Not too long ago, I started adding up all the money I was spending on lunch at work and I was shocked out how much money was slipping through my fingers. About the time I ate a wilted spinach salad speckled with green eggs that I bought at a nearby deli, I started thinking there’s got to be a better way. Given that the average American spends nearly $1,000 a year for lunch just two days a week, chances are you may be as frustrated as I was. But here’s the thing, how do you pack a meal that will be appealing by the time the lunch hour rolls around?

Today on the Willis Report, we will be examining this topic, but in this blog I’ll give you my solutions. First off, I stay away from the routine – no PBJ, forget the turkey sandwich (it gets soggy!), and, as much as I love tuna fish, I avoid it so that my office mates don’t turn up their nose at the smell.

A typical lunch I like to make starts with greens dressed in a simple dressing. On Sunday, I sometimes make a grain or rice based salad I can mix in with the greens to give it heft. This weekend, I made a quinoa salad (a good source of protein!) with raisins and chopped walnut mixed with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. I added in corn I had cut off the cob that my husband and I had grilled outside. There’s always an avocado floating around, so I bring one and cut it up at work, so it doesn’t get brown in the salad bowl in the office frig.

Like anything, planning is essential, so that you can keep your prep time to a minimum. I try to play off whatever I cook over the weekend so that I don’t have to do so much work. Not only am I saving money, but I like the idea that I know exactly what is in my lunch!