Did you know you can save $100 each month by bringing your lunch from home? You can also avoid hundreds of extra Calories every day you bring your lunch to work. So, what’s stopping you?
You can improve your health by eating fewer calories, less sodium, fat, and cholesterol, and more vitamins, minerals, and fiber while saving money if you open your eyes to the world of home-made lunches.
Try to eat your lunch with a friend or co-worker who brought their lunch in too. You should use each other for motivation. The more enjoyable your meal time is, the healthier you can be.
- Save time at work
- Save money
- Healthier Options
o Portion control
o You choose what goes in/what stays out
o Less Calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium
o More vitamins, minerals, fiber
Bring it in..what? There is nothing wrong with bringing your food to work in disposable containers, but as you start to bring your food more often you will realize the benefit of investing in some permanent equipment. Plastic containers are great since they will not squish your food, and they prevent spills. If you need a fork, knife, or spoon, bring one from home. Just remember to not throw them out.
If you decide to use an insulated bag, your food will stay colder, longer. This helps if you have a long commute to work, especially if you add an ice pack, or reusable blue ice. Otherwise, you can always put your containers in a tote bag, or a re-usable shopping bag. Using a bag helps keep your food in place and lets others know this is MY food, especially when it’s in the fridge.
At work…Most workplaces have employee refrigerators, and they should be used! Keep your lunch cool by putting your food in the fridge when you get to work. This will keep your food fresh and tasty.
Some workplaces have employee microwaves. This is great for heating up leftovers and soups. If your work doesn’t have a microwave, you can still enjoy some leftovers cold, or bring salads and sandwiches instead.
You will also save money by following these tips since you will not need to buy disposable bags or containers.
so…what’s for lunch? Cold cuts. They always seem to disappear so quickly! Does anyone else have that problem? You buy a pound of turkey, and after three days it’s gone! So for those three days, you can enjoy your cold cut sandwiches. After that, you need to look further into your refrigerator.
Remember that roasted chicken from Sunday night? The leftovers are begging to be eaten, so how about taking some meat off the bone and putting it in a sandwich? While you’re at it, add a little of your favorite condiments, and throw on a bunch of the leftover onions and peppers you had the other night with dinner. Any meat and almost any vegetable from leftovers can be used in sandwiches, and will turn your sandwich into the best lunch at work. And don’t forget to be creative! If you don’t have leftovers or any cold cuts in the house, try using some canned tuna for tuna salad, have an egg sandwich, or make hummus or guacamole. Add some raw spinach and tomatoes, and there you go–you save yourself $10 by making your own gourmet sandwich.
If you don’t think you like salads, it might be because you haven’t been eating the right salad for you. Salads are great to bring to work any day. If you’re new to the salad-making process, try to start off with a basic salad. You can use greens such as lettuce, or beans, pasta, or grains for your base. Add in a small amount of oil and vinegar, then chop up some fresh herbs (parsley, basil), fruits (tomatoes, apples, grapes), and vegetables (broccoli, asparagus, onions), and there you have a salad! Once you know what foods taste good next to each other, try experimenting by adding in mustard, hot sauce, chicken, raisins, carrots, you name it!
Leftovers are sometimes just what the doctor ordered. Sometimes you want that “home-cooked meal” feeling and this is just the way to get it. Whenever you cook a meal at home, you should always try to make some extra. Like I said before, you can use leftovers in a sandwich, salad, or eat them by themselves.
What if there is no time to make lunch? Another tip is to prepare more than one meal at once. This will save you a lot of time when it comes to cleaning up. For example, when you are chopping up an onion for your dinner recipe, chop two instead, and put the extra to the side for a salad. If you’re having rice as a side dish, make two cups instead of one. Use the extra rice for the base of your salad. If you do this, you can have your lunch for tomorrow ready at the same time tonight’s dinner is served. You can’t get more convenient than that!
It is also important to change things up a bit. Just because you ate something last night for dinner doesn’t mean it has to be tomorrow’s lunch. Leftovers are generally safe for three to four days in your refrigerator, so Monday’s pasta will still taste great on Wednesday, and you won’t be tired of it.
If you bring your own lunch to work, you will save time and money, and be healthier. You will not have to worry about where lunch is coming from, or when you will pick it up. Your paycheck will also get you further the more you bring your own lunch to work. And if that wasn’t enough to convince you, you can also improve your health by bringing your own lunch.
Marina Bedrossian is a Northport, NY dietitian nutritionist who helps people with holistic nutrition solutions and food sensitivities. Visit this page to schedule an appointment and don’t forget to join the private Facebook group “Ingredients For Healthy Families” more information here.