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36 Cheap Lunch Ideas You Can Make At Home

When lunchtime rolls around, don’t depend on your wallet. Instead of visiting the nearest café or ordering take out with your coworkers, save some money with these 36 affordable yet delicious lunch ideas you can make at home and bring to work.

  1. Calzones – It’s easy to make calzones with refrigerated pizza dough. Choose your favorite fillings, fold ‘em up, bake them and pack them. Freeze any extras to reheat and eat later in the week.
  2. Chicken Caesar Wrap – Caesar salads are full of flavor, and placing them onto a wrap makes them that much better. The simple ingredients include romaine lettuce, chicken, Caesar dressing and parmesan cheese nestled within a soft tortilla. Add some bacon for extra flavor!
  3. Tuna Melt – Tuna is super cheap, but can be dolled up for a great midday sandwich. Mix canned tuna with spices and mayo, then add some fresh flavors like spinach, avocado and tomato. Slap on some cheese and throw it in the toaster oven to complete your melt.
  4. Lo Mein – Chicken, noodles and veggies come together with Asian flavors to satisfy your Chinese food cravings. Make a large batch and portion out the leftovers for quick meals during the week.
  5. Avocado Egg Salad – Boil some eggs, chop them up, and mix them with avocado, mayo, salt and pepper. Then, place the creamy mixture on a piece of toast and take a bite!
  6. Tacos – Tacos are a great go-to that won’t break the bank. Simply brown some ground beef or turkey, add taco seasoning, and assemble your taco with toppings like lettuce, sour cream, salsa, cheese or guacamole.
  7. BBQ Chicken Wrap – You can make endless meals with a $5 rotisserie chicken from the supermarket, one being a BBQ chicken wrap. Pull off the chicken, mix it with BBQ sauce and place is on a wrap with cheddar cheese, lettuce and ranch.
  8. Buffalo Chicken Pizza – Another great meal made with a rotisserie chicken is buffalo chicken pizza. Mix your chicken with buffalo wing sauce and place it onto refrigerated pizza dough with some cheese. Bake, slice and pack!
  9. Chicken Salad – A third option for a rotisserie chicken is chicken salad. Mix the chicken with mayo, salt, pepper, green onions and dried cranberries. Eat on a tortilla, a croissant or plain old slice bread.
  10. Burrito Bowl – Place chicken, black beans, corn, cheese, avocado and sour cream over some rice to create Mexican flavors that are hard to resist and healthy to eat!
  11. Potato Soup – Break out the slow cooker and throw in potatoes, vegetable broth, onions, cheese and milk to make a comforting potato soup. When you’re ready to eat, add your favorite toppings like cheddar cheese, scallions and bacon. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers for later
  12. BLT – A classic sandwich that’s oh so simple to make. Assemble bacon, lettuce and tomato onto a bun; add grilled chicken for protein, and mayo for moisture.
  13. Antipasto Salad – It might sound fancy, but it’s simpler than you think. Ingredients include romaine lettuce, prosciutto, salami, artichoke hearts, olives, peppers and Italian dressing. Mix them all together and enjoy
  14. Stir Fry – Cook onions, peppers, carrots, broccoli and chicken on a pan with oil, then add teriyaki or soy sauce to complete the flavors.
  15. Chili – Make a large batch of hearty and healthy chili in the slow cooker with diced tomatoes, beans, corn, ground beef or turkey, and plenty of spices. Top with sour cream and cheddar cheese for the ultimate comfort meal.
  16. Chicken Fried Rice – Another meal to satisfy your Chinese take-out craving. Ingredients include rice, sesame oil, eggs, chicken and mixed vegetables. Frozen mixed vegetables work great when making fried rice.
  17. Spinach & Artichoke Pasta – Spinach and artichoke dip isn’t just for dipping. Take advantage of your supermarket’s pre-made spinach and artichoke dip and use it as a delicious sauce for your pasta.
  18. Grilled Cheese – Nothing beats a classic grilled cheese sandwich. But instead of simply placing some cheese between two pieces of bread, spice up your sandwich by adding lettuce, tomato, onion, bacon and avocado.
  19. Macaroni Salad – Cold macaroni salad is a great lunch option on a hot summer day. Ingredients include elbow macaroni, shredded carrots, green peppers, onion, mayo and apple cider vinegar. Add some sugar for a sweeter taste we promise you’ll love.
  20. Chicken, Veggie & Hummus Wrap – You dip your veggies in hummus, so why not combine them on a tortilla? Use carrots, cucumbers, onions, lettuce and whatever other veggies you desire. Bring it from a snack to a meal with the addition of chicken.
  21. Pasta & Red Sauce – Pasta is cheap, delicious, quick and easy to make, and a favorite food for many.  Boil up your favorite kind, them simply add your red sauce (the jarred stuff is acceptable – we won’t tell). Add some veggies or meats if you desire.
  22. Peanut Butter & Jelly – Ahhh… good old peanut butter and jelly. Sometimes you just have to go back to basics and slap some peanut butter and jelly between two slices of bread.
  23. Pizza Bagels – Place marinara and shredded cheese on a bagel and toast it in the oven – that’s it! For a fancier pizza bagel, add toppings like pepperoni, sausage or veggies.
  24. Sausage, Peppers & Onions – Slice up some sweet Italian sausage, onions and bell peppers, and sauté them all together with some garlic. Add marinara and eat as is, on a roll or on a tortilla.
  25. Turkey Club – Add some excitement to your plain old turkey and cheese sandwich by adding lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo and bacon.
  26. Quinoa Salad – Cook up some healthy quinoa and add broccoli, tomatoes, onion, Feta cheese and balsamic vinegar for a refreshing lunch.
  27. Three Bean Salad – Toss cannellini beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, red onion and cilantro in lime, olive oil, salt and a little bit of honey for a yummy lunch that’s good for your heart!
  28. Lunch Meat Roll Ups – Slice up your favorite veggies and roll them up in lunch meat like ham, turkey or roast beef. Pack a dipping sauce like mustard or mayo.
  29. Rice Cakes – Smother some rice cakes with peanut butter and top with bananas and cinnamon for a lighter, sweeter lunch.
  30. Pulled Pork – Throw a seasoned pork shoulder into the slow cooker on a Sunday and let it cook on low for six hours. Shred it and take it for lunch all week, adding BBQ sauce or eating it as is!
  31. Cobb Salad – Bacon, hard boiled eggs, chicken, tomato and cheese over romaine lettuce with ranch or honey mustard dressing – a far from boring salad!
  32. Sushi Bowl – Rather than going through the trouble of making sushi, simply throw shrimp, avocado, cucumbers and asparagus over some rice with a touch of soy sauce.
  33. Chicken Quesadilla – All you need is a tortilla, chicken and cheese to grill up a delicious quesadilla.
  34. Cream Cheese Roll Up – This meal is full of surprising flavors. Spread vegetable cream cheese on a tortilla, add spinach, carrots, peppers and cucumbers, and roll it up!
  35. Stuffed Peppers – While stuffed peppers aren’t difficult to make, they do take some time. However, they are very budget-friendly and easy to freeze for a meal down the line. Ingredients include bell peppers, ground beef, rice and veggies.
  36. Chicken Parm – Make your own breaded chicken or purchase the frozen stuff, throw some marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese on top, and bake in the oven for a quick Italian lunch!