Healthy, affordable lunches to take to work

KUSA - According to Visa, Americans go out for lunch on average twice a week and spend $10 each time. That means they're spending $936 annually. 

Brown bagging it can save you hundreds of dollars over the next year, not to mention saving you inches off of your waistline. If you're anything like me, you've spent hours wracking your brain over what to bring to lunch at work that's healthy, easy, and inexpensive. Although this may seem like an impossible task, I'm here to show you that it's not!

The following are a few quick, easy, cheap, and healthy lunch ideas:

Curry tuna wrap: 342 calories

Why it's healthy: Greek yogurt makes this just as creamy as classic mayo would, but without all the extra fat and cholesterol.

Recipe: 1 whole-wheat wrap: 100 calories, 3 oz -can of tuna: 80 calories, 1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt: 30 calories, 1/2 tsp curry powder: <1 calorie, 1 handful of baby spinach: 5 calories

Side snack: 1 apple (90 calories)

Herbed cheese and tomato sandwich: 350 calories

Why it's healthy: Cottage cheese is a great low-fat, vegetarian source of protein.

Recipe: 1 Whole-Wheat English muffin: 120 calories, 1/4 cup low-fat cottage cheese: 40 calories, 2 slices tomato: 10 calories, 1/4 avocado, sliced: 60 calories, 1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard: 5 calories, 1 leaf butter lettuce: 5 calories, 1 tablespoon chives, chopped: <1 calorie, garlic powder to taste: <1 calorie

Side snack: 1/2 cucumber sliced with 3 tablespoons of hummus (110 calories)

Spicy black bean burrito: 345 calories

Why it's healthy: Black beans are a great vegetarian source of fiber and protein.

Recipe: 1 whole-wheat wrap: 100 calories, 1/4 cup black beans: 60 calories, 1/4 avocado, sliced: 60 calories, 1/4 small red onion, sliced: 10 calories, 1 teaspoon hot sauce: 5 calories

Side snack: 3 Triscuit crackers with 1 stick reduced-fat string cheese (110 calories)

Stuffed sweet potato: 372 calories

Why it's healthy: Greek yogurt is a great, lower calorie swap for sour cream on this potato.

Recipe: 1 cooked sweet potato (can cook in microwave): 130 calories, 3 oz pre-cooked chicken, crumbled: 130 calories, 1/4 cup Greek yogurt: 30 calories, 1/2 scallion, chopped: 5 calories

Side snack: 3/4 cup Steamfresh Frozen Brussels Sprouts with 2 Tbs parmesan cheese (77 calories)

Easy pre-made lunch products:

  • Frozen veggie burgers (such as Morning Star or Gardenburger)
  • Tyson grilled and ready pre-cooked chicken
  • Frozen veggies
  • Frozen pre-cooked quinoa
  • Canned tuna/salmon
  • Canned beans/lentils
  • Pre-made guacamole


Lauren Ott, RD is a registered dietitian at the University of Colorado Anschutz Health and Wellness Center at the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora.  Follow her Facebook page and Instagram @thedessertdietitian for nutrition tips!

(© 2016 KUSA)


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