Healthy cheap lunch recipes are not that hard to find in cookbooks or on the internet. It is easy to prepare these budget-friendly dishes in your very own kitchen. Cooking from scratch is better for you and much cheaper than buying pre-made food from the grocery store. If you’re stuck in a lunch rut and looking for a new way to make lunch, try one of our healthy cheap lunches for a healthy, filling meal that won’t blow your budget. It’s lunch time and instead of hitting up your local sandwich shop for some fast food you decide to stay at work and make yourself a healthy cheap lunch instead. A healthier option could be your best bet to help you lose weight. Here are my favorite healthy cheap lunches that I hope you enjoy.
Healthy Cheap Lunch
Do you tend to spend a little bit too much money at lunchtime? During your break do you like to pop down to the nearest café and buy a croissant that costs more than it should and a side salad that empties your wallet? You’re not the only one!
Lunchtime can be an expensive time of day if you don’t plan ahead. However, luckily, there are many ways to save money at lunchtime while still eating a delicious and hearty meal. Whether it’s a sandwich, wrap, homemade soup, or something else unique, you can prepare your own lunch with fresh ingredients and a low budget.
I recommend preparing a week’s worth of lunches on a Sunday and then popping them into the freezer so they are ready to grab and you don’t resort to going to that expensive café down the street. For a little help on what you can prepare, take a look at the 30 cheap lunch ideas listed below.
A high grocery bill is one of the biggest concerns when it comes to eating healthy. You can shop the sales and make basic meals, but if you aren’t enthusiastic about what you bring to the office then what’s the point?
It’s significantly harder to stick to a healthy eating plan and avoid stepping out to buy lunch when the meal in your bag is boring. To keep lunches delicious and budget-friendly, we rounded up our favorite healthy lunches that won’t break the bank. Plus, many of them use similar ingredients—so you’ll be able to enjoy these with items you have on hand.
Eating Healthy Should Still Be Delicious.
1. Waffle Iron Turkey Melt Panini
Ooey-gooey Colby Jack cheese balances out the salty bacon and tart apple slices in this lunchtime favorite. If you don’t have a waffle maker, this can easily be made in a panini press or grilled-cheese style in a nonstick pan.
Credit: Jennifer Causey
2. Spaghetti Squash Shrimp Scampi
This pasta-like meal is easy to pull together and pack for a work lunch. Spaghetti squash is an inexpensive, low-carb option and pairs with surprisingly simple ingredients for a perfect bite.
3. Pan Bagnat Tuna Sandwich
Tuna sandwiches have been your go-to cheap meal since college, but our version feels extra flavorful. Egg, lettuce, tomato, and salty tuna salad come together seamlessly, and it tastes even better if you make it the night before.
4. Lemon-Thyme Chicken Salad
This classic chicken salad can be used in a multitude of ways: scoop it over a bed of greens, spread it over bread, or even build our Chicken Salad Lunch Box. It’s the best way to stretch leftover baked chicken breasts or a grocery store rotisserie chicken.
5. Steak Salad Niçoise
We took this classic French salad made with staple ingredients like eggs, olives, potatoes, and green beans, and turned it on its head. Toss in thinly-sliced steak for an indulgent meal that won’t break the bank.
6. Orange-Almond Chicken-And-Cabbage Bowls
Just six ingredients will become your new favorite lunch to prep and pack. Fresh orange slices bring brightness, while coleslaw mix and almonds offer unexpected crunch. Plus, store-bought dressing keeps this recipe quick and easy (read: perfect for throwing together on weekday mornings).
7. Greek Slaw And Chicken Pitas
Toss feta cheese, cabbage, and green onions in a light, lemony dressing and pair with rotisserie chicken for a simple lunchtime sandwich. Add additional veggies for something different, and easily assemble during your lunch hour.
8. The Cheeseburger Salad
When you’re looking for something meaty that doesn’t break the bank, this is the salad for you. All of the ingredients are reminiscent of your favorite fast food meal—beef patty and cheese, plus lettuce, tomato, and onion topped with crumbled potato chips. Drizzle on the ketchup and mayo mixture for the ultimate indulgence.
9. Chickpea Panzanella
Crunchy croutons and creamy feta cheese are essential in this hearty vegetarian main. Canned chickpeas and artichoke hearts are budget-friendly, and it only takes 20 minutes to assemble your plate.
10. Spaghetti Squash Lasagna With Spinach
Ground turkey is a fantastic, cheap alternative to more expensive meats like steak or sausage. For a healthier pasta, we swapped in spaghetti squash for classic lasagna noodles and added spinach for a vitamin boost.
11. One-Pot Pasta with Spinach And Tomatoes
A can of diced tomatoes is brought to life with onions, garlic, oregano, and chicken stock, and cooking the pasta directly in the sauce adds major flavor. Brighten the dish with parmesan and spinach for the perfect one-pot meal.
12. Mini Bow Ties With Bacon And Peas
Carrots, peas, and onions get next-level flavor when cooked in bacon fat. Stir in cream cheese for the ultimate, veggie-packed dish that gets more cheesy and delicious with every bite.
13. Chicken Ceasar Wrap
This simple wrap is filling, nutritious, cheap, easy-to-make, and oh so yummy! What’s not to love? The fresh taste of Caesar salad wrapped up with tender chicken!
14. No Mayo Avocado Tuna Melt
A simple sandwich that is perfect for your lunchtime cravings. Cheap and easy and good for you too! This no mayo tuna melt has fresh vegetables and a fresh taste.
15. Hummus And Chicken Wrap
Wraps and sandwiches are always my go-to lunchtime meals. Not only are they easy on the wallet, they are an excellent way to fill your stomach while still eating healthy.
16. Chicken Lo Mein
A quick and easy noodle dish that will satisfy your Chinese take-out food craving without the expensive bill. This is a great meal to make in large quantities and store for a quick meal on the go.
17. Paleo Salad
A fresh summer salad that has only a few ingredients. A healthy way to energize your mind and give your body the nutrients it’s looking for.
18. Honey Sesame Chicken
A great way to make-up a week’s worth of lunches. Protein, starch, and a vegetable, the classic and balanced meal that is a perfect way to get all the nutrients you need!
19. Chicken And Avocado Salad
A salad mixed with the vibrant green of delicious avocados with the tender juiciness of chicken and a blast of freshness with lime and cilantro.
20. Avocado Egg Salad
The only thing better than egg salad is egg salad with avocado on fresh bread. That’s why this cheap lunch meal is a must-try!
21. BBQ Chicken Tacos
Tacos are one of the yummiest meals you can make for a good price! They fill your stomach and don’t empty your wallet! These chicken tacos have lots of tasty ingredients and wonderful BBQ flavor.
22. Buffalo Chicken Flatbread
You can easily make 3-4 meals from a cheap $5 rotisserie chicken from Costco or other large supermarkets. One of those meals could be this delicious buffalo chicken flatbread!
23. Chicken Salad Croissant
It can be easy to find croissants for a reasonable price, especially if you buy in bulk. Throw a handmade chicken salad on it and boom! You’ve got yourself a delicious lunch!
24. Chicken Cream Cheese Taquitos
Crunchy Taquitos with a creamy inside that will melt in your mouth. These taquitos are a cheesy treat that your taste buds will thank you for!
24. Salsa Verde Enchiladas
Just 4 simple ingredients and less than 30 minutes of your time before you’re chomping down on these melt-in-your-mouth enchiladas!
25. Burrito Bowl
This Burrito Bowl is totally versatile, made of items you have wasting away in your fridge, and whatever is on sale at the supermarket. Add your favorite Mexican flavors!
26. Loaded Baked Potato Soup
This comforting soup is easy to prepare and budget-friendly! Just like a loaded potato, add your favorite toppings and enjoy.
28. Double Bacon Cheeseburger Soup
This hearty soup is so filling that you will have leftovers for an entire week’s worth of lunches! Easy to freeze, cheap, and most importantly, oh so delicious!
29. Ham & Cheese Pockets
A great lunchtime snack for you and the kids. These can easily be made ahead and frozen so they are ready to grab when it’s time for a lunchtime break.
30. Chicken Burritos
These Chicken Burritos are the perfect on-the-go meal filled with protein, nutrients, and bursting with flavor! Freezer friendly and budget friendly too!
31. Turkey Cucumber Roll-Ups
The perfect budget-friendly picnic snack! Turkey salad all rolled up in a fresh cucumber wrap. This is a light, healthy, and tasty meal to bring to your next daytime potluck.
32. BLT Lettuce Wrap
Skip the bread on your regular BLT sandwich and substitute it for a healthier (and cheaper) option! Lettuce makes a perfect wrap to deliver the bacon lettuce and tomato to your mouth.
33. Paleo Chicken Salad
This no-cook meal is the perfect remedy for your lunchtime hunger. Light, fresh, and delicious, this salad is paleo-friendly and easy on the wallet.
34. Lemon Garlic Chicken Skewers
Only 3 ingredients to make these lemony fresh Chicken Skewers! They pair lovely with steamed rice or a fresh spring salad.
35. BLT Stuffed Avocados
Oh, my, goodness! These BLT Stuffed Avocados look so delicious! They are very filling since avocados are packed with healthy fats and refreshingly good.
36. Fiesta Chicken Salad
This Chicken Salad is no-dairy and has an awesome taste. A great lunchtime snack that is easy to pack and even easier to eat!
37. Antipasto Salad
This salad may look luxurious (and probably taste luxurious too) but you’d be surprised how easy it is to make and how little it costs!
38. Spicy Tuna And Tomato Burgers
Tuna is a wonderful ingredient when you’re worrying about your budget. It is healthy, cheap, and full of healthy proteins. These burgers are an amazing lunchtime option that you and your family will love!
39. Chicken And Pepper Stir-fry
Not every meal has to be complex, it can be simple as a couple of main ingredients mixed with your favorite spices or sauces and voila!
40. Tuna Avocado Boats
I don’t know about you but I am avocado obsessed! So, when I find a cheap and healthy recipe that includes one of my favorite ingredients I get pretty excited. These Avocado Tuna Boats are the perfect lunchtime snack.
41. Sweet Potato Chili
A paleo and whole30 dish that is definitely going to be a family favorite! It’s hearty, healthy, and easy on the wallet. A great comfort meal for a cold winters day.
42. Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Buy these ingredients in bulk and freeze the leftovers to save even more money and to always have something ready to eat in the fridge. A warm soup makes a wonderful lunch especially when flavored with the buttery taste of butternut squash.
So, as you can see, there are plenty of budget-friendly lunch meals that are still delicious, nutritious, and filling! Whether it’s a warm soup for a weekend’s afternoon, a fresh salad to bring to work, or a tasty sandwich to send with your kids to school, there are plenty of ways to eat a tasty lunch without breaking the bank.
With simple and easy-to-find ingredients you can be sure that it will only take moments to prepare a cheap meal.