Log into your bank account recently to see a dollar amount lower than expected?  Struggling with buttoning your pants that are a little too tight?  Have you realized that buying lunch at work has become a part of a plan to set you up to fail? Planning to pack and take your lunch to work can help you in so many aspects! 

All of these things have been a battle for me recently.  We all fluctuate in our goals and what is important do us and packing my lunch has moved back to the top of the list! 

I recently returned from a week long road trip, where I spent a little too much money and ate way too much food!  My bank account looked sadder than normal and my pants were feeling the pain too! 

After a few days back at work, watching eight dollars a day come out of my account and feeling uncomfortable in my pants, I decided to get my health and my money back on track!

The Why

Save some money.

 If you spend $7.50 on lunch a day and work the average 260 days per year, you will spend $1,950 every year on lunch alone!

If you spend $4.00 on packing your lunch each day, you will save over 900 dollars in a year!!  If you learn to be less wasteful with food, you may even save more!

Sometimes it is hard to see the overall financial impact that packing your lunch can make from day to day, but when you look at the total money saved, it is hard to walk away and not learn to pack a lunch!  Heck, you could go on another vacation for that! Who couldn’t use another one of those?!?


Control your nutritional intake


Food has all sorts of hidden calories and preservatives. Whether you’re trying to work towards a healthy lifestyle or not (who doesn’t want to be healthier?!), packing and bringing your own lunch can help cut out extra calories. 

Most of the kitchens I have worked in use this fake butter to cook with… it has about 100 calories a tablespoon!  Wonder why food tastes so much better?  Not every kitchen uses a butter replacement, but chances are pretty good that there is some form of hidden calories/preservatives in every meal you eat.



Resist Temptation

Resisting the temptation of looking at a menu of options available will help you meet your nutrition goals and weight loss goals.

If you wait too long to go eat, you then become very hungry and are less likely to go with the healthier choice!  

If your lunch is packed, that is your only choice!  Plus, you may be able to eat some of it before lunch to help you feel satisfied before your lunch break and avoid overeating.



What about the social aspect of going to eat for lunch?

Is $900 in savings worth it? Can you go out to eat with your friends once a week instead?  Can you share your aspirations with them about your savings and get them on board to join you? 

Maybe you can do a lunch co-op where you and your friends take turns making lunch for each other every day of the week or once a week. Sometimes all it takes is one person to share an idea and you and your work buddies can be taking your next vacay together!  Okay, I’m not sure that’s a great idea, but you get the point!



Afraid packing your lunch will keep you at your desk for break time?

 Make an effort to leave your work space for a break.  This will help you and your company in the long run.  Taking time away to recharge and relax will improve your performance and will help you to stay on task. 






The How

Create four or five go to lunches that you love to eat and are easy to make

Don’t have that many?   Start with two or three and when you need some spice in your life, try something new!  There are so many resources out there to help and try new recipes.  Stick with always having your fall back ingredients to your favorite one or two lunches in the refrigerator or freezer in order to not get the… I have nothing in my house so I will just buy lunch backup plan.


Enjoy leftovers!

Decide which meals you like as leftovers, and make those for lunches.  Try not to make too much, because eating jambalaya three or four days in a row isn’t always appetizing.



If you are always going back to buy a sweet treat… pack one.

This way you have control of the amount of calories/sugar/etc. and you get to be mindful of what it is before you go to work.  This also means that you do not have to feel guilty about eating it because you have planned it in your day! Also celebrate not paying 2x or 3x the price for it. 

This is the same for an afternoon snack!  If you are always looking for one, keep some back up snacks at work.  If getting an afternoon snack is encouragement for you to leave your work area for a few minutes, trade it in for a walk around the outside of the building or a trip up and down the stairs!




Committing to packing you lunch can be a real struggle sometimes.  We all dream about being a well-planned, money saving, lunch packing machine! 

Realize the great impact on your body, mind and wallet that you can make by changing this one meal in your day and then take small steps to follow through.  

 Make a plan to start next week Monday. I know that you can do it!

Take Action Plan:
What are two or three of your favorite lunches to take with you to work?

Will you be packing everyday or start with two days a week?


Will you have any leftovers you will be willing to take?

When will you be going grocery shopping to pick up the items needed for next week?

Will you pack your lunch the evening before or in the morning?

What are you planning on doing with all of the money you will be saving from packing your lunch? 


You can do this!  Start small, plan ahead!


Main Photo (C): Thomas
Weinstock

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Comments

10/31/2016 2:09pm

I agree with this article. Months after I decided to bring packed lunch to work everyday, I discovered that I saved a lot of money. In the past, I spent $1000 on eating out and now I only get to spend half on my packed lunches every day. Bringing a packed lunch is good not just for my wallet but also for my body. As a busy person, I didn’t have the luxury to take time to pack myself a nutritious lunch but when I discovered that I had high cholesterol, I started to become more cautious in what I eat. I started eating veggies and fruits every day and I also exercise. I heard that eating oatmeal for breakfast is good because it’s good for the heart and helps to lessen the cholesterol level in the heart. That’s why I also advised my siblings to do the same because it’s more budget-friendly and healthy.

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01/19/2017 9:51pm

Wow, you spend too much for a lunch. I don’t think I could ever spend a $1000. Anyway, this article says it all. I’ve been doing these tips since I started from my first job. I’m confident to say that I enjoy my own meal than eating out. Aside from the fact that I can save a lot of money, I get to use the money I save from the things I want to buy for myself. It’s important to monitor your spending because saving money is better than anything else.

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I'm always cooking at home only! I like to know what I'm eating) It's possible only at home!

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03/04/2017 8:04am

Plastic container is the best solution. It would never leak and keeps the aroma.

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