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Lunch for $1 or less?

Last post Fri, Mar 2 2012 3:12 PM by RAO. 10 replies.
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  • Wed, Feb 29 2012 12:40 PM

    • Brandy
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Wed, Mar 28 2007
    • Saving in South Mississippi
    • Posts 25,145

    Lunch for $1 or less?

    We have a discussion about the cost of dinner. Some of us can really stretch there.

    How about lunch? Can you make lunch for $1 or less?

    The Dollar Stretcher Community Manager

  • Wed, Feb 29 2012 1:10 PM In reply to

    Re: Lunch for $1 or less?

    Raw fruit for me during the day or fresh raw green smoothies when I am doing them so I can't give you a quality answer for myself but I can brainstorm how I could make others lunch for 1 buck a head count... Honestly though the way I cook and prioritize $ on food over other things this idea would be a challenge...I am also clearly a health nut which I am sure is obvious to those who know me here so in that case I would be challenged with low budget and healthy options/offerings... What could I pull off? Let's see.

    1/2 cup whole grain, 1 cup legumes, vegetables... a piece of fruit... now to break that down

    1/2 cup cooked brown rice from bulk bag - .25 cents ... 1 cup cooked legumes from dry bulk bag - .25 cents ... that leaves me .50 cents for produce - the fruit will be foraged from a tree so that's free... now I could do 1/2 bunch of asparagus on current sale here for .99 cents a lb or I could do 1/2 bag of frozen vegetables sold for .99 cents... or 3/4th head fresh broccoli on sale and so forth... I prefer fresh produce but in this case a bag of variety veggies like Italian veggie mix or stir fry or fiesta/Mexican would add more variety and flavor... This kind of meal would include healthy carbs, fiber, protein and micronutrients needed. In that case t's well balanced.

    Other options might be bean stuffed potatoes with a side of corn/veggies and a piece of fruit... homemade mixed bean and veggie soup as a one pot dish with a side of fruit...lettuce wraps with lentils or beans and a side of fruit... You get the idea. trying to keep things as natural and whole food as possible with clean healthy eating and 1 buck in mind: beans/legumes from dry bulk, fresh or frozen veggies, fresh fruit - foraged ... and potatoes or whole grains drom dry bulk not from processed whole grain products for carb source to keep things at 1 buck a head count. Free herbs from my garden to season.

    Now of course if I were garden hopping through my garden I could make a killer good salad or stir fry and stretch the doller better since those would be freebies... In that case I could use something like quoina which is a complete protein whole grain that doesn't have to be mixed with legumes/beans to compliment it's protein since it's already complete.

    Soups using water as the base or homemade freebie broth cut costs and allow more money for fresh ingredients which help make their own broth if using water as the base. The depth of the meal all really would depend on who I am feeding and their appetite needs at lunch, some people prefer lighter and some people want a hearty lunch so that kind of determines on how things could be stretched and prepared for 1 buck a head count over here. All home cooked though and NO meat or animal products needed or used in situations like this. Healthier anyhow.

    "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." ~Chinese Proverb~
  • Wed, Feb 29 2012 3:45 PM In reply to

    • gayla50
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Mon, Sep 24 2007
    • Western North Carolina
    • Posts 8,491

    Re: Lunch for $1 or less?

    today for Lunch  I made roasted  chicken and rice ..  total  with drinks  about $.95.

    tomorrow I will make baked  Potatoes  with leftover chili  Potatoes were from 20 lb package ..which was $4.59   there was about 25 lbs  in the package so it was about .18 a piece and chili was under $3.00 and I froze it from a pot I made so I allow $.22 so  It will be about $.40



    Officially Recognized Stretchpert in Frugal Food and Cooking and in Slow Cooker Foods

    Purpose is what gives life a meaning
  • Wed, Feb 29 2012 3:49 PM In reply to

    • MarthaMFI
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Wed, Apr 16 2008
    • New Westminster, BC, Canada
    • Posts 10,850

    Re: Lunch for $1 or less?

    wow lunch is my most expensive meal since mostly packed lunches.. maybe pb sandwiches or a box of kraft dinner....

    Officially recognized Stretchpert in Hobbies and Crafts
  • Wed, Feb 29 2012 5:00 PM In reply to

    • Hofmama
    • Top 100 Contributor
    • Joined on Sun, Aug 10 2008
    • Kentucky
    • Posts 590

    Re: Lunch for $1 or less?

     Lunch is usually leftovers for us...Big-boy's school refrigerates/heats lunches, thankfully. Since it's usually my goal for dinner to be less than $1/serving, lunch works out close (but not quite, since I usually through an apple or a banana in too). Next year, I expect lunch to be more costly for my big boy, since he'll be in a regular school, as opposed to a preschool, so I anticipate he won't be able to take reheats with him.

  • Wed, Feb 29 2012 5:27 PM In reply to

    Re: Lunch for $1 or less?

    Is that $1 total, or $1 per person?

    I know I can do something like red beans and rice for about $1.    Eggs (scrambled or in sandwiches) .. especially if the eggs were purchased on sale. Basic pasta and sauce, too

  • Wed, Feb 29 2012 5:39 PM In reply to

    Re: Lunch for $1 or less?

    Per person would be quite easy. For a family, that would be very hard IMHO. But here are things I eat for lunches and I think they are pretty frugal. 

    A couple scrambled eggs and a piece of fruit or some sliced veggies.

    A container of yogurt and 1/2 a sandwich.

    A baked potato with diced meat and some shredded cheese.

    Grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup

    A cup of steamed rice with a pat of butter and some steamed veggies mixed in, maybe some cheese on top

    A cup of noodles with a little jarred sauce or a pat of butter  or drizzle olive oil, maybe a sprinkle of cheese and some sliced veggies

    A cut up apple with peanut butter or sliced celery with peanut butter and a container of yogurt.

    A dozen eggs are about $1.79 here; apples are $1.79 a lb, bananas are .79 a lb, a block of cheese is $1.99 a lb, loaf of bread is $3, bag of pasta is 99 cents, bag of baby carrots is 99 cents, lb of celery is $1.50, container of yogurt is 60 cents, lb of sliced turkey can be $2-$4, etc. etc.

    So using a bit of those things would keep a meal to a $1 or less. Granted, these lunches are not fancy and some would say not filling (like my DH, LOL) but for me, they are just fine. Better than a $1 cheeseburger at a fast food drive through!

    And leftovers, why those could be even more frugal!

  • Wed, Feb 29 2012 7:16 PM In reply to

    Re: Lunch for $1 or less?

    Lunch for me is usually leftovers from the night before.
  • Wed, Feb 29 2012 8:00 PM In reply to

    Re: Lunch for $1 or less?

     One package of dry roamin cook it up with3 minutes lots of frozen veggies and a egg and throw in some boc choy and onion got a lunch for a dollar with out going out.

  • Fri, Mar 2 2012 2:26 PM In reply to

    • Helene
    • Top 100 Contributor
    • Joined on Mon, Aug 24 2009
    • Posts 721

    Re: Lunch for $1 or less?

    ALL the meals I cook at home are less than $1/portion. Usually not more than $0.50! Prices over here are almost the same as with you, I see, but our salaries are lower. (W a y lower.)

    I have made a list of the cheapest (somewhat healthy) food available and update it every year. The meals I have made out of it are all calculated at meal cost and cost per portion. I always cook five portions, we eat four for lunch and save one for the evening, if anyone is not satisfied with sandwiches or a soup or salad for supper.

    Minced meat and chicken is bought on sales only, and used very sparingly, more like to give some taste to the meal.

    Lentils with fried onions, smetana and tomato salad.

    Boiled bulgur with onion, parsley, red peppers. Grated cheese, if on sale, on top.

    Macaroni is very expensive this year. Serve it with minced meat or mushrooms fried with onions. Salad.

    Potatoes have been cheap this winter. We indulge in it at the moment.

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