Bowl of hearty veg soup with toasted bread and a batch on the side as a cheap lunch idea

Look forward to lunchtime with our top 5 go-to lunches that are quick to prepare – or can be made ahead – and cost no more than £1* per serving.

Life is busy, and making sure you sit down to a filling lunch that tastes good and does you good can be hard to achieve – leaving a lot of us reaching for an over-priced meal deal or those same soggy sandwiches eaten straight from the foil.

But life is too short for boring and expensive lunches! From batch-cooked soups and make-ahead salads to flexible omelettes and savoury muffins, our budget-friendly lunch ideas will give you tasty, nutritious meals all week long. 

Keep reading for our top 5 go-to lovely lunches that are quick to prepare – or can be made ahead – and cost no more than £1* per serving. Let’s lunch!

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54p per portion

The daddy of budget lunches, you can’t beat a warming bowl of minestrone soup on a cold winter’s day. The beauty of this humble Italian classic is its versatility: you can switch up the veg and beans; add bacon, chorizo, leftover roast ham (or keep it veggie), any odds and ends of pasta – the options are endless. 


82p per portion

With fresh chilli, fruity olives and creamy feta, this veg-packed couscous salad really packs a punch. You can switch out the courgettes for whatever’s in season – roasted aubergines, squash, peppers, beetroot would all work well. Make a big batch and it’ll sit happily in the fridge for up to three days. 


76p per portion

When you’re in need of a fast and filling lunch, omelettes are your friends. Quick, easy and versatile, you can turn this basic omelette into something special in minutes – try adding spices for Indian-inspired eggs, or throwing in tomato and basil for a bit of freshness. Or use a handful of frozen veg and any herbs you’ve got hanging about.


65p per portion

Beans on toast, but not as you know it! Yes, it’s easy to just open a tin of the baked variety, but this quick homemade version is totally delicious and really worth giving a go. Nutty, earthy cannellini beans bring a lovely creamy texture that’s complemented by the punchy flavours of rosemary and garlic. 


81p per portion

Cheer up your lunch break with these cute make-ahead savoury muffins. They may be little, but they sure bring big flavours, thanks to punchy garlic, creamy feta and fresh chives. Enjoy one with a side salad and you’ll be fighting fit until dinnertime. 

Planning what’s for dinner? Check out our top 5 dinner ideas for under £1 per portion

*Prices correct as of October 2022.