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Save Money on Lunch and Eat Healthier

Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Save Money on Lunch and Eat Healthier

Eating out can be a quick and easy lunchtime solution during busy workdays, but that convenience comes as a cost. Many fast food options are low in nutrients and high in empty calories. Luckily, a little planning goes a long way, and you don’t need to spend a lot of extra time planning and packing healthy lunches for work.

A salad or sandwich can be prepared in just a few minutes the night before. When preparing a salad, be sure to pack the dressing separately so the lettuce doesn’t get soggy! To make a healthy and filling sandwich, use hearty whole grain bread, and focus on combining a variety of vegetables with lean protein. And don’t forget to bring a snack, such as an apple, in case you become hungry later.

Here are some tips for low fat substitutes

Use this chart as a reference for selecting healthier food options when you’re eating out or preparing meals.


Instead of

Water;coffee;tea or 100% fruit or vegetable juice

Soda or fruit-flavored drinks

Fresh fruit; dried fruit and unsweetened juices

Sweetened canned fruits and juices

Bagels that are 3½ in. or smaller

Regular bagels

Light margarine; fat-free cream cheese; jam or jelly

Butter; full fat cream cheese or peanut butter

Whole grain waffles and French toast

Waffles and French toast made with white bread

Salad with fat-free dressing on the side

Full fat dressing on the salad

Pasta salad made with low-fat dressing

Pasta salad made with mayonnaise or cream dressing

Lean meats; fish and tofu (3 grams of fat per ounce)

High-fat and fried meats; bacon; poultry with skin; cold cut and oil-packed fish

Steamed vegetables

Vegetables in cream sauces or butter

Fresh vegetables served with fat-free dressing; salsa or tofu dip

Tempura or deep fried vegetables

Broiled or poached seafood; shrimp; salmon; scallops; oysters or clams

Deep fried seafood with high-fat sauces

Cubes of low-fat cheese that are ¾-inch squares or smaller

Slices of cheese

Dips made of salsa; fat-free cottage cheese; hummus or low-fat salad dressing

Dips made from regular mayonnaise; sour cream; cream cheese or cheese sauce

Low-fat or skim milk

Whole or 2% milk

Low-fat yogurt or cottage cheese

Regular yogurt or cottage cheese

Muffins that are 2½ in. or smaller

Large muffins; croissants; doughnuts; sweet rolls or pastries

Unsweetened, whole grain cereal

Sugar cereal

Lean ham or Canadian bacon; vegetable sausage or bacon substitute

Bacon or sausage

Soups made with vegetable purée or skim milk

Soups made with cream or half-and-half

Sandwiches made with whole grain bread

Sandwiches made with croissants or white bread

Baked potato with low-fat or vegetable toppings

Baked potato with butter, sour cream and bacon bits

Low-fat ice cream; low-fat frozen yogurt; sherbet; sorbet or angel food cake

High-fat and high-calorie desserts; ice cream; cheesecake; pie; cream puffs; large slices of cake

Miniature meatballs made with lean turkey or beef

Large meatballs made from high-fat meat with gravy or high-fat sauce

Fresh vegetable spring rolls

Egg rolls

Low-fat popcorn that has 5 grams of fat or less per serving

Regular popcorn with butter; potato chips

Slices of cake that are 2 inches or smaller

Large slices of cake with ice cream

Spreads for sandwiches

Avocado Spread
1 Tbsp. = 29 calories

Dijon Mustard
1 Tbsp. = 15 calories

Olive Tapenade
1 Tbsp. = 25 calories

Material posted on this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a legal opinion or medical advice. Contact your legal representative or medical professional for information specific to your legal or medical needs.

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