Is Buying Lunch at Work Draining Your Bank Account? Here’s How To Spend 30 Bucks On Lunch FOR THE WEEK
Is buying lunch at work draining your bank account? Then I’m here to help you save that money so you can put it to better use! I can understand that buying lunch at work is easier than preparing food at home but I suggest you take a look at your bank or credit card statements and see where the funds are going!
Your funds could be put to use elsewhere. You could buy an audiobook, e-book, or physical book. You could get a monitor or a pair of headphones. You could invest in digital assets.
There’s a lot you could be doing with the money you’ll save by preparing meals at home. Will it take time? Yes, but assuming you and I both value time, I’ve tried to design a meal which doesn’t warrant an “event” on your calendar but instead can be done in 30 minutes.
So what’s the grocery list? (It’s not too crazy)
- 5 lbs chicken breast
- 10–15 oz baby spinach
- 20–30 oz broccoli
- 5 green bell peppers
- 5 avocados
I purchase the chicken breast value pack on Sunday and immediately slice the breasts into chunks. The value pack I buy is from my local Giant grocery store.
This pack is a total of 5 lbs. I cut each breast into chunks (any size you like) and bag them at 8 oz each. This could last 10 days if you eat one bag a day. I place the bags in the freezer and remove the bag the day of so the meat is thawed by dinner time.
I would recommend using a chef’s knife to accelerate your workflow (Amazon product recommendations welcome).
Cutting the breasts and bagging them takes me about 15/20 minutes so it’s something you can do while you wait for Sunday Night Football (or basketball) to air.
I prepare my next day’s lunch nightly (as I prepare my same-day dinner) and an important task to keep in mind is to remove a Ziploc of chicken the morning of the day you plan to cook it. I’ve often had to rapidly defrost the Ziploc in the microwave and it’s hard to determine how long and at what power level to do so without accidentally cooking the chicken during the defrost itself.
As of now, I don’t prepare the chicken for the whole work week, I bake the chunks in the oven the night before. Yes, you can make the chicken on a pan too, whatever you prefer. I follow the steps below:
- Preheat the oven to 410–420 degrees Fahrenheit
- Cover cooking tray with foil and spread EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
- Place chunks of chicken breast on tray and sprinkle with seasonings of choice
- Slide into oven and wait 15–20 minutes (play around with this number, check up on the meat periodically)
- Once the time is up, remove the tray and let cool
Right now, I just use miscellaneous containers lying around the house but if you are also a food prepper and take lunch to the office, let me know which products you recommend (container packs, etc). I lay a handful of baby spinach at the bottom of the larger container and then drop the chicken on top. I eat about 4–6 oz of broccoli with my chicken and usually prepare that the night before as well because the process is quick.
I just have to get a cutting board, wash the broccoli, slice the florets, and pop them into the container with the chicken. This process takes about 5–10 minutes.
So that’s the first container: handful (3–4 oz) of baby spinach, 8 oz chicken breast, 4–6 oz broccoli.
Now I sautee a few vegetables on a pan while the chicken is baking in the oven. I drop a spoon of coconut oil on a pan and then put a handful of spinach, a sliced green bell pepper, and the aforementioned 4–6 oz broccoli (I don’t actually weigh this; Giant sells broccoli in bunches so essentially it is just one bunch). You can try whatever spices you like for sauteeing, I often use garlic, ginger, and oregano or basil.
Preparing the avocado and making guac is not difficult either. You guessed it, this is done the same night as the previous items. The decision to make guacamole depends on how ready the avocados are for preparation. If they are not ready, then I’ll take a Ziploc of mixed nuts instead. The mixed nuts can also be in addition to the chicken/spinach/broccoli/bell pepper/guac meal, again up to you.
Assuming at least one avocado is ready, I grab a cutting board, use an avocado slicer to cut and mash the avocado in a bowl. A fork or spoon is also a viable option for mashing. For now, I’m keeping the guacamole simple (avocado, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic, lime juice). This is kept in a separate Glad container because the first one is for the microwavable food. The guacamole can brown so covering the container with plastic wrap is an idea worth trying (to keep the oxygen out). This process takes about 5–10 minutes.
As far as cleaning up the workspace (oven tray, foil, cutting boards, knives, avocado slicer, bowl), that will add another 10 minutes to the total prep time. You may have other dishes to put in the dishwasher so the cleaning process could take longer.
Overall, we’ve got 15–20 minutes with prepping the chicken, another 5–10 for the broccoli, 5–10 more with the avocado, and 5–10 for cleaning the workspace. This adds up to a range of 30–50 minutes if done sequentially. Preparing the broccoli and avocado could be done while waiting for the chicken breasts to bake so if done concurrently, the process should take 20–30 minutes.
The meal might look something like this:
Questions you may have:
How much does this meal cost?
Is this a holistically nutritious meal?
See screenshots below for the answers.
So, with the above meal, you’re getting a sufficient amount of fat and protein for a single meal. With a ketogenic mindset, I’m trying to limit carbohydrate intake, 25 g looks high but it is unavoidable with the foods the meal comprises of.
You may also be curious if we’re getting all our vitamins and minerals. From our spinach, we get Vitamin A and E, Calcium, Iron, and Magnesium. From chicken, we get a minor dose of Zinc. From broccoli, Vitamin C, Calcium, and Iron. From a green bell pepper, Vitamin C. From avocado, Vitamin E and Potassium.
Sometimes, I add in a diced roma tomato and a bag of mixed nuts. At maximum, the meal components would look like this:
So, to touch on the price/cost of this lunch meal…I usually go with the first combination. Chart below:
Don’t let your paycheck go to fast food! Prep your meals at home so you can use your income for another drink at happy hour or your next Amazon purchase, or my favorite, INVESTING.