First of all, look for free food on campus. Where I am, the GSA has a weekly Friday Morning Coffee & Bagel Breakfast, and it’s fantastic. (They also have donuts, but I don’t really care about those. Bagels & cream-cheese are far more substantive.)
Free food is a great money saver. For obvious reasons.
Second, let me tell you about my lunch. This one requires a little bit more “up front” purchase (as in, I purchased an expensive blender at the beginning of September that I’d been saving up for this summer), and the ingredients might be a bit more expensive. But I think net cost was still about $1 per serving. (And I only made enough for myself.) Spending about $1 for lunch I think is a pretty reasonable price.
Also, please note that I did not actually measure anything. But do a variation on this, and you’ll probably be good.
PB&J & Fruit Smoothie
First of all, please note that I am not a health nut. I put spinach in primarily as filler, and as a way to make sure I would actually eat my vegetables (but without actually having to taste them.) This was basically a way for me to have dessert for lunch, and to be able to justify it. 🙂 I am basically a “healthy eater” only when it tastes better (or costs less) than the alternatives. Mac & Cheese for this particular instance would have been a bit too warm, and would have taken too long to make. So, please don’t get scared off by the word “spinach!”
And I actually like the flavor of flax. It complements the peanut butter quite well, and again helps me justify having dessert for lunch.
- A handful or two of spinach. This was probably less than a quarter of the $2 bag of spinach I got a while ago. So let’s call it $.50.
- Some lemon juice to cancel out the flavor of the spinach. (Negligible price.)
- Probably about 1.5 TBSP of Peanut Butter. (About $0.10. Remember, I bought in bulk. And the peanut butter I got was pure peanut. Yum!)
- About 1 TBSP flax meal. (Optional. I have a large bag of it, so I threw some in.)
- About 5 large ice cubes. I don’t pay for water, so that was free.
- Some frozen grapes. (Also optional. I used few enough that I can’t really taste them.)
- Some frozen strawberries. (You might want to use more than I did.) I used about 1/5 of the $2 bag that I got, so about $0.40.
- A teaspoon or so of Strawberry Preserves. I got a huge thing here. Let’s call it about $0.05 for the jam.
- A bit of liquid from the fridge to thin it out a bit. Can put more ice in instead to decrease the cost.
Total Cost: $1.05. (And ingredients can be varied to make it a bit less than $1. And I once again probably overestimated how much the spinach cost.)
I then used my Vitamix blender to turn it into a drinkable substance. It was the perfect lunch for right after about 2.5 hours of bike riding and navigating around the hot campus to try to find where to purchase a bus pass and learn my way around.
I hope you enjoy!