Low-calorie, low-cost lunch options
Are you ready to rethink your lunch? The statistics for a typical fast-food lunch are horrifying both for the calorie-conscious and the budget-savvy. A standard cheeseburger costs $2.00 and packs a whopping 600 calories. Next to order: the ever-popular French fries for $1.00 and 300 calories. To finish this meal, you’ll want a soda which will cost around $1.50 and add an additional 200 calories.
You’ve just spent over four dollars on 1100 calories.
With a little preparation over the weekend, you can pack a low-calorie, nutritious and tasty lunch for a fraction of the cost of that greasy monstrosity of a meal.
Your first thought may be to pack a sandwich. You’ll definitely be saving money, but you may be sacrificing taste and nutrition. The humble sandwich can often carry approximately 360 calories when made with two slices of bread (140 calories), one slice of cheese (80 calories), one serving of deli-sliced lunch meat (90 calories), one tablespoon of mayonnaise (50 calories). This option is indeed low-calorie, but it can often leave you feeling hungry.
For a more filling low-calorie lunch, consider skipping the tradition lunch meat and trying a more healthy option: real chicken. The price of a 12-ounce pack of deli-sliced lunch meat can cost $3.49. One whole chicken typically costs less than one dollar per pound. The savings are already adding up.
Cooking a whole chicken at home can cause some kitchen anxiety to novice cooks. Nothing could be easier, however. To cook a whole (thawed) chicken, simply remove the chicken from its packaging, remove the gizzards and any other tidbits that may have been stored in the body cavity along with the neck and rinse the chicken. Place the chicken in a 9 x 13 inch pan and sprinkle a little salt and pepper over the body along with a tablespoon of olive oil. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes per pound of chicken. Add an additional 15 minutes to the total cook time for browning.
Once the chicken is completely cooked and cooled slightly, remove the breast meat. The rest of the chicken can be used for numerous dishes. Save any leftover bones and chicken meat to make homemade broth.
Be sure to remove the skin from the breast meat. Divide the breast meat into portion sizes and store in the refrigerator. One ounce of chicken is a piece about the size of your thumb and generally has 50 calories, provides protein and doesn’t load you down with sodium like many packaged lunch meats.
Try this low-calorie and healthy option in your sandwiches, wraps and salads. The taste is amazing and you’ll have the satisfaction of cutting calories and saving money.
Lunch Idea: Chicken Wrap
- Joseph’s Lavash Bread
- Two ounces chicken breast meat, shredded
- One tablespoon Kraft reduced-fat olive oil mayonnaise
- One leaf romaine lettuce
- One carrot
- One tablespoon dill pickle relish
Cut one large rectangle of Joseph’s Lavash Bread in half, store the other half. Spread one tablespoon of Kraft reduced-fat olive oil mayonnaise on the Lavash. Place one large leaf of romaine lettuce on the Lavash. Using a potato-peeler, shave one medium carrot over the lettuce leaf. Top this with shredded chicken breast and finish with one tablespoon of dill relish. Roll the Lavash carefully making sure you don’t tear the soft bread.
This tasty lunch option has approximately 200 calories.