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How to Save Money and Love Your Lunchbox

Published Friday, 15 November, 2013 by Amy Murnan

£90,000 in lunches. That seems like a crazy amount of money, and it is. But, as shown by a study published earlier this year, that is the very amount you could end up spending on food throughout your working life.

For students, it is understandable why packed lunches seem to be a thing of the past. We’re busy, stressed, tired and – let’s be honest – lazy. Nobody wants to spend their free time making sandwiches. And what’s more, nobody wants to get up any earlier in order to do it.

But even at a more conservative estimate, a shop-bought lunch purchased five days a week is going to cost you at least £15. That’s £60 a month (and usually more) spent on boring baguettes, sad-looking salads and crummy couscous that’s been hanging around for days in a plastic tub.

Perhaps that doesn’t sound like much, but let’s put it into perspective: that’s a meal out every week. Rather than wasting money on bad food, you could be dining out every week eating good food. Or, to put it another way, you could buy three extra bottles of wine, a generous takeaway for two, two CDs, a few films or a trip to the cinema with ridiculously overpriced popcorn.

If you’re still not bothered about spending £60+ a month on tiny tortilla wraps on top of your food shopping, perhaps these idea will make you hungry for something more.

Falafel

These little chickpea balls are, in fact, incredibly easy to make (and taste much better for it). Make at the weekend and store in the fridge for filling lunches all week. Whether you eat them in pittas with mint yoghurt, alone with dips or couscous, or in spicy wraps, there are enough options to keep you interested all week.

Frittata

If you like your lunches big, bold and full of protein, this one’s for you. One of these thick, fluffy egg-based dishes can keep you going all week. This simple frittata is a great template for you to add your own fillings, and an excellent way to use up leftovers. Just try not to eat it all at once!

Savoury Muffins

If you like baking there are many savoury muffin recipes that easily out do the sandwich on flavour. These recipes are a good starting point, but so long as your fillings aren’t very wet you can adapt them. Freeze them and you have a supply ready-made – just allow them to defrost the night before.

Quesadillas

Like wraps with less faff. Simply spread half a tortilla wrap with whatever you like – tuna, tomato, guacamole, or any of these fillings – top with some cheese, fold in half and cook in a dry frying pan until slightly golden. Make a batch and leave to cool before storing in the fridge.

These are just a few ideas, but really the possibilities are endless. Cooking too much and using the leftovers for lunch is another lazy way to go. And if you’re still sceptical about going back to packed lunches, take a look at these and remember the good ol’ days.

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