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If you're someone who tends to grab fast food for your lunchtime meal, you're probably overeating and overspending on this important meal of the day.
lunch tips for saving money and calories
Instead, by brown bagging it for lunch each day you can find ways to save money and reduce your calories at the same time.

If you think you couldn't possibly find the time to do this, think again! There are easy ways you can do so quickly and conveniently. Here are some tips to guide you:

1. Use leftovers. Extra pizza, pasta, chicken, fish, couscous, vegetables or salads can be enjoyed as leftovers the next day. In fact, you can even plan ahead and consciously make extra so that you're sure to have enough for your next day's lunchtime meal. By using small containers and packing some silverware, you'll have an on-the-go meal for a fraction of the cost of restaurant fare.

2. Wrap it up. Whether they're turkey, peanut butter & jelly or light cheese & veggies, sandwiches are an easy thing to make for a brown bag lunch. And if you want to add a fun twist, consider using a high fiber tortilla wrap instead of bread. Just fill the wrap with the same fillings as you would put into a sandwich. La Tortilla Factory makes some good-tasting, calorie controlled (100 calories) wraps that are great for this purpose. Pair with a piece of fruit and enjoy.

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3. Just grab and go. Sometimes you don't have time to prepare your healthy meal and only have time to grab and go something that's portable. As long as you ensure that on a regular basis you have these types of foods in your home, you will always be able to make a grab and go lunch. Single serve low fat yogurts, sliced low fat cheese, single serve low fat cottage cheese, nutrition bars (both for meal replacements and snack sizes), 100 calorie packs, fresh fruit (apples, oranges, bananas, grapes) which are already wrapped in their own wrappers are examples of the types of foods that make a quick, grab-and-go lunch. And with just a little ahead of time preparation, you can add baby carrots, cherry tomatoes or cut up celery.

4. Try a pre-prepared meal. If you have access to a microwave at work, frozen entrees by Lean Cuisine, Healthy Choice or Smart Ones are another option. Though they may have more sodium than the other examples here, they are still fine to do now and then. A downside may be their sodium content but an upside is that they usually cost less than when ordering take out. They also take the guesswork out of calorie counting. And when paired with a piece of fruit, they offer you a very convenient way to enjoy a lunchtime meal.

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