Delicious Lunch Ideas for Husband’s packup that are budget-friendly

Do you want to know the secret for packing lunch ideas that your husband will love? It’s easy, just keep it manly! As much as my husband has always tried to love a salad as a side dish or a summer supper, the fact is, eating a salad when you are a construction worker just isn’t going to cut it.

My husband will eat almost anything imaginable, but he doesn’t always want to make lunch before going to work. Which is a problem for our budget because buying lunch at work stacks up to too much money every month.

And then there is the boredom. My husband gets bored of cold packed lunches very quickly. No way will he eat the same thing two days running. Whereas I will happily eat the same thing 5 days running, week in week out.

And of course it isn’t just lunch is it? He’s out of the house so early and so quickly that breakfast on the go needs factoring in.

This post will give you plenty of low cost lunch ideas for your husband to take to work. These meals are full of flavor and make a great healthy dinner, lunch or snack on the go!

2 lunch boxes with no lid filled with healthy food for lunch ideas for husband and boyfriends alike.

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Benefits of Taking a Packed Lunch to Work

1. Packing your husband’s lunch saves money

Packing a lunch for work can be an easy way to save tons of money. It’s healthy and cheaper than buying lunch at work. Moreover, it also gives you the freedom to choose when you want to take your lunch break or eat outside at your desk during that time.

The benefits of taking a packed lunch to work are that it’s easy and quick to grab a bite, which is perfect for construction workers and other manual trades who need a regular energy boost.

Buying lunch can easily cost you $10/£8 a day, more if hot lunch ideas are more your husbands thing. Burger and chips is pretty cheap as a meal but expensive when compared to a solid packed lunch from home where you could get the cost down to $2 or less.

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2. Eating healthier

A healthy packed lunch for your man is just that, healthy. You control what goes into the packed lunch and it’s also a good opportunity for you to get creative with new foods.

You can swap out the usual sandwich or salad and give him something that he would never try otherwise, like a cold pasta salad.

3. Be more focused and productive

Packing a healthy lunch for work can also save time by not having to stop on the way or drive someplace during the lunch hour to buy food. Some work places only stop for 30 minutes, that’s just enough time to eat your lunch if you have it with you.

Not enough time if you got to queue up and buy your lunch then take it back to your desk or lunch area to eat it.

4. Makes them feel better

Knowing that you always provide healthy lunch ideas for husband to take to work makes him feel better, feel healthier for having eaten it. Your balanced lunch box won’t send his digestive system into overdrive the way fast food can.

Packing a lunch doesn’t have to be boring, you can pack something that will still fill them up or is just enough for a snack.

5. Lunchtime exercise

If your husband is an office worker then having enough time for 10-20 minutes of gentle exercise in his lunchbreak is important for his health and mood. A healthy diet can help restore energy levels and reduce anxiety and a little daily exercise routine does exactly the same.

overhead shot of 3 green lunchboxes filled with healthy lunches for work for men.

Tips for making budget-friendly lunch ideas for work for men

Cold packed lunch ideas for work for men aren’t by definition cheap, you need to use a few tricks to make them into the budget-friendly lunches you want to make.

Shop at discount grocery stores

Discount grocery stores like Aldi, Lidl and Costco have the same products as other stores but at a cheaper price. Manly lunch ideas will cost you more than a simple salad bowl.

You want to save money on ingredients so you can make the best lunch ideas for husband at work and not scrimp on more expensive items like protein.

Buy in bulk

To saved money for lunch items and groceries in general I encourage you buy in bulk. If storage is a problem you can split the cost with a friend or family member. Buying in bulk allows you to buy the same product but at a cheaper price.

Always check the unit prices to make sure your bulk buying really is saving you money. Having plenty of food in your pantry also gives you more time to plan ahead, so you’re not scrambling for lunch ideas at the last minute.

You can bulk buy at warehouse stores like Costco but you can also buy in bulk at your normal grocery stores when they have a discount sale on lunch items.

Plan and cook your family’s lunches ahead of time

If you want your husband to stick to the lunches you make him, plan his lunch ahead of time. He will appreciate the effort and it will save money on buying take out. Plus it means he doesn’t have to go find something to eat – he’ll thank you for that too!

If he doesn’t bring anything for breakfast or lunch, that means when he gets hungry he will be buying lunch for $10 a pop and your budget will suffer as a result.

Shop sales

If you have a big family, it’s best to stock up on bread alternatives and discounted meats and cheeses. Shop sales will be cheaper than the name brands.

And if you need cold lunch ideas for working men, check out the bakery rack at your grocery store because they often have discounts or deals on their products too!

2 clear pots with healthy snacks to show manly lunch ideas.

Recommended tools for packed lunches

Packed lunches are great for when you are in a hurry, but there are certain essential tools that make packing his lunch that much easier. Here is a list of my recommended tools to cover every lunch idea you may make:

  • large lunch cool box: big enough to hold lunch, breakfast and drinks
  • lunch pack: perfect for easier travel, and days where you are taking a smaller lunch
  • ice packs: keeps lunch cool in the cool box no matter the weather
  • lunch container with dividers: for wraps, sandwiches, fruit and veggie sticks
  • small lunch pots: for things like nuts, berries and dips
  • wide necked insulated food container: for those days when only something hot will do
  • water bottle: it’s always good to hydrate and why pay for water when it’s basically free at home
  • spork: a spoon and a fork in one! Perfect for hot lunches, pasta salads and salad bowls
  • Cutlery with case: other then the much-needed spork, make sure to include utensils
  • beeswax wrap: To keep your sandwiches together and fresh, wrap them in these, they’re the eco-friendly alternative to plastic wrap, and reusable.
  • BPA free baggies: Use these eco-friendly baggies to hold bread, meat, and other things that need their own space. Keep reusing and save on having to rebuy bags.
Pasta salad in blox on a desk with orange juice in glass to show manly lunch ideas.

Easy Cold packed Lunch Ideas for a picky husband


Are a quick and easy way to pack lunch for the husband. Leftovers can be fixed into different types of cold lunch ideas for adults that will please your picky husband. These lunches will also help you save money on food costs because you are using food from yesterday’s dinner.

Not all leftovers work great as cold manly lunch ideas but many do. Meatballs, meatloaf, buffalo chicken, lamb burgers, chicken breast dippers, all can be worked into sandwiches and wraps. Or mixed with pasta or potato salad into something hearty and filling.

Cold lunch ideas for construction workers – muffins

Construction workers need quick and easy lunch ideas that require no heating, don’t take up much space, and are high in protein. These no heat lunch ideas for husbands and construction workers will help him pack a nutritious meal on the go!

Hearty lunch ideas for the working man should always include savory muffins. You can make meatloaf muffins, cheese muffins, bacon and egg muffins and even goats cheese muffins. They are all super easy to make ahead and for your husband to grab easily when he needs to eat. Check these 50+ recipes to get inspiration.

Cold vegetarian lunch recipes

When you want to leave meat out of your packed lunch then there are plenty of protein alternatives. My husband’s favorite vegetarian cold lunch is halloumi wraps. Plenty of protein in the cheese and he always prefers wraps to a sandwich.

Your vegetarian mens lunch ideas could include:

  • Goat’s cheese muffins
  • Pasta salad with grated cheese and walnuts
  • Halloumi wraps (pro tip: adding in Hummus makes it so much more delicious!)
  • Avocado and chickpea wraps
box with different small pots filled with healthy food for manly lunch ideas.

Quick meal prep lunch box ideas for husband

Simple Hot lunch ideas for husband

It’s possible to make hot lunch ideas for your husband that are budget-friendly and delicious. Leftovers are perfect for lunches. The trick is to heat them piping hot just before he leaves and pop them into a wide-mouthed insulated thermos.

A good one like this will keep food hot for hours, long enough for a hot lunch to be a reality.

Hot lunch in a thermos food ideas

Oatmeal/porridge – this is the perfect breakfast to go, quick to make and will keep him full for a long time. Add berries, a few nuts and cream or yogurt to take his breakfast to a different level. He’ll be happy with any cold packed lunch ideas you give him after a start like this.

Leftovers – casserole, stir-fry, stews, chili, you name it as a leftover, it can be a hot lunch idea for a picky husband. Especially good for those days when sandwiches are apparently a total no-no.

Thick soups – a hearty broth or soup is exactly what is needed on a cold day, especially for our menfolk working outside in all weathers. Meaty soups or soups packed with lentils and vegetables, the key is for them to be thick and full of goodness. Hearty soups include:

Pack some buttered crusty bread or even pita bread to accompany the hot soup, perfect for dipping.

Money saving and time saving tip – Make a big batch of soup and freeze individual portions in single-serving containers. Defrost one quickly and reheat in the morning.

Chicken salad in box as a manly lunch idea for work for men.

Healthy Lunch Ideas

What can he eat for lunch for weight loss?

Weight loss is about consuming less calories then you burn. And the calories he eats should be good calories, packed full of nutrition (not burger and chips calories!).

Healthy lunch ideas for working man include lean meats, lots of vegetables and complex carbs like brown pasta, brown rice, wholewheat bread.

These are all healthy foods that will fill your husband up and keep him satisfied for longer. Which means he won’t be reaching for the unhealthy, high calorie snacks an hour after lunch.

Box Lunch Buddha salad Bowls

Buddha bowls are fun, colorful and of course tasty. They don’t need to take much time to prepare, just gather your ingredients and fill the bowl. Buddha bowls are a great cold lunch idea for those who like variety in every meal.

Pack them with barbequed chicken strips, leftover meats from Sunday dinner, boiled eggs and nuts for healthy proteins. Choose the veggies according to choice, carrot sticks, tomatoes, celery sticks, cucumber, beetroot and a few leaves work as great color in the bowl.

Storing your mans salad in a mason jar is a great way to serve up. Stong and sturdy, and he can see the different food layers through the glass. Pick from these 30+ recipes!

Substitute turkey or Chicken for beef

Turkey is lower in fat and calories than beef (as is chicken). Instead of steak sandwiches or roast beef fillings, try thickly sliced turkey instead. Leftover chicken from Sunday dinner is perfect for a protein packed but healthy lunch.

Tukey and chicken are so easy to add into any recipe. Have a salad? Add chicken and make it even more tasty! The added protein will keep him full longer.

My favorite hack is to be the Costco rotisserie chicken and separate it out for daily lunch. It saves me so much time, makes meal prep easy, and the chicken is so cheap!

Add more vegetables to recipes

When you buy lunch they are often heavy on the bread and meat and very light on the vegetables or salad elements. Making your own healthy lunches means you can change the ratios to suit your man’s diet needs.

If he’s having a salad (pasta or leaves), go light on the meats and add more veggies. With sandwiches you can slice meat more thinly and add an extra layer of salad in. Alternatively, keep the sandwich thinner and have a side of raw vegetables like cauliflower, peppers and carrots.

2 chicken salad wraps on an orange napkin.

FAQs on lunch ideas for husband and boyfriend alike

What to take to work instead of sandwiches? How about wraps?

Don’t just think of wraps though, there are many non sandwich lunch ideas for adults that are still hand-held and have fillings. Try an alternative bread form:

  • wraps
  • bagels (try the thin ones too)
  • ciabatta
  • french bread
  • dark rye bread
  • English muffins
  • pita bread

These all make easy sandwich alternatives. You can fill them with the exact same filling but they’ll taste and feel very different. Why stick to ordinary sliced bread when you have so many tasty alternatives?

What can you have for lunch instead of bread?

What can I eat besides bread? This is something that my husband asks every few months! If your husband is having a no-bread week then there are so many different non sandwich lunch ideas for adults that you need not worry.

Buddha bowls, pasta or noodle salads. Leftovers, savory muffins to name but a few.

What food can I surprise my boyfriend with?

Homemade foods are always a nice surprise. Why not try your hand at savory muffins? My husband’s favorite is cheese muffins, made with a strong flavored cheese.

Or try homemade bread – it makes a huge difference to the way standard sandwiches taste when you use freshly made bread from home.

These savory muffin recipes are bound to be the perfect cold packed lunch ideas for husbands wherever you are based.

Savoury Pumpkin, Spinach and Feta Muffins

Savory Chedda Muffins with Basil and Scallions

Savoury Muffins – Ham, Corn & Cheese

Protein packed rations

Protein packed rations are the perfect manly lunch ideas for my husband to take to work when he is not eating bread. Bread fills him up so when he’s not having it he needs lots of protein to give him the same full feeling.

Instead of a couple of sandwiches, some fruit and some nuts, his protein packed rations are almost pure protein. I use one of these divider sandwich boxes to keep the proteins separate. It’s like a charcuterie board of meat and cheese or perhaps an adult lunchable!

You can also use skewers to bring together the different meats, cheeses and olives. All on a stick!

Proteins like:

  • salami
  • lunch meat
  • glazed ham
  • beef sticks
  • meat loaf
  • chicken breast strips
  • eggs
  • cubes of cheese
  • peanut butter loaded crackers

Then of course you’ll want to add some dill pickle, olives, cool jalopenos, carrot sticks, sliced bell peppers and any other veggies he likes to offset the proteins.

Homemade muffins on cooling rack as manly lunch ideas for work for men

Lunch ideas for husband at home

When you husband is working from home or on a day off, lunch is still required. The bonus of being at home is that you are not restricted to thinking of no heat lunch ideas for husband as you’ve got access to your whole kitchen.

When your husband is rarely at home for lunch it might make sense to have something hot, just because it’s easier to achieve without resorting to thermos flasks and sporks!

A delicious, loaded toasted cheese sandwich would be my husbands go to lunch at home. Other mens lunch ideas for a home working husband are:

  • Grilled steak and cheese open sandwich, add a side salad or chips or crisps
  • Fried eggs (or scrambled), with chopped red onion, jalopenos on a toasted ciabatta
  • Traditional bacon sandwich with sliced tomatoes and lettuce (aka the BLT)

☑ Need help in cutting your grocery budget? Want to cut your food bill in half? Find out how to do exactly that when you learn how to cut your grocery budget here

budget-friendly No heat lunch ideas for husband made easy

As you can see there so many packed lunch ideas for work for men that he need never get bored and resort to buying luch when at work.

This will make a huge difference to your monthly budget. If he’s been spending $10 a day, 5 days a week on lunch then you are going to be saving upwards of $200 a month. Every month.

Think what a difference that can make to your budget! You could:

With $200 a month saved, there is so much more you can do with your money.

Come and follow me on Pinterest for more money saving hints and frugal tips!

Pinterest image for lunch ideas for work for men.
Pinterest image for hot lunch ideas for work for men.

Last Updated on 18th July 2023 by Emma

About Emma

I'm here to help you become confident in making the best money decisions for you and your family. Frugal living has changed my life, let me help you change yours.

2 thoughts on “Delicious Lunch Ideas for Husband’s packup that are budget-friendly”

  1. Hi, my husband and I both, drive a truck local in SC. We each have to pack a lunch bag and eat on the go. Here, lately we have been on the chicken wrap kick… But the lettuce goes limp. Do you think bibb, romaine or some other would do better than the ice berg?

    • Hello Rebecca,

      I have also had this problem in the past. One solution I think was really helpful was to put the lettuce on the side and just quickly add it in when it came time to eat my wrap. I also sometimes use spinach instead since it generally doesn’t go limp as fast. Haven’t tried Bibb but I think trying the other two options would be your best bet since Iceberg generally stores a lot of water which is why it goes limp so fast. It really just depends on which you find the tastiest at the end of the day.

      Let me know which works for you, I would love to learn new tricks!


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