The Cost of Meals at Work, Cut in Half
by BRONSON PAGE
For the past four years, I’ve spent a total daily average of $12 on breakfast and lunch from the cafeteria at work. This translates to about $3,000 a year, for four years… you get the picture. Plus we all grazed on snacks provided by the company. With the financial downturn, they were the first perk to go. If I went to lunch off-site, with coworkers, I would spend $20 instead of $12. So given the national belt-tightening, and the effect of company-sponsored Danish butter cookies on my waistline, I challenged myself to find an alternative to the self-indulgent work time nosh.
Choosing from Trader Joe’s selection of ready-made meals and other non-refrigerated goods, I assembled the following meals for about $50: breakfasts and lunches for two work weeks, with only three items that need refrigeration, and the rest fitting into a standard desk drawer.
I chose 10 different entrees: ready-made Indian, Spanish, Thai and quiche selections. They range in price from $1.49 to $2.19, and only the quiche requires refrigeration. I increased the protein with almond butter in place of peanut butter, and by mixing a can of tuna into the ethnic food selections before warming it in the microwave. The spiciness masked any heavy tuna flavor, and it tasted great.
Next time, I’ll try it at Von’s and let you know how it goes.