Health & Wellness

Lunch Ideas That Will Save You Money

Someone cutting red peppers on a cutting board.

Last month, I wrote about saving money while studying and one of my tips was to pack lunch during the week. To give you a better idea of what that looks like, I decided to share my lunch with you. I’m currently eating vegetarian so all of my lunches are meat-free. It’s a personal decision but I encourage you to try it, too. Even if you decide to add meat, I hope my meals will inspire you to pack your own lunch. So, here’s what a week of lunches looked like for me, recently:

On Sunday I made a package of vermicelli rice noodles for Phó soup and ended up having a ton of extra noodles. I threw them in a container and left them in the fridge to make lunch during the week.

On Monday morning I took some noodles from the fridge and sautéed them in soy sauce, Sriracha, garlic, lemon juice and sesame oil. I added half a green pepper and two handfuls of mushrooms for nutritional value and boxed it in my lunch container. This quick stir-fry is one of my favourite lunch recipes.

On Tuesday I had less time than on Monday, so I took the cold noodles and put them in a container with some leftover red peppers from my dinner the night before. The peppers were cooked in olive oil and garlic then topped with cilantro. The oily goodness gave my noodles some much-needed flavour. But, I’ll admit it didn’t look very appealing so I added a few handfuls of spinach on the side to liven it up.

Pro tip: Before you microwave it, sprinkle water onto raw spinach to cook it and make it easier to eat.

By the time Wednesday rolled around I was sick and tired of noodles. Luckily I had broccoli from the night before and a sweet potato in the fridge. I quickly cooked my sweet potato in the microwave for 5 minutes and combined it with the broccoli in a container. By adding butter and cinnamon to my sweet potato I was able to (literally) spice it up and make a six-minute meal taste some-what gourmet. It’s the little things, you know?

Wednesday I went out with some friends, so Thursday was my cheat day. I went to the all mighty Gould Street Metro, because they have a little thing called student discount on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. The lady behind the hot table graced me with rice and vegetables for $3.79! Including tax! It was a good day.

On Thursday night there were still some noodles hanging around in my fridge so I decided to make use of them before they went bad. I made fresh spring rolls for Friday using the noodles, red peppers, cucumber and spinach for filler. I searched “spring roll sauce” on Pinterest and found a recipe for “Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce” that was really good. I used honey instead of sugar to make it better.

By the time Saturday Rolled around I had saved myself $40 worth of food.

Happy lunching!

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Stefanie Phillips
You guys can call me Stef. I'm a writer from Toronto currently studying journalism here at Ryerson. My hobbies include searching for the best vegetarian restaurants, binge watching Girls and finding the adventure in any situation.