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Easy, inexpensive healthy lunchboxes to help you get back to work


Get ahead of the lunch queue by packing lunch yourself (and save $1000 or more per year!)

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Easy, inexpensive healthy lunchboxes to help you get back to work

As we head back to work for the new year, start the year with a routine that sticks, can help you make healthier food choices, as well as saving you money. Lockdowns and ‘work-from-home' arrangements in the last few years have increased snacking amongst adults. A study of 4,500 Australian adults found that grazing on food and drinks was associated with a higher risk of weight gain as well as poorer diet quality.

Often times people have one or more meals and snacks whilst at work. Lack of time and convenience create an environment for more snacking, and a preference for meals that are convenient but often don't meet your nutrition needs. Over-time, the cost of purchasing meals and the frequent consumption of takeaway foods can add up, both in terms of the cost to your budget, as well as to productivity at work, and your overall health.

The recipes that we share on No Money No Time make great lunches and are developed to help you to hit the recommended intakes for all five food groups including fruit, vegetables, grains, dairy, meat and or meat alternatives.

Try these tips for a stress-free lunchbox that saves money and time!

Plan ahead

Planning is key to success. If you do just one thing to help you eat better the next day, pack your lunchbox the night before and put it in the fridge ready to pack up, when you're heading out the door. Save even more time and clean up by doing it alongside your evening meal preparation and tidy up. A study of 40,000 French adults found over half were doing some form of meal prepping. Those who meal prepped the most had higher diet quality and were less likely to have obesity.

Try cooking extra food so you have leftovers for the next day’s lunch, or portion out leftovers into microwave safe containers and pop in the fridge (or freezer). Prep salad by add green leafy salad mix, baby carrots and cherry tomatoes into containers or snap lock bags.

The freezer is your friend!

Beat boredom by popping leftovers into the freezer in single serve portions for the next week, or as a backup when you have run out of time to prepare your lunch. Most foods are freezer friendly, except for some vegetables with a high-water content (e.g. cucumber, and lettuce), poultry with stuffing and cream or yoghurt-based dishes or sauces. Check food packaging labels and recipe notes to see if they are freezer friendly and storage times.

Freezer hack: Freeze a water bottle to use as a freezer brick in your lunchbox to keep your items cool! It also doubles as a drink once defrosted.

Check our other NMNT hacks for freezing here.

Focus on the savings!

Budget friendly lunches and snacks are a money saver. Foods often purchased from a drive thru, fast-food outlet or, petrol station cost around $10-$15 per meal. Try our meal suggestions that are easy to prepare at home, are yum and give you variety. We estimate these meals will cost you between $5 and $6, which over the year may save you upwards of $1000* per person!

Lunch #1 No cook, no fuss meal deal

Total cost: $5.60

  • 1 x 95g tin of tuna in olive oil (drained)
    • with 1 cup of microwavable brown rice
    • and 1 x 125g can edamame beans OR corn
  • 1 x 170g tub of Yoghurt
  • 1 orange

Lunch #2 – Freezer friendly meal

Total cost: $5.67

Lunch #3 Simple yet effective

Total cost: $5.20

Lunch #4 – Ready in under 30 minutes

Total cost: $5.85

Lunch #5 – Multiple serves, multiple meals

Total cost: $3.12

The bottom line

Use our NMNT tips to help power your workday, beat the 3pm slump and boost your energy levels and brain power!

*based on a comparison of buying your lunch, each day for a year ($10), compared to the cost of preparing and bringing your lunch each day for one year ($7).

Your Personal Healthy Eating Quiz

What you eat or don’t eat affects how you look, feel and perform. Take our short quiz to find out what foods you could introduce to help you be your best.

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What is healthy eating?

Eating healthy is making sure you enjoy a wide variety of foods from each of the five major food groups daily, in the amounts recommended. The five major food groups as recommended by the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating are:

  1. vegetables and legumes/bean
  2. fruit
  3. lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, legumes/beans
  4. grain (cereal) foods, mostly wholegrain and/or high cereal fibre varieties
  5. milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or alternatives, mostly reduced fat.

Foods are grouped together because they provide similar amounts of key nutrients and eating a variety of foods from the list above helps to promote good health and reduce the risk of disease.

How do I improve my diet?

If you want to improve your diet you have come to the right place. By completing the Healthy Eating Quiz you’ll receive instant personalised feedback and a report on your diet quality to highlight any areas where you can improve your overall eating habits. Your score is based on the frequency and variety of the foods consumed from the five major food groups mentioned above. No Money No Time can help you improve your score by providing tips, goals and suggestions. On top of this we will provide quick, cheap and healthy recipes as well as credible answers to diet hacks, myths and FAQ’s.

Is my diet healthy?

Dietary habits are different between people. Some people choose to follow a particular diet (i.e., Keto diet or vegan diet) while some have to make changes due to certain food restrictions or health conditions. If you want to know if what you usually eat is healthy, then do the Healthy Eating Quiz today to give you the answers in less than 10 minutes.

Why is healthy eating important?

Your HEQ score and personalised feedback report is based on the frequency and variety of healthy core foods you usually eat. This is important because no single food contains all the nutrients we need to stay healthy. Some foods are higher in nutrients than others and people who have a lot of variety in the foods they eat are more likely to be healthy and to stay healthy. In other words, if you can eat a large variety of vegetables as opposed to only 2-3 types of vegetables, the benefits are much greater. This type of diet also helps you to feel better, think better and perform better during your usual daily activities.

Take the Healthy Eating Quiz