Cheap nourishing lunch for office workers

5 simple ideas for a lunch time snack

In these hard economic times, every one is trying to make a saving. Most advisers will tell you that “eating out” is one of the drains on your wallet. Many people cannot go back home for lunch due to the inconvinience of distance and the time it will take make the lunch. Eating at a restaurant is usually the easiest option which must be treated the same as “eating out.” If you really must save, this drain on your resources must bel plugged without starving in the process.

The best option is to carry some packed food from home. If you drive to work, you really have no excuse for not packing a sandwich or other simple meal. This is probably the cheapest option. There is a wide range of plastics and glassware that designed for the microwave for you to invest in. If there is no microwave in the office, then you will need a flask that can keep the food warm for several hours.

This hub is about fixing a simple meal in the office if you choose not to carry something from home. The assumption is that you do have an office microwave. If you do not have one, then you must start plans to have one.


Acquire a microwave for the office cheaply

From where I come from the cheapest microwave goes for about Ksh. 5000 (about $58). Many executives can buy one with their lose change. If you have 5 or more coleagues, you contribute an equal share (peanuts really) for a communal office microwave! In my office, we contributed Ksh. 500 each (about six dollars). When you have a microwave in the office, you can bring your cold meals from home and warm them at lunch time.


Make quick, cheap nourishing meals with the Office microwave

No matter how hard you try to carry food from home, there will be that one time when you don’t have the time, or the mood to pack the food. Sometimes you might not feel motivated enough to carry lunch with you even if it is right there in your kitchen. Hunger will eventually strike when everybody else breaks for lunch, so have a contingency plan such as the following suggestions:


Noodles that are ready to eat in 3 minutes!
Noodles that are ready to eat in 3 minutes! | Source

1. Instant noodles – these are simple to make in a microwave. they come in several flavours - chicken, beef, lobsters etc. It takes only the addition of water and three minutes in the microwave. The price ranges from Ksh. 20 (less than a quarter dollar) to 50 (less than 1 dollar) in Nairobi supermarkets.

An example of Soya chunks - a good alternative to animal protein. There are many brands in the market
An example of Soya chunks - a good alternative to animal protein. There are many brands in the market | Source

2. Soya Chunks – these are made from Soya beans and are designed to look like pieces of beef. The cheapest costs about Ksh. 40 for a 90grammes packet. Ideally, some onions and tomato are added at home in a pan to make them tasty. In the office, you can use tomato paste and other powdered spices that you can keep in a drawer for a quick office meal. Soya chunks take 3 minutes to make in a microwave with only the addition of water and some salt to taste.

a. If you carry a pancake from home, these soya chunks can be turned into a quick stew by the addition of more water and tomato paste.

b. The soya chunks can be added to the instant noodles described above for addition flavour and protein.

Put the noodles in a microwave-safe dish. This one is thick glassware
Put the noodles in a microwave-safe dish. This one is thick glassware | Source
Add the Soya chunks, spices that came with the noodles and any other spice that you may desire such as chilli. You may even add a teaspoonful of magarine and a pinch of salt.
Add the Soya chunks, spices that came with the noodles and any other spice that you may desire such as chilli. You may even add a teaspoonful of magarine and a pinch of salt. | Source
Add water and microwave for three minutes. If you do not have a microwave, pour boiling water over the noodles and cover tightly for four the three minutes - enjoy
Add water and microwave for three minutes. If you do not have a microwave, pour boiling water over the noodles and cover tightly for four the three minutes - enjoy | Source

3. Sweet potato – Sweet potatoes take 5 minutes in a microwave. Four huge sweet potatoes cost Ksh. 50 – enough for four days. You can take your steaming hot sweet potato with a cup of tea or coffee.

While I have not tried Arrow roots (taro), I have a feeling they will not take long to cook in a microwave. They are a little more expensive than Sweet potatoes but just as good with tea or coffee.


4. Raw banana (plantain) – Raw bananas take about 7 minutes in a microwave with their skins on. When ready, the skin peels off rather easily, just as though they were ripe. Sprinkle a pinch of salt on four of them and take them with a glass of tea, coffee or milk. The four will have cost about Ksh. 20 – 25 (about a quarter dollar).

5. Egg - an egg, beaten and poured on to a dish that has been slightly greased with magarine or other edible oil will be ready in two minutes.

6. Chapati - this is a pan fried bread made from a kneaded wheat dough. The recipe came from Asia, notably India and has been modified to sometimes include pumpkin or sweet potatos in the dough mixture. It can be eaten in the office as a cold or warm snack accompanied by tea, coffee, milk or fruit juices.


To make your meals more nourishing and appetising enough to look forward to, have some fruit in a drawer. 5 Apples can be bought on Monday and stay fresh until Friday when you will gobble the last one. In the case of ripe bananas, you will need to buy fresh ones on the way to work.


There you have it. You don’t have to spend a fortune over lunch time. You can enjoy a simple meal and still save some money. With this few suggestions, I am sure your surroundings offer many more opportunities for a quick money saving lunch.

A fresh well done chapati. Two of these orbs make a very fulfilling lunch, with a drink of course.
A fresh well done chapati. Two of these orbs make a very fulfilling lunch, with a drink of course. | Source

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Comments 4 comments

Emmanuel Kariuki profile image

Emmanuel Kariuki 3 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya Author

Thanks for your encouraging comment ChitrangadaSharan. I will upload photos soon to make the hub more picturesque.


ChitrangadaSharan profile image

ChitrangadaSharan 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

You have suggested some very nice lunch options for office goers. It is important to eat light, so that you get nutrition to carry on the work, without feeling too full.

Thanks for this useful and interesting hub!


Emmanuel Kariuki profile image

Emmanuel Kariuki 3 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya Author

So true patkay. Let's keep hunger at bay with a simple snack at next to nothing! Thanks for comment and keep up your good work.


Patkay profile image

Patkay 3 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

Emmanuel Kariuki, I support your ideas of kicking away hunger from the office 100%. They are not only cheap methods but very efficient ones. At the end of the day, one can now be able to do away with junk foods. And again, there will be no need going for lunch at 'jevanjee gardens' (listening to preachers over lunch time)

Thanks for sharing this.

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