Brown-Bag Challenge Day 16: Burritos

Save lots of money and be in control of ingredients by making your own burritos instead of buying them.

We’re teaming up with fellow food bloggers to host a Brown-Bag Challenge, a month-long initiative to eat consciously and save money by packing a lunch each weekday instead of eating out. Join us here and share what you're eating on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #brownbag.

There's a Chipotle right near my office. I could walk over there, order a vegetarian burrito and be back at work, ready to eat in under a half-hour. For $8.50, I could have myself one tortilla, filled with rice, beans, salsa, guacamole, cheese and sour cream. Then the next day, I'd have to go back, there or someplace else, to spend another few dollars on another lunch. Over the course of a week or a month, dining out like this gets pretty expensive. But I really like burritos.

Last weekend, I went to the grocery store and stocked up on beans, salsa, cheddar cheese, vegetables and wraps -- all the makings of a burrito. I spent $16.47. I brought all of the fixings to work on Monday, and made a burrito for myself each day this week. $16.47 split out over the 5 days this week comes to $3.29 per day. So by not going to Chipotle, I saved $5.21 each day. Plus, I had control over what went into my burrito, so I added extra vegetables, and the kind of beans I wanted (kidney -- Chipotle just has black beans).

I loaded up my wrap with kidney beans (seasoned with cumin and lime), shredded cheddar cheese, tomatillo salsa, shredded cabbage and zucchini and Greek yogurt (a fat-free substitute for sour cream). I ate my burrito cold because I have a thing for cold, shredded cheese, but it would have been good warmed up, too. The best part -- well second best because saving money was pretty great -- but the best part of this lunch was that I brought all of the ingredients in on Monday and left them at work. So I had a brown-bag lunch everyday, but I didn't have to remember to bring anything from home after the first day. I've been doing this with my snacks, too, bringing in large containers of yogurt and cottage cheese, and packages of trail mix or granola bars instead of the single-serve containers. When I'm hungry, the food is already here, plus buying the larger size is usually cheaper than the smaller sizes.

What do you put in your burritos?

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