Work Salads – An affordably healthy lunch

This post isn’t specific to Chicago, but when I started this blog, I told people I wanted to incorporate tips for money saving in general. This one also happens to revolve around health.

About 2 months ago, a coworker and I decided to try an experiment. We’re both fairly health-conscious and recognized a need to offset holiday over-indulgences. Seemingly simultaneously, we decided to each buy and prepare a set rotation of salad ingredients. Here’s what we decided upon and split up:


  • Peppers
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Onion or Scallions
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Carrots (shredded)
  • Avocado


  • Turkey
  • Chicken
  • Cheese (we choose feta, although occasionally I use mozzarella)
  • Almonds


  • Craisins
  • Salad Dressing

Obviously, what you pick is based on taste preferences. My coworker and I luckily like the same things on our salads. Sometimes we rotate items week over week to keep it interesting.

Other solid ingredient suggestions:

  • Beans (Black, Garbanzo, Lentils)
  • Kale or Brussel Sprouts for additional green superfood powers
  • Quinoa to add some carbohydrates
  • Different types of cheese to rotate flavors
  • Different types of nuts (though use sparingly as they pack a lot of calories)

The produce and meat we buy have to be replaced/refilled on a weekly basis. The rest of our supplies last two weeks to one month.

If you work in the Loop, you can easily spend $10 a day on lunch. On average, I probably spend about $10 each week or less replacing what’s been used. Since produce goes bad quickly, you should try to partner up with a coworker who likes salads and can be content eating them everyday. That’s the hard part. But once you get started, you’ll save money and lose pounds.

What other ingredients do you use to keep your salads interesting? Let me know in the comments.

By Maddy Osman

Maddy is the founder of Chicago Cheap Ass. She loves to read, travel, cook, and play with her adorable dog Leonidas.

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