Healthy Cheap Lunch Ideas – Budget Friendly & Delicious

affordable lunch ideas

Kia Ora, Kiwi foodies and budget-bosses! 🥝 Ever found yourself dreaming of mouth-watering, wholesome meals that don’t burn a hole in your pocket? What if we told you that culinary treasures don’t always come with a hefty price tag and can actually help you grow that savings account? Dive into this blog, where we’re dishing out scrumptious, health-packed recipes that are as kind to your waistline as they are to your wallet.

Now, the star of our show today is none other than our humble, yet versatile companion: toast! Before you raise an eyebrow, remember, that not all bread is baked equal. Opt for whole-grain, sourdough, or rye varieties, and you’re looking at a nutritious canvas for countless meals. From the rolling hills of the Waikato to the bustling streets of Auckland, we’ve curated flavours atop toast that’ll make your taste buds sing without making your bank account groan. Ready to elevate your cooking game, Kiwi style? Let’s get sizzling! 🍳🥦🍞🥑

1. Tuna melt

The ingredients for a tuna melt toast could not be simpler but there is a twist in the way in which the toast is made. Rather than using “simple” toast for this lunch, it is made in a frying pan which adds a little more texture to the toast and flavour to the meal – YUM! This quick and delicious meal takes less than 30 minutes to prep and 10 minutes to cook! A bonus is that you can prep for the entire week so you only have to do that once! Meaning you can not only save on $$ but on time as well! The ingredients for a classic tuna melt are as follows:-

• 80g tinned tuna, drained
• 1 spring onion, thinly sliced
• 1 heaped tsp diced red onion or shallot
• 50g/1¾oz extra mature or mature cheddar, grated
• 1 tbsp mayonnaise
• Tiny squeeze lemon juice
• 2 thick slices white or wholemeal bread
• 1 tbsp butter, softened
• 1 tsp olive oil
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper

When we said that a tuna melt takes less than 10 minutes to make, we weren’t kidding. Are you ready?

  1.  Place the tuna into a bowl, using a fork separate into tuna flakes
  2. Add the spring onion, red onion and cheddar
  3. Then add the mayonnaise, pepper, pinch of salt and lemon juice
  4. Fold the ingredients together
  5. When mixed, place the filling between two slices of white/wholemeal bread
  6. Butter the outside of the bread
  7. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a low heat
  8. Add the sandwich to the frying pan
  9. Using a small flat bottom saucepan, place a tin inside and squash the toastie down
  10. Fry for between four and five minutes on each side
  11. If the filling has not quite melted, place it into a microwave for up to 60 seconds

Hey presto, you have a quick, cheap and healthy lunch in less than 10 minutes. Enjoy!

2. Pizza on toast

Have you ever sat back and wondered, how would a pizza taste if the base was toast and you could mix and match your favourite ingredients? Yes, no?! Well you probably have now that we’ve mentioned it! Not only is this recipe for pizza on toast healthy, but it is cheap and with preparation time of less than 30 minutes, cooking time of less than 10 minutes, it’s a perfect quick one person lunch (Like before you can prep for the week and save on time – winning!). The ingredients for pizza on toast can vary widely according to your own tastes (not everyone agrees that pineapple belongs on a pizza my friend!) but we have put together a tasty one for you:-

• 1 thick slice white or brown bread
• 2 tbsp pasta sauce, pizza topping, tomato salsa or passata
• Thinly sliced chorizo, salami, ham, mushrooms or roasted peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, jalapeños
• 30g/1oz cheese, such as grated Cheddar, ready-grated mozzarella, or a mixture

While we have included an array of different ingredients, ham, mushrooms, salami, etc you can replace these with any of your favourites. As with the majority of pizzas, there is one popular ingredient cheese/mozzarella or a mixture of the two. You will not be surprised to learn that the cooking process is as short as the ingredients list!

  1. Preheat the grill to a medium/high setting
  2. Place the bread on the grill pan, grill on one side until lightly toasted
  3. Once lightly toasted, turn the bread over and apply the tomato sauce
  4. Top this with chorizo, mushrooms or any other toppings of your choice
  5. Sprinkle cheese over the top
  6. Grill for a further 2 to 3 minutes or until the cheese is melted or the topping is hot

As we touched on above, the beauty of this healthy cheap lunch idea is that you can mix and match the flavours to your personal preference. The process is exactly the same when the flavourings are different.

Pizza toast for an affordable and tasty lunch

3. Club sandwich

The club sandwich is one of those lunches we have all bought when out and about but very rarely, if ever, make for ourselves. The beauty of making your own food is that you can tweak the ingredients to your particular preference and make it all the more enjoyable. When it comes to the cost of a club sandwich, this will vary enormously depending upon the fillings. However, to make a very tasty healthy club sandwich will not cost you a bucket.

This particular example of a club sandwich is based on chicken breast with a bunch of extras. The prep time is less than 30 minutes, cooking time between 10 and 30 minutes and it will serve one person. The ingredients are as follows:-

• Drizzle vegetable oil
• 2 slices streaky bacon
• 1 small chicken breast (or 2 slices leftover roast chicken)
• 3 slices bread
• 1 tbsp mayonnaise
• 2 Little Gem or soft green lettuce leaves
• 1 tomato, sliced
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper

So, now we have the ingredients it is time to make that club sandwich.

  1. Heat a frying pan over a medium heat
  2. Add the rashers of bacon, fry for between five and 10 minutes regularly turning the individual rashers
  3. When crisp and brown, remove from the frying pan onto a plate lined with kitchen paper (to soak up the oil)
  4. Slice the chicken breast horizontally into two thinner pieces
  5. Season with salt and pepper
  6. Then fry the chicken in the hot bacon fat over a medium to high heat
  7. Continue to fry until the chicken is browned and completely cooked through (no pink meat)
  8. Toast the bread to your liking and then spread a teaspoonful of mayonnaise on each side
  9. Slowly build the layers of the sandwich using lettuce leaves, tomato slices and season with salt/black pepper
  10. Then place the crispy bacon on top
  11. Slice each of the pieces of chicken breast into 4/5 equal diagonal pieces
  12. Place the chicken breast on top of the crispy bacon
  13. Place the second piece of toast on top, repeat the layering process
  14. Add the final piece of toast
  15. Cut the sandwich diagonally into four triangle sections
  16. Secure in place with a cocktail stick and you are ready to go

While the cooking process appears to be relatively long, we have split this down into individual actions to make it easier to read. Once you start, you will have your very own personalised club sandwich in just a few minutes. Bon appetit!

Affordable clean sandwich lunch

4. Mushrooms, leeks and fried eggs on toast

On its own, the flavour of an egg can be relatively bland and not necessarily appetising. However, once you learn to add a few different flavours such as mushrooms and leeks, this will bring a light lunch back to life. This little delicacy takes less than 30 minutes to prepare, less than 10 minutes to cook and serves one person.

As you might have guessed, the ingredients for mushrooms, leeks and fried eggs on toast is relatively simple:-

• 25g/1oz unsalted butter
• 3 large chestnut mushrooms, peeled and sliced
• 1 large leek, trimmed, halved and cut into 2.5cm/1in slices
• Pinch dried chilli flakes (optional)
• 1 tsp vegetable oil
• 1 large free-range egg
• 1 slice bread, toasted
• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

As with all of the healthy cheap lunch ideas we have covered in this article, you can mix and match the various ingredients to suit your palate. Now, let’s get this delicacy under way!

  1. Heat the butter in a large frying pan on a medium heat
  2. Add the mushrooms and leeks and then season with salt and pepper to your taste
  3. Cook these for between six and eight minutes, stirring occasionally until the mushrooms soften and start to caramelise
  4. At this point the leaks will be completely soft
  5. For those who prefer a kick to their lunch, add a pinch of dried chili flakes
  6. Heat the oil in another non-stick frying pan on a medium heat
  7. Crack the egg and fry until the white is just setting
  8. Spoon the mushroom and leek out of the frying pan and spread on the toast
  9. Top the toast with the fried egg and add a touch of black pepper for seasoning

This lunch idea is not only healthy but it also creates a rainbow of different colours on your plate. Nothing bland about this one!

Healthy and taste quick and easy lunch

Crunch Time: Wrapping Up Our Toasty Tales! 🍞🎉

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, many of us prefer to grab a snack on the move, tuck into a microwave meal at night time and chill out. Here is the thing, people often think that “cheap food” is unhealthy food – but my friend that is just incorrect! With a little bit of knowledge and some skills in the kitchen you will be well on your way to making delicious and cheap meals! Your tastebuds will be celebrating while you save a lot of money!

The beauty of the ideas we have covered in this article is that they are cheap, simple and very easy to make. You can mix and match different ingredients to your particular preference. You might even find that you are tempted to try ingredients you have not even contemplated before. Enjoy your lunch!

If you are struggling with your finances, we have an array of options for you to consider at Crestor Credit.

Crester credit


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by Ash Horton

May 28, 2021