI

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Re: $5/week for lunch
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2019, 08:03:48 AM »
Very relatable! I might steal that hummus idea as I looooove hummus.

I pretty much eat the same thing every day and it looks like this:

Oatmeal, almond milk (lasts longer), banana
Natural peanut butter
2 hard boiled eggs
Salad (romaine lettuce, carrots, cherry tomatoes, dressing)
Wrap (tortilla, mayo, shredded cheese, and some kind of meat from the freezer)

I put together an Excel workbook where on one sheet I enter servings per container, cost per container, and how many serving I eat. Then on another sheet, I can put in what foods I ate that day to get a total cost for that day.

The above comes about to about $2/day.

Then I go to the local Amish market and get a single meal (snack really) for ~$7 (3.5 days worth of meals).
...no regrets!

EscapedApe

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Re: $5/week for lunch
« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2019, 04:30:56 PM »
$5 per week for lunch is really good savings, especially if the hummus and veggies are satisfying you and providing you with what you need.

I'm a bit more spendy with my homemade meals. I calculated today that my lunches are costing me about $4 per day, which is still better than if I were going out to lunch with everyone else at the office. And this is all on a low-carb ketogenic diet.

EngagedToFIRE

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Re: $5/week for lunch
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2019, 07:00:01 AM »
Excellent.  I found it quite easy to make a lunch for $1.  I was just buying turkey breast, roasting it, slicing it mysef, and making sandwiches.  With Aldi prices for bread and turkey, it was well under $1 per lunch.  Rice/Bean/Protein, it's really easy to keep lunches under $1.  We do hummus, also.  Love making our own!
« Last Edit: October 18, 2019, 07:01:58 AM by EngagedToFIRE »

KathrinS

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Re: $5/week for lunch
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2019, 01:12:02 PM »
My lunch is usually an apple, a sandwich (wholemeal bread, olive oil spread and peanut butter) and two oatmeal biscuits. Since I get the apples in bulk from the local market, this lunch usually only costs about £0.50. It's supplemented with tea, nuts and the occasional biscuit, which are offered by one of my workplaces.

Travis

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Re: $5/week for lunch
« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2019, 05:55:59 PM »
That's great!

My favorite el cheapo work lunch is microwave oatmeal with milk, cinnamon, and peanut butter.  I haven't priced it out exactly but it's probably pretty close.

That's pretty much my breakfast. A banana, half a cup oatmeal, half tablespoon of brown sugar, handful of raisins, generous tablespoon of peanut butter.  Lunch consists of half a can of red beans, a 1/3 cup of brown rise, some shredded cheese, a sandwich bag of spinach, an apple, and a few tablespoons of greek yogurt.  Yogurt and fruit are more expensive here than in the US.

Dicey

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Re: $5/week for lunch
« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2019, 06:41:52 PM »
@ThreeWheeler , pardon, but doesn't eating all that hummus with raw veggies give you gas? It hurts my gut just reading about it!

jimmyshutter

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Re: $5/week for lunch
« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2019, 05:27:50 AM »
I make a lot of rice and beans. I make a large batch of sauteed vegs/garlic and freeze into portions. Then I can make batches of rice/beans and add my frozen sauteed veg mix later. Cheap, quick, easy, and healthy.


ThreeWheeler

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Re: $5/week for lunch
« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2019, 07:52:06 AM »
care to share your hummus recipe?

1.5 Cups Chickpeas
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup tahini
1 clove of garlic (minced)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1.5 Roasted Red Peppers

Note: if you remove the red peppers you may need to add water to get a good consistancy

Instructions:
1. Put everything into a food processor except the chickpeas
2. Blend until smooth
3. Add the chickpeas
4. Blend until smooth

Notes:
  • I double this recipe for my weekly consumption
  • I found hummus from dried chickpeas tasted better then from canned (and it's more economical). The downside is preparing the dried chickpeas can take time. I found that preparing a large amount (4lbs dried beans) and then freezing the cooked beans in 3 cup portions keeps the good taste and now I only cook chickpeas once for 11 weeks of hummus

honeybbq

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Re: $5/week for lunch
« Reply #15 on: October 21, 2019, 04:31:38 PM »
I love hummus and veggies but that's a side dish to me. :D

Congrats though, home made hummus is so much better than those made at a grocery!

EngagedToFIRE

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Re: $5/week for lunch
« Reply #16 on: October 22, 2019, 05:17:08 PM »
The trick for creamy hummus is to do essentially what ThreeWheeler suggested, which is blend the non-chickpea ingredients first.  But I would add that you want to blend the heck out of them in the processor.  You want them more of a whipped consistency.  Then when adding chickpeas, you don't just chuck them all in and blend.  You drop them in slowly while it's still processing.  Makes a huge difference in your hummus consistency.  Don't just chuck everything in and think you can combine them in the processor and perfect hummus, follow the steps and it'll make a huge difference.

merlin7676

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Re: $5/week for lunch
« Reply #17 on: November 19, 2019, 09:36:41 AM »
I have Huel for breakfast and lunch every day at work. I think it works out to about $1.97 per meal so about $20 for a weeks worth?
My husband has now started to use it for his lunches as well although he does supplement it with some veggies or cottage cheese.
All in all our grocery bill has significantly gone down.

aloevera

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Re: $5/week for lunch
« Reply #18 on: November 19, 2019, 11:59:17 AM »
I make extra of whatever I make, which is generally based on my local market's sale items the day I'm there.

So one serving that meal, the rest go in containers in fridge and freezer for lunches, later meals, whatever.

Typical rotisserie chicken ($5/chicken) cycle is 1. Chicken main dish that night I didn't really feel like cooking, 2. At least a few servings of chicken salad with the bulk of what's left, 3. Several servings of chicken/veg soup made from the rest of it.

Quote
low-carb ketogenic diet.

Same. It is harder to be frugal (no rise/beans/pasta) but it is doable.

eudaimonia

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Re: $5/week for lunch
« Reply #19 on: November 19, 2019, 01:16:41 PM »
Great job! Making cheap/healthy lunches that don't take a lot of time is a huge lifehack. Personally, I've been on a huge lentils/rice kick for the last 4 years. Average weekly cost is about $4-$5 or just under $1 per meal. Best thing is that it's very tasty and extremely healthy too! So web of goals type stuff: Inexpensive, easy (I prep everything on the weekend in one batch), tasty, and good for you too!

Side-note: My co-workers teased me in the beginning - asking what I'm having for lunch today (they know the answer). Now I'm known as the lentil retirement plan guy. Lol!

Dicey

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Re: $5/week for lunch
« Reply #20 on: November 24, 2019, 09:38:41 AM »
I have Huel for breakfast and lunch every day at work. I think it works out to about $1.97 per meal so about $20 for a weeks worth?
My husband has now started to use it for his lunches as well although he does supplement it with some veggies or cottage cheese.
All in all our grocery bill has significantly gone down.
Had to Google this. Hmmm...is it safe/wise/mustachian for long term use?

AccidentialMustache

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Re: $5/week for lunch
« Reply #21 on: November 24, 2019, 09:52:15 AM »
I have Huel for breakfast and lunch every day at work. I think it works out to about $1.97 per meal so about $20 for a weeks worth?
My husband has now started to use it for his lunches as well although he does supplement it with some veggies or cottage cheese.
All in all our grocery bill has significantly gone down.
Had to Google this. Hmmm...is it safe/wise/mustachian for long term use?

It sounds like the definition of Not Food (ref: Michael Pollan, https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/news/20090323/7-rules-for-eating#1 has a passable summary).

Hula Hoop

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Re: $5/week for lunch
« Reply #22 on: November 24, 2019, 01:01:34 PM »
I have Huel for breakfast and lunch every day at work. I think it works out to about $1.97 per meal so about $20 for a weeks worth?
My husband has now started to use it for his lunches as well although he does supplement it with some veggies or cottage cheese.
All in all our grocery bill has significantly gone down.
Had to Google this. Hmmm...is it safe/wise/mustachian for long term use?

It sounds like the definition of Not Food (ref: Michael Pollan, https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/news/20090323/7-rules-for-eating#1 has a passable summary).

This really doesn't sound like a good idea.  Maybe as a dietary supplement for someone who is underweight like Ensure but not to replace real food at meals.

Anyway I just cooked up lunch for the next 2 days and my containers are cooling next to the fridge.  I made rice and beans using a can of kidney beans (40 cents a can) a can of diced tomatoes (35 cents a can), some rice (about 30 cents worth), spices (a couple of cents) and I'll probably put some grated cheese on top (maybe 30 cents).  So two lunches for around Euro 1.50 even though I used convenience foods (canned beans and tomatoes) rather than from scratch.  I might pack some fruit with it, a carrot and a cookie to go with my morning coffee - so maybe another 40 cents for that.  At this rate, I'll be well under $5 for a week of lunches.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2019, 01:03:10 PM by Hula Hoop »

soccerluvof4

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Re: $5/week for lunch
« Reply #23 on: November 25, 2019, 05:10:53 AM »
I love leftovers and we always seem to have them so thats my lunch.

mtnrider

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Re: $5/week for lunch
« Reply #24 on: November 25, 2019, 06:20:08 AM »
@ThreeWheeler , pardon, but doesn't eating all that hummus with raw veggies give you gas? It hurts my gut just reading about it!

I love hummus, and chickpeas.  Still-warm homemade hummus is really good.  But yeah, too much gives me gas too.

There are some tricks - discard the water that the chickpeas cooked in.  Wash them well.  Try not to eat a lot of carbs (especially sugars) around the same time.

Also don't schedule a morning meeting, and especially not morning yoga.  :)

Dicey

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Re: $5/week for lunch
« Reply #25 on: November 25, 2019, 10:11:11 AM »
@ThreeWheeler , pardon, but doesn't eating all that hummus with raw veggies give you gas? It hurts my gut just reading about it!

I love hummus, and chickpeas.  Still-warm homemade hummus is really good.  But yeah, too much gives me gas too.

There are some tricks - discard the water that the chickpeas cooked in.  Wash them well.  Try not to eat a lot of carbs (especially sugars) around the same time.

Also don't schedule a morning meeting, and especially not morning yoga.  :)
Lol! Amen