Broke again? Eating on a budget doesn’t have to mean beans, rice, and packaged ramen. With a bit of careful planning and shopping, it’s possible to eat delicious homemade meals for about $12 a day. When you're between paychecks and don't want to suffer, you can eat for just $4 per meal: breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The idea here is to do a bit of prep work each night while making dinner. That way, your lunches are already in the fridge, waiting to get thrown in your bag on the way out the door. This meal plan assumes that you work a five-day week and need to take your lunch with you. Hopefully there’s a refrigerator and microwave!
First, you’ll need to gather that container your wonton soup came in last week. Those pint containers are perfect for salads. Don’t go gourmet for your grocery shopping (I’m looking at you Whole Foods) or you’ll go way over budget. I found all of these ingredients at my friendly neighborhood slightly-below-average chain grocery store in Brooklyn, so your prices may vary slightly. Plan to roast all your vegetables Sunday night so they are at your beck and call for the rest of the week’s recipes.
These meals are light and elegant, with simple flavors like lemon, sage, and balsamic vinegar. And want a seriously budget-friendly trick? Shop for your grains (only your grains!) at a fancy health food store that sells in bulk. Stick a one-cup measure in your purse and only buy the amount you need. One cup of jasmine rice will cost you about 45 cents instead of buying a whole bag you won't use for a few dollars.
Now, on to the feast!