Packing your lunch for work is often the last thing you want to do when running out the door in the morning. Whether you go to a restaurant, order-in, or run to your workplace cafeteria, this type of food typically takes a toll on your wallet and waste line. The average price of a purchased lunch is $10 while a lunch prepared at home can cost as little as $2 per day with the average cost of $4 per day. Additionally, food purchased at restaurants, cafes, and cafeterias tend to be higher in calories, sodium, sugar, and fat which can lead weight gain and contribute to an increased risk of developing high cholesterol, hypertension, and diabetes.
Tips to consider when packing your lunch:
1. Have a plan! Do you already know that come lunch time you will regret packing a deli meat sandwich and wishing you were headed out to purchase lunch? If that is the case, make a lunch plan for the week. Decide if you want to eat the same thing for lunch all week or have variety by eating a combination of packed lunches. Whatever it is, have a plan and go by the phrase “Fail to plan, plan to fail.”
2. Pack your lunch the night before or for a week at a time. This will save you time in the morning.
3. Eat leftovers. Take the thought out of choosing what to eat by making enough food at dinner to have leftovers for the lunch the next day.
4. Pack foods you want to eat. If leftovers aren’t for you or you find yourself hating the salad you packed, consider mixing things up by making homemade freezer burritos or soups or wraps or bento boxes.
5. Start small. If packing your lunch seems daunting, consider starting with only 2 days per week and work your way up to 5 days from there. Either way you will be saving money!
Questions? Consider scheduling an appointment with your workplace wellness center’s dietitian.