16 Healthy Lunches That Cost Less Than $2 to Make


When I started my first full-time job, I quickly developed the bad (but common) habit of spending way too much on lunch. What started out as an excuse to get up from my desk and stretch my legs a little bit turned into $12 salads nearly every day. It was all good and fun, until I looked at my bank account and realized that I wouldn’t have enough for rent at the rate I was going. If I wanted to save any of the money I was earning, I’d have to cut out my lunch habit, and fast.

It took me so long to come around to the idea of packing lunch, because I kind of thought it was impossible for a packed lunch to ever be truly delicious. But I started making my own lunches out of necessity, and was pleasantly surprised at the result. With a little planning (and maybe some Sunday meal prep) it’s totally possible to enjoy homemade tacos, stuffed peppers, soups and more for lunch without having to spend very much at all.

If you’re new to the lunch packing game, start with these 16 recipes, all of which cost way less than those $12 salads. Each recipe will only cost you $2 to make according to prices provided by the bloggers or calculated on Peapod. Healthy, tasty, and inexpensive, they’ll make you feel like the fiscally responsible, well-fed adult you are.

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Zero Sugar, 4 Ingredient, Dreamy Coconut Almond Butter Fudge

almond butter fudge

Made with just a handful of nourishing ingredients in less than five minutes (plus freezer time), this creamy almond butter fudge is a nutrient-dense, healthy fat-filled way to get your chocolate fix without the guilt.

Traditional fudge, although super delicious, isn’t considered a nutrient-dense food. This almond butter fudge, made with coconut butter, coconut oil, and cacao powder, totally is. Because it’s sugar free and filled with energy-boosting superfoods, it’s a delicious pre-workout snack, too.

Coconut butter, also called coconut manna, is made from the pureed meat of coconut. Containing fiber, healthy fats, plant sterols, and vitamins C and E, coconut butter is not your typical coconut oil. It’s a rich and creamy treat loaded with flavor and texture.

When purchasing coconut butter, look for an organic and minimally processed version. Coconut butter, like coconut oil, solidifies and separates at room temperature, leaving oil on top on coconut meat on the bottom. To combine, place jar of coconut butter in a warm bowl of water and let sit for 30 minutes. The coconut butter should be spreadable and creamy, like a smooth nut butter.

Coconut oil, like coconut butter, also contains healthy fats. These fats, also known as medium-chain fatty acids (MCTs), are metabolized and used by the body for quick energy. Unlike saturated fats of long and short length, MCTs do not need to be processed by the digestive system.

Almond butter is another excellent source of healthy fats and makes this almond butter fudge creamy as can be. Almonds contain monounsaturated fats, which are associated with lowered risk of heart disease, diabetes, and high cholesterol, among others.

These nuts are also rich in protein, B vitamins, vitamin E, copper, magnesium, and fiber. When purchasing almond butter, look for a jar without any added sugars, oils, or artificial anything – even better, make your own!

Cacao powder is a delicious way to enjoy the flavor and associated health benefits of chocolate. Minimally processed and unsweetened, cacao powder is packed with antioxidants, magnesium, and iron. Numerous studies have shown cacao and dark chocolate to promote heart health, reduce blood pressure, and reduce inflammation. Choose an organic, raw cacao powder and enjoy the chocolate goodness. (Note: a little cacao powder goes a long way in recipes.)

Four ingredients, zero sugar, a whole lot of goodness, this coconut almond butter fudge is a dream come true.

almond butter fudge

Zero Sugar, 4 Ingredient, Dreamy Coconut Almond Butter Fudge


  • ¾ cup almond butter
  • ¼ cup coconut butter
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 2 tsp cacao powder


  1. Add almond butter, coconut butter, and coconut oil to a small saucepan. Gently warm over low heat until all ingredients are combined.
  2. Remove from heat and whisk in cacao powder until fully incorporated.
  3. Pour melted fudge into 12 lined cupcake tins or into a 6×6 pan.
  4. Place fudge in the freezer for 45 minutes to set. If using a pan, gently cut fudge into squares and place in a container to store in freezer.
  5. If using cupcake liners, remove from cupcake tin and store in a container in the freezer.
  6. Freezer fudge will keep in the freezer for up to 5 months. Enjoy!



Related On Organic Authority
Vegan Chocolate Fudge Popsicles Recipes with Avocado and Nuts
Raw Cocoa Coconut Fudge Recipe
Just One Bite of this Vegan Chocolate Caramel Bar Will Make You Feel Divine

Photos by Kate Gavlick

Kate Gavlick

Kate Gavlick

Kate is a Nutritionist with a Master’s of Nutrition from the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon and the blogger and photographer of Vegukate. Kate believes in nourishing the whole body with real, vibrant foods that feed the mind, body, soul, gut, and every single little cell. Her philosophy is simple when it comes to food and nourishment: cut the processed junk, listen to your body, eat by the seasons, eat plates and bowls filled with color, stress less, and enjoy every single bite. When she’s not cooking in her too tiny Portland kitchen, Kate can be found perusing farmer’s markets, doing barre classes, hiking, reading, and exploring.

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11 Frozen Cocktails Under 200 Calories


When warmer weather rolls around, frozen cocktails are my jam. Every year like clockwork I count down the days until the temperature is high enough for me to whip out my Vitamix and blend up a batch of piña coladas to enjoy in the sun. Every time, that first sip of icy coconut, pineapple, and rum is just as fantastic as I remember.

The thing is, piña coladas and most other frozen drinks kind of double as dessert. They’re often high in sugar, alcohol and not much else. And, while you don’t have to swear off sugar or alcohol completely in order to be healthy, the USDA recommends getting no more than 10 percent of your daily calories from added sugar, and drinking alcohol in moderation, if at all. So, having some lower-alcohol, lower-sugar cocktail recipes up your sleeve can be really handy.

These 11 recipes include all the classic frozen cocktails you’ll crave during the summer, but none of them are over 200 calories per suggested serving size. Basically, all of them are a good bet for keeping cool all spring and summer long.

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Are there unhealthy vegetarian foods? – Nutrilicious

Vegetarian diets are touted for their many health benefits but you can also eat lots of unhealthy food on a vegetarian diet.  The grocery store is full of packaged, processed vegetarian foods with long and complicated ingredient lists.  As with any healthy diet we want to stick to the perimeter of the grocery store and minimize the amount of food we buy from the middle aisles.

A few key watch-outs for those choosing vegetarian food:

Faux meats:

Faux meats including bologna slices, ham and bacon are definitely easy vegetarian sandwich options. However, they are super processed and come with a long list of unpronounceable components including artificial ingredients, preservatives, oils and salt. Some healthier sandwich options include:

. hummus and veggies

. avocado, lettuce and tomato

. nut butter and banana

. mozzarella cheese, pesto and tomato

. tempeh bacon, lettuce and tomato


Alongside faux meat comes veggie burgers and veggie hotdogs. They are also highly processed and contain way too many ingredients to count. These too should not be eaten on a regular basis.  However, there has been lots of product innovation in the veggie burger category and more and more new burgers are reaching the grocery stores these days. Most of the new products I have seen are frozen and have really simple, clean ingredient lists so read labels carefully. Homemade veggie burgers are easy to make so look for recipes online, make a batch and keep them in the freezer. See recipe below.


Bread and pasta:

When people give up meat they sometimes look for quick, easy-to-prepare foods they know will fill them up like bread and pasta. The challenge here is these foods will spike blood sugar and leave you hungry soon after you finish eating. The best option is to look for breads and pastas made from whole grains which will take longer to digest thus keeping blood sugar levels stable longer. Also adding some clean vegetarian protein will help stave off those hunger pangs.


Nuts and seeds:

Nuts and seeds are great sources of vitamins, minerals and even protein. For those following a vegetarian diet adding nuts or seeds to meals or as a snack can really increase your nutrient intake. However, you want to make sure you buy raw, if possible, unsalted/unseasoned nuts and seeds as some seasonings contain high amounts of salt, sugar, oil and even msg.


Protein powders:

One of the most common, though sometimes unfounded, concerns for those following a vegetarian diet is protein intake. Some people choose to add protein powder to their morning smoothies. These protein powders can be made from whey, pea or brown rice which are all vegetarian sources however they may also contain not-so-healthy ingredients, are highly processed and may contain added sugars and artificial ingredients. To add protein to smoothies consider nuts or seeds (hemp is my personal favourite as you can even buy hemp protein powder), nut or seed butters or even silken tofu or soy milk.

Following a vegetarian diet shouldn’t post too many challenges as long as you eat good quality, whole foods. If you are looking for tips and tricks about vegetarian diets, sign up for my newsletter. Or if you have any questions you can email me at karen@nutrilicious.ca.




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One Soup – Three Ways

I feel extra enthusiastic about this post partly because I think we are on to something good here. But also because this headline speaks so much to my magazine-publishing-heart (my previous career).

This is a dinner concept that we have played around with lately and it works particularly well for families with sensitive eaters or allergies. The idea is built around cooking one recipe base and then making some last minute add-ins to suit various preferences. Or to turn the leftovers of one dish into a new one the next day. The base can be anything from a salad, a basic stew, a cooked grain, a good sauce or, as here, a soup.

In this recipe we are taking a simple tomato broth soup in three different directions.

The kids love this with tortellini (or any other pasta) dropped into it. They actually prefer it to tomato sauce. Luise and I like to let a chunk of mozzarella (or burrata cheese) melt in the soup and serve it with some leftover cooked quinoa to make it more filling. Another favorite of ours is to stir chopped kale, chickpeas and a little chili paste into the broth and topping it with avocado for a chunkier vegan version.

The way it usually works is that we cook one big batch of broth and then pour the kids version in a smaller sauce pan, drop in the ravioli and let it cook for another minute or two until soft. While we stir in or other add-ins to our version. It’s an excellent way to add some heat and more herbs to your own soup while keeping your kids or partners soup milder.

You can of course keep it simple and just do one of these. Or mix them up, adding chickpeas to the ravioli or mozzarella to the kale. Or combine them all!

Think of it as good base to build from and use the last minute add-ins to suit your personal preference. If you like this concept we might be back with the same ideas applied on other meals in a later post.


Simple Tomato Broth Soup
Serves 4

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp ground paprika powder
3 carrots
3 celery stalks
1 x 400 g / 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
4 cups / 1 liter vegetable stock
sea salt

Fresh thyme
Fresh basil

Heat oil in a large thick-bottomed sauce pan on medium heat. Add tomato puree, onion, garlic and ground paprika and let sauté for 5 minutes. Peel and clean the carrots and celery and chop into bite-sized dices. Add to the pan and let sauté for a few more minutes. Then add chopped tomatoes and vegetable stock and let simmer under a lid for 15-20 minutes. Taste and adjust the flavoring, adding some fresh thyme or basil towards the end. You can also add more stock, if needed. Choose your favorite way of serving this soup, see recipe ideas below.


Vegan Cavolo Nero & Chickpea Soup
Serves 4

1 batch Simple Tomato Broth Soup (see recipe above)
5 leaves cavolo nero or kale, coarsely chopped
1/2 can cooked chickpeas (approx 100 g)
1 tsp harissa or another chili paste (optional)
1 avocado, to serve
lemon zest, to serve
olive oil

Stir in chopped cavolo nero, chickpeas and harissa to the soup during the last minutes of cooking. Laddle the soup into serving bowls and top with avocado slices, lemon zest and a splash of olive oil.


Tortellini Drop Soup
1 batch Simple Tomato Broth Soup (see recipe above)
1 bag good quality fresh tortellini
micro greens or sprouts, to serve

grated vegetarian parmesan cheese, to serve

Simply drop the tortellini straight into the soup as it’s cooking on the stove. After about two minutes (check the pasta package for exakt time), it’s ready to serve. Divide into soup bowls, grate over parmesan cheese and top with micro greens and drizzle with olive oil.


Quinoa & Mozzarella Melt Soup
1 batch Simple Tomato Broth Soup (see recipe above)
2 cups cooked quinoa
200 g buffalo mozzarella or burrata cheese

Laddle the soup into serving bowls and add a couple of spoonfuls cooked quinoa to each bowl. Break the cheese into smaller pieces and let it melt in the hot soup. Top with a drizzle of olive oil, black pepper and fresh thyme.


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This Italian Crockpot Chicken with Garlic and Basil is Pasta Night Comfort Food

crockpot chicken

Enjoying a delicious and protein-filled pasta night has never been easier thanks to this easy Italian crockpot chicken recipe with tomato sauce, garlic, and fresh basil. Simply put all the ingredients in a crockpot, leave it for the day, and return home to quick (and healthy!) comfort food.

This crockpot chicken recipe couldn’t be easier. All you’ll need are two frozen chicken breasts and a handful of other pantry ingredients. If your chicken is already thawed, have no fear! Simply cook the chicken in the crockpot for less time.

Choose certified organic chicken, if possible, or purchase chicken locally from a farmers market. Many labels on packaged chicken, such as sustainably farmed and humanely raised, are unverifiable and actually give no indication for how the chicken was raised. Choosing organic chicken means that the chicken was raised without antibiotics or hormones and complies with the USDA’s definition of organic practices.

Organic frozen chicken is combined with tomato sauce and hearty, Italian flavors in a crockpot. Choose plain organic tomato sauce, or one that hasn’t been sweetened or filled with preservatives and additives. Find glass jars or cardboard boxes of plain tomato sauce for this recipe at local health food stores or Whole Foods Market.

Balsamic vinegar is a delicious addition to this crockpot chicken recipe and adds a hint of acid and balance to the sauce. When slow cooked, balsamic vinegar sweetens and has a remarkable taste.

Whole cloves of garlic and onion infuse into the sauce to create a heavenly tasting (and smelling) sauce. When cooked low and slow, both garlic and onion sweeten and take on a caramelized, rich flavor.

After cooking for hours, this crockpot chicken is ready to go. Simply shred the chicken with a fork and serve with your favorite pasta noodles, baked spaghetti squash, or zucchini zoodles. Top with fresh basil and enjoy a hearty comfort classic!

crockpot chicken

Italian Crockpot Chicken with Tomatoes and Garlic


  • 2 frozen chicken breasts
  • 4 cups tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ½ white onion, chopped
  • 6-8 cloves whole garlic, peeled
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon tea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh basil, chopped, to garnish


  1. Combine all ingredients, except for fresh basil, in a crockpot.
  2. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours.
  3. After cooking, use a fork to shred chicken in the crockpot.
  4. Serve chicken with fresh basil and sauce over pasta, spaghetti squash, or alongside vegetables. Enjoy!


If your chicken is already thawed, cook for 4 hours instead.



Related On Organic Authority
Protein-Packed Vegetable and Lentil Crockpot Soup with Herbs de Provence
Take It Slow: 5 Classic Crockpot Recipes Worth The Wait
Rock These Steel Cut Vegan Overnight Oats in Your Slow Cooker Like a Boss

Photos by Kate Gavlick

Kate Gavlick

Kate Gavlick

Kate is a Nutritionist with a Master’s of Nutrition from the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon and the blogger and photographer of Vegukate. Kate believes in nourishing the whole body with real, vibrant foods that feed the mind, body, soul, gut, and every single little cell. Her philosophy is simple when it comes to food and nourishment: cut the processed junk, listen to your body, eat by the seasons, eat plates and bowls filled with color, stress less, and enjoy every single bite. When she’s not cooking in her too tiny Portland kitchen, Kate can be found perusing farmer’s markets, doing barre classes, hiking, reading, and exploring.

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Panna Cotta and Kombucha Jello Slice – Deliciously Organic

Honey-sweetened panna cotta is a favorite spring dessert, so I thought it would be fun to layer it with a cookie crust and strawberry kombucha jello!

Honey-sweetened panna cotta is a favorite spring dessert, so I thought it would be fun to layer it with a cookie crust and strawberry kombucha jello!

To be honest, I was a bit crunched for time last week so I used Simple Mills grain-free pecan cookies for the crust. They are made with all wholesome ingredients and taste fabulous! You can change out the pecan cookie crust for a graham cracker crust if you prefer.

The middle layer is panna cotta and then I topped it all off with homemade kombucha jello. I chose strawberry, but you can change out the flavor of kombucha or the berries on top depending on your taste.

Here are some other springtime desserts you might enjoy:

Tres Leches Cake
Strawberry Sherbet
Angel Food Cake
Frozen Yogurt
Chocolate Berry Tart

Panna Cotta and Strawberry Kombucha Slice (Grain-Free)

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  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF and adjust the rack to the middle position. Place the cookies and butter in a food processor and pulse until crumbled and moist. Press the cookie mixture into an 11×7” baking dish lined with parchment paper. Bake for 11 minutes. Cool and then put in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, pour 1 cup coconut milk into a medium saucepan and sprinkle evenly with the gelatin. Let the milk sit for 5-10 minutes to allow the gelatin to soften. Heat the milk and gelatin over medium heat, stirring constantly, until gelatin is dissolved and milk begins to steam. Stir the remaining 3 cups coconut milk and honey into the warm milk and whisk until all the ingredients are dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Let the mixture cool to room temperature. When cooled, pour all but 1/2 cup of the panna cotta mixture over the cold cookie crust. (Pour the remaining 1/2 cup panna cotta mixture into a small bowl and enjoy it by itself later) Put the baking dish into the refrigerator and chill for 2 hour until mostly set.
  3. Meanwhile, combine 1/2 cup kombucha and gelatin in a measuring cup and let sit for 5 minutes (this allows the gelatin to bloom). Heat over low while stirring constantly until the gelatin is dissolved, about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the remaining kombucha. Cool completely. When cooled, pour it over the chilled panna cotta and top with berries. Place in the refrigerator and let chill for at least 5 hours until set. Slice and serve cold.




Copyright 2016 Deliciously Organic


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