Low fat and low cost lunch tutorial

 Late last night, I made it to Co-op and bought greatly reduced goods. Beetroot, iceberg, cucumber and bread, both loaves and rolls. I always try to eat as much salad as I can even if that is a challenge at this time of year. The cheapest ingredients are always grated carrot and I also use diced beetroot (I buy a vac-pack for 38p with four cooked beetroot inside), which usually work out at 10p each if you buy the long life vac-packs and as salad doesn’t last, it’s usually to be found in the bargain basket. Don’t be put off by appearance, a few leaves into the compost will leave you with something delicious.

 Most supermarkets make their own version of ‘Feta’ cheese. It keeps for months as the vac-pack contains brine which preserves it for ages. Tesco and Asda do their own for 77p a pack and half a pack is 4 points (in old weight watchers). I also fill up the freezer with fancy bread rolls. Today I bought an assortment of rolls containing: onion, sun dried tomato and cheese.

 I cut mine up into crouton sized cubes, sprayed them with low calorie oil spray and grilled them until crispy.

 The result is a colourful, detoxing, delicious lunch. I used a ‘point free’ salad dressing and I finished with a small orange and a yogurt. The cheese, is no where near as nice a real Greek feta, but it’s cheap and just as nutritious. Lunch today was £1.08 per person.

 This weekend has had a lot of cooking, but it means I have to do very little this week. I’m quite happy to eat the same lunch for a week; if it makes my life easy, it’s quick, cheap, low fat and low in points. Here is the tutorial for pumpkin, chick pea and spinach tagine.

 Fry one chopped onion in three tablespoons of oil. Cook for five minutes, gently until soft and not brown.

 You can add Harissa paste if you have any, which I don’t so I used the recipe book’s direction of a half a teaspoon of each of the following: cumin, turmeric, cayenne pepper, ginger powder and sugar. Mix well and cook through for a few minutes.

 Add one tin of chopped tomatoes, 500g of peeled and chopped butternut squash and one tin of drained chick peas. Cook gently for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

 Half way through cooking, add two ‘chunks’ of frozen spinach. You could add more if you want. This was not in the recipe but I add it for its nutrition more than flavour. I need the iron.

 Whilst this is cooking, I re hydrated two packs of the lemon and coriander cous cous that came with my ‘Approved food’ order and when they were ready, I divided the cous cous into four portions into my storage boxes. 

 Here’s the finished veggie Tagine with the cous cous. Each portion, which is huge and yummy is 5 weight watchers points. I always have 5 for breakfast, 5 for lunch, 10 for dinner and I leave 2 for milk in my tea or coffee.

 The lunch cost 55p each. I have 40 minutes for lunch a day, but by the time I’ve met with students or listened to members of the faculty who might need me, then really, I just have the 20 minutes to eat and then it’s off to teach again. I need something, I heat in the microwave and eat in my office. There is nothing like home cooked food! I’m a great fan of cooked ‘school dinners’ and our school canteen is brilliant and I applaud the staff who eat there every day, as their full cost dining subsidised the canteen and a staff lunch is £2.75 a day, which is very cheap for a cooked two course lunch. If I did that I would spend £550 a year. My homemade alternatives cost £100. Dearly Beloved has tortilla wraps with salad, ham and mayonnaise this week and his lunch will be of a similar price too.

Cool before you refrigerate and then chill before you freeze. Take to work frozen if, like me, you don’t have a fridge in your office, it will then defrost slowly until lunch time, microwave for three minutes, allow to stand for one minute, then eat.


7 thoughts on “Low fat and low cost lunch tutorial

  1. That looks nice – thanks for the idea. I was just sitting here wondering about my lunches for the week. I took pitta with couscous and salad every day last week so I fancy a change.


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