How to prepare cheap and healthy lunches?

My new job doesn’t come with a free lunch.

I am getting sick of spending $150 everyday on a lunch.

What can I prepare at home in a big batch and then eat all week?

At the moment I am spending 1 hour everynight preparing food for the next day.

Does anyone have any tips/ suggestions as to what I can prepare that is cheap and easy? I thought of salad but my wife says it will go bad after 2 days in the fridge.

I have access to a fridge and microwave at my new school.

Any help is good help.


If you like the cold sesame noodles, you can prepare them ahead. If you can microwave, then you freeze about anything and take it in to heat up. Rice dishes usually microwave much better than noodle dishes, IMO. You can cook and freeze curry rice, if you like that, for instnace. Things like carrot and celey spears will keep well in the fridge, especially if you keep them in a cup of water. Fruit salad may be a good idea. Gazpacho is excellent healhy cold lunch and it’s easy. Those are just some simple ideas. If you can freeze and microwave, you can really do just about anytihng.

Two things that work for me:

  • Stew-like things: curries, traditional meat-and-veg stew/lobby/hotpot [depending on where you’re from], chilli, thick soups, etc. Good for 3-4 days in the fridge. Curry and chilli seem to keep a day or two longer. These things are all easy to make, usually requiring no more effort than chucking stuff into a casserole or saucepan and leaving it to roast/simmer.
  • Tortilla wraps. You can put pretty much anything in a tortilla (especially if it’s a home-made one) and end up with an edible result. I usually make some sort of vaguely tex-mex flavoured meat and wrap with a generous helping of salad. Romaine lettuce seems to last at least a week in the fridge, as do most other salad veg. If yours are only lasting two days you might have your thermostat too high or too low. 3-4’C is the norm.

And you can do lettus wraps, too–lettus where the tortilla would be.

Do you have a freezer with spare room in it? Any casserole-type dish, pastas, typical Chinese stir fries, and meat or fish with potatoes or rice and some veggies on the side can be frozen then nuked to save money. Never as good as fresh, but certainly quick, easy, cheap and edible. Crispy things won’t remain crisp of course, but they may still be good. You’ll find out quickly which veggies get tough when frozen and nuked (jie4lan2cai4 (mustard greens?), and bok choy aren’t the best; spinach, broccoli and cauliflower still come out edible).

Here’s a quick one, not gourmet, but probably what you’re looking for: Pop a pot of water on to boil. Add pasta (cheap at Costco). Heat some minced onion and garlic (you can have both prepped in advance in the fridge or freezer) in some olive oil in a skillet. Add some diced fresh or canned (Costco) chicken, salmon or tuna, and a can of cream of whatever (e.g. mushroom) soup, e.g. Campbells, e.g. from Costco or Wellcome, and a bit of water to thin it. Heat it up, and add some quick spices (say, Costco salt-free garlic spice mix, and some freshly ground black pepper) to taste. Add to sauce when pasta is al dente. Keep that boiling water boiling, and toss in some chopped broccoli, which is cheap at Costco when they have it. Total 10 minutes, and you can make enough to eat all week if your pots are big enough.