Affordable and healthy lunch option ideas

Affordable and healthy lunch option ideas

Created: August 18, 2023 07:58

Growing your own produce takes practice, skill and luck, but can be very productive for many people (Photo by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

Well I did think the comments might have gotten a little excited in last week’s column! If you think $18 is high for an “affordable” lunch, please note that we say that we value $18 which is high for many people, that we exclude weighty salad bars, that we only value healthy dishes and are typically less expensive to prepare. lunch from home. I understand, food prices here are very high, but prices are rising everywhere and getting supplies to the rock in the middle of the ocean is getting more and more expensive.

so what can we do? First, growing your own produce takes practice, skill, and luck, but can be very productive for many people. Even those without a proper garden can grow tomatoes or herbs in a window box. If you’re lucky enough to have more room, then potatoes, carrots, green beans, kale, passion fruit, butternut squash and watermelon are all fine here. I have a notorious black thumb (and recently killed a beautiful plant I was given for Mother’s Day… parenting fails!) but some things are easier than others. I’ve had the most success growing rosemary and green beans… what I need is a friend who can grow other crops and then we can all swap!

If you need a little help with your growing future, then Aberfeldy offers classes, as does Agra Living Institute (@agra_living). You can also follow @creative_explained on Instagram for some quick and fun fruit/veggie/herb growing tips.

However, for many people, growing enough produce to make a significant difference to their bottom line is not a reality. This is where we have to get more practical, and, despite last week’s column, making your OWN lunches can have an impact on your weekly expenses.

One of the tastiest ways to take a healthy lunch to work (and make it something you actually look forward to) is to make a jar salad. Mason jars are affordable and reusable – you can actually use any glass jar with a lid. I bought a tray of 12 mason jars for about $25 at Gorhams and we use a few of them as cocktail glasses or flower vases from the garden.

Lining the salad in a jar with the dressing on the bottom means all your ingredients stay crisp and fresh. It also looks very pretty and there is no doubt that good looking food is more appetizing. Once you’re ready for lunch, you simply toss it all into a bowl and throw it away!

The recipe below is my classic Moroccan Salad which has been a huge favorite for years. You can make it for one or multiply it by as many servings as you like and make multiple jars or serve it family style according to the directions below.

This concept is very easy to edit. So if you don’t like quinoa, try pasta or wild rice (but use 2-day brown rice.) Not sure what you think of cumin? Try curry powder instead. Don’t like chickpeas? Switch to peanuts or other nuts. Not coriander people? Try basil or parsley. Pistachios too expensive? Try almonds. Get creative and make whatever switches you like. Enjoy!

Mason Jar Moroccan Salad

You will need one medium-sized jar for each salad. Once prepared, it keeps in the fridge for up to 4 days, so you can prepare some ahead of time.

Ingredients: (For 1 Serving)

Big handful of green leaves

1 cup cooked quinoa

¼ cup dried cranberries or fresh pomegranate seeds

1 orange (peeled and sliced)

A handful of chickpeas (garbanzos)

A handful of chopped cucumbers

1 tablespoon each of fresh mint and cilantro

1 tbsp crushed pistachios

Seasoned yogurt sauce:

2 Tbsp plain yogurt (organic milk or non-GMO Alpro soy)

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp maple syrup

¼ tsp ground cumin (more to taste)

White pepper and salt to taste


1, Prepare the sauce and ingredients. Whisk your sauce well. You can simply shake all the sauce ingredients together in the jar, but this will make your end result look a bit messy.

2, So, after shaking, add your sauce to the bottom of the jar. Then layer the remaining salad ingredients in the order listed above – starting with the green leaves and ending with the pistachios. Close the lid and store in the refrigerator. When it’s lunch time, just empty it into a large bowl and stir!

3, If preparing for a large crowd, you can increase the number and prepare this family style. Spread the quinoa over the bottom of a large plate. Once cool, cover the quinoa with the green leaves. Layer the pomegranate/cranberry, chickpeas, cucumber and orange. Drizzle with sauce then sprinkle with pistachios and herbs.

The advice provided in this article is not meant to replace medical advice, but to complement it. Always consult your doctor if you have health problems.

• Catherine Burns is a qualified nutrition therapist. Look for Natural Nutrifit & Nutrition, Bermuda on Facebook and @naturalbda on Instagram

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