Dietitian Susie Burrell has shared the five healthy workday lunches she swears by, and none of them cost over $5.
The Sydney qualified expert said you can easily spend $100 a week if you buy a cafe lunch at $15-$20 every day at work, and you’ll often find that your waistline expands at the same time due to huge portions.
To combat this, Susie said you need to pack a quick and easy, cheap and healthy midday meal like stuffed avocado, potato and beans or pasta and mince.
‘Each of these dishes are frugal, but they are also packed with nutrition,’ Susie told financial adviser Canna Campbell.
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Dietitian Susie Burrell (pictured) has shared the five healthy workday lunches she swears by, and none of them cost over $5
The first meal Susie recommends you add to your lunchtime repertoire is a stuffed avocado with tuna, mayonnaise, chilli flakes and cherry tomatoes: this costs $5 (pictured)
1. Stuffed avocado
The first meal Susie recommends you add to your lunchtime repertoire is a stuffed avocado with tuna, mayonnaise, chilli flakes and cherry tomatoes.
‘The avocado costs just $3 and I mashed it with a cheap $1 tin of tuna, some mayo and a few cherry tomatoes,’ Susie said.
The dietitian highlighted a recent study that showed if you have an avocado at lunch, you’ll eat less all afternoon.
‘The fresh natural wholefoods in this meal will keep you healthy, while the protein will ensure you’re fuller for longer,’ Susie said.
You can of course buy more expensive, organic tuna, Susie added, but if you’re on a budget, a cheap $1 can will do.
TOTAL = $5
‘Many people think of potatoes as being high in carbs, but they have far fewer carbs than two massive slices of bread from an over-sized sandwich,’ Susie said (second meal pictured)
2. Potato and beans
The second meal the dietitian makes regularly when she wants something warm at lunchtime is a potato with baked beans and Greek yoghurt or sour cream.
‘Many people think of potatoes as being high in carbs, but they have far fewer carbs than two massive slices of bread from an over-sized sandwich,’ Susie said.
‘You can also team a cheap potato with a tin of $1 baked beans and a bit of Greek yoghurt and sour cream.’
If you need extra veg, Susie said a grated carrot on top or some avocado will help.
‘I’ve found with my clients that when they have a hot lunch, they are fuller all afternoon,’ Susie said.
TOTAL = $3
Eggs aren’t just for breakfast, Susie said, as they are the cheapest and most nutritious protein option at $1 for two eggs (the third meal of scrambled egg on toast with lettuce pictured)
3. Scrambled eggs on toast with lettuce
Eggs aren’t just for breakfast, Susie said, as they are the cheapest and most nutritious protein option you can choose throughout the day.
‘Two eggs costs $1, and you can scramble them and serve them on toast with cherry tomatoes and lettuce for a nutritious lunch,’ Susie said.
Two eggs will give you around 20 grams of protein and plenty of carbohydrates from the toast according to the dietitian.
‘This meal also costs well under $5,’ Susie said.
TOTAL = $3
Susie said buy packets of rice from the supermarket for $2.50, as they are portion-controlled and mean you’re not likely to go over in how much you eat (fourth meal pictured)
4. Brown rice and vegetables
Susie recommends you buy the packets of rice from the supermarket at around $2.50 each, as these are portion-controlled and mean you won’t go overboard in how much you eat.
‘Simply mix a packet of rice with frozen vegetables and throw a tin of canned salmon in there for protein,’ Susie said.
‘It’s warm, tasty and filling, plus you can use up leftover chicken, meat or fish if you have some that you’re not sure what to do with.’
TOTAL = $4
‘When I’m talking about budget meals, I always go back to mince, as you can your hands on chicken, turkey and regular mince extremely cheaply,’ Susie said (fifth meal pictured)
5. Pasta and mince
Finally, Susie said a more filling and delicious lunch is pasta and mince.
‘When I’m talking about budget meals, I always go back to mince, as you can your hands on chicken, turkey and regular mince extremely cheaply,’ she said.
‘Sometimes, it’s only $5 for 500 grams.’
On this occasion, Susie served pasta with leftover bolognese sauce and Parmesan from the fridge.
‘From a financial perspective, this will keep you full all afternoon and stop you from feeling like you need to buy a snack from the vending machine,’ Susie said.
TOTAL = $5
What are Susie’s top tips to cut down your grocery bill to just $50?
* Buy long-life milk as it lasts longer and is often cheaper.
The dietitian shared her secrets for cutting your grocery bill to $50 (her basket pictured)
* Bulk up mince with tinned legumes for an extra protein hit.
* Freeze bread to keep it to last longer.
* Start with your protein as meat will always be the most expensive part of your shop and go from there.
* Never shop per recipe as this is where your bill adds up; instead go for budget staples that can be used in a multitude of ways.
* Set four go-to recipes per week: ideally a meat dish, a mince dish, a fish dish and a plant-based meal.
* Cook once and eat twice, particularly with protein to get more bang for your buck.
* Don’t avoid packaged food because it’s unhealthy, but rather shop the packaged aisles carefully. Tinned salmon and tinned tuna are healthy.
* Buy in-season vegetables where possible as these will save you valuable cash.