Most college students are living on a fixed budget. There are so many expenses that steal your money, little is left over to feed yourself. Buying your meals everyday from the school cafeteria can add up fast, and personally, I don’t like to spend a big chunk of my weekly “allowance” on food at the school cafeteria. However, I usually don’t have enough time to go off campus to get something to eat either. As a result, I brown bag it most days.
While bringing my own lunch is a much cheaper and healthier option than getting French fries and a burger every day, it can get boring. A girl can only eat pb&j so many times before the mere thought makes her mouth feel sticky with peanut butter.
Here are some of my favorite alternatives to the boring sandwich-and-chips brown bag lunch to jazz up your meals without putting a big dent in your pocketbook.
Breakfast for Lunch. They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so why not do it twice? My favorite breakfast-as-lunch idea is to make waffles, throw them in the freezer, and then reheat them for lunch in the microwave at my student union. Sometimes I smother them with syrup, but other times I like to put a little jelly between them and make a sandwich. Get creative: try scrambled eggs on an English muffin with a slice of cheese, a la McDonald’s. If cooking isn’t your strong point, go with cereal, yogurt, and a piece of fruit.
Be like Jared. Subway is an easy way to load up on healthy fresh veggies, meat, and cheese and they offer several foot-long sandwiches for only five dollars. Bring your own chips, cookies, fruit and a drink, and avoid wracking up a higher bill at the check out counter. If you pick up your sandwich on your way to class, make sure to ask for your condiments on the side so the bread doesn’t get soggy.
Spice up your day. Nachos are a fun and easy lunch to prepare. Bring tortilla chips, shredded cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and a little hot sauce and you are ready to spice up your lunch. Pile the chips onto a microwaveable plate, sprinkle on the cheese, and zap it in the microwave. Add your toppings and enjoy.
Is the Blue Box really better? Kraft’s macaroni and cheese is very simple to make, and pretty tasty, too. There are several brands that offer microwavable versions and feel free to customize yous with salsa, extra cheese, meats, or diced veggies.
Eat like a rabbit. I love salads, and as a result, my friends call me a rabbit. However, salad doesn’t have to only consist of lettuce. You could make a variety of salads during the weekend, then take a sample of each for lunch during the week. Some of my favorites include pasta salad with balsamic vinegar and fruit salad with plain yogurt.
My key to being satisfied with bringing my own lunch is variety. I like to mix it up every day, but figure out what works best for you. Whatever you decide, packing your own lunch instead of buying from your school cafeteria every day will end up saving you a nice chunk of change.
If you have a favorite lunch recipe or idea, please share it with us below. Bon appétit!