Eating healthy doesn't have to be expensive and cooking does not have to be complicated. I eat fast food rarely...due in part to the fact that I don't actually get to leave my workplace for lunch. I have to pack, therefore it's just as easy to pack something healthy as it is to pack junk.
Leftovers, soups, chili...can be made both inexpensively and reasonably healthy and make great lunches, especially when it's cold out. Sandwiches and salads when it's warmer. Apples and bananas can't be beat as far as price per pound, and make fantastic portable snacks. A dozen eggs costs less than $2 and a hard cooked egg is also a great portable little protein snack, and a whopping 70 calories or so for one.
Occasionally stores will have BOGO on those bags of frozen chicken breasts, and doesn't take any longer to cook 4 than it would take to cook 1. Throw a couple extra on the grill / skillet with varied seasonings and you got makings for endless things for a couple more days.
I bring a gallon of filtered water from home everyday (use a Britta filter and tap water, very little $$$). Have a can of Pepsi or Dew once or twice a week as a treat. I have a horrible sweet tooth and will admit I'm weak about sugar. I try to allow myself treats in moderation and watch portions. Life is too short to be too severely restrictive.
I buy everything on sale, and stock the freezer up.
If chicken is on sale, I'll buy a bunch of chicken.
Spiral hams go on sale for half price around
certain holidays. They're vacuumed sealed, and
last for ever in the freezer. I just checked, and I
paid $15-$16 per ham. Chicken is 50% off right
now, so I bought a dozen packs. Boston Butts
are $1 per pound right now, so I bought 3.
(great for making sausage!)
I find it's a lot cheaper to eat better, than to eat
out or frozen foods. When I cook, it might be a
little more up front, but you have to think about
all the left overs. Works out to be much cheaper
in the end. Stews are cheap, and good for you.
(pressure cooker is my friend!)
Meal one: Ham with a rice and lentils.
$15 for the Ham
$1 small bag of lentils Lentils (makes more than one)
$2.50 bag of rice (makes a lot more than one)
$1.50 can of diced tomates with green chilies.
A small onion? Usually spend around $3 for a 5 lb bag.
Total: $2.50 each! Say $3 if I have to buy onions.
I always have the other stuff on hand such as seasoning,
olive oil, and yes onions..
Meal two: Ham and swiss sandwiches on whole grain
bread. Usually less than a week, we are sick of ham,
so I cube up 1 1/2 pounds of meat, and freeze it
along with the ham bone.
Ham $ Bought and paid for.
$2.50 Swiss cheese (10 slices)
$2.50 Whole Grain Bread (loaf) (7-8 sandwiches???)
$2 bag of utz Kettle Classics Reduced Fat
(not all that bad for you if you stick to the serving size)
Plus odds are you might have some sprouts, lettuce,
or maybe a tomato hanging around.
Meal three: Ham and bean soup!
Ham, Bought and paid for.
$1.50 pound of carrots (makes more than one)
$3.00 Bag of onions if I had to go out and buy them. (only need one)
$2 Say I had to buy garlic.
Total: $ You do the math..
As for eating fast food, once in a while ain't going
to kill you. When I do eat out, usually it's Wendy's
small chili on top of a baked potato. Sometimes
subway $5 foot long. Half for dinner, save the
other half for lunch. A little high in sodium, which
is another good reason not to eat it everyday.