This is one of my favorites to prepare for frozen lunches (see meal prepping post). It’s simple to prepare, can be done relatively quickly with the right kitchen tools, and is very inexpensive to pull together. Beans and rice are a staple meal in most cultures for a reason, they’re nutritious, affordable, and usually tasty!
I used to eat lunch out most days. I was right out of school and didn’t cook all that much and didn’t have leftovers. I went to work too early and didn’t have the time to make lunch in the mornings. It was just easier to go grab something. I was building better relationships with my coworkers.
Those things were all excuses. At around $8 for a fast food meal or a Subway sandwich combo, you’re looking at close to $40 a week. Someone in the office will want some variety, so mix in something a little nicer on Friday and you’ll be closing in on $200 a month. There are more efficient and cost effective ways to have a satisfying and delicious meal at work.
With a little forethought and a couple of hours one weekend, you can prepare a month’s worth of lunches. Make that same commitment a few more times and you’ll have options that will let you pack a different lunch every morning of the week in about 60 seconds. The best part is you’ll spend closer to $50 a month than $200 on those work lunches. Even going with higher quality options won’t drive the cost up beyond $100. The image at the top is a smoked leg of lamb that’s around 5 lbs. It freezes well and only costs about $30. At a third of a pound per meal, you’re looking at 15 servings for the low cost of $2 per meal. Add a $1 worth of extras like a sweet potato and some buttered toast you’ll have a very nice lunch that only costs $3. That low cost option isn’t even the frugal route; when I post some of the rice and beans heavy options later you’ll be able to make lunches that come in close to or under $1.