Packing your own lunch for work each day is well worth the effort for many reasons!
Bringing your own lunch gives you control over what you eat, making your lifestyle healthier both physically and mentally. Packing your food also saves a lot of money and thus is a far more economical choice.
Now I did mention effort, and yes, packing a lunch requires some effort. However, think of all the time you will save from not having to figure out where to order your lunch, calling in (or ordering online) a food order, standing in line, or driving to pick it up.
Plus, I can’t express enough how hard work truly pays off and when you get into the habit of packing your lunch for work, I know the benefits will outweigh the effort.
In this post, I’m not only going to explain benefits of packing your lunch, but I’m also going to give you some tips on how to get into a routine that works for you.
Finally, I will offer some easy and healthy packed lunch ideas for when you go to work.
A Packed Lunch Is A Healthy Choice
I think most people would agree that they want to be healthy both physically and mentally, strong, energetic, and maintain an ideal weight.
In order to do this, you have to take charge of what you eat (and exercise but that’s for another day) and the best way to do this is make your own food. That way you choose exactly what you need to nourish your body in a way that is completely customized to you! Research shows that cooking at home is ultimately healthier.
Typically, eating out means eating processed food with lots of preservatives (chemicals) and will leave you feeling sluggish, full, and sometimes just nasty! And when you feel crummy physically, your mental well-being suffers as well leaving you unmotivated and far less productive at work.
It’s hard to break that cycle!
Let’s face it, even if you order from the healthiest restaurant around, you aren’t able to choose each and every ingredient. There will most likely be something about the meal that may not be right for you. (Not to mention how pricey that could get, bringing us to our next point!)
Packing Your Lunch Saves Money
Buying lunch out can range anywhere from $4 (probably not getting much for that!) to over $20 if you are eating at a restaurant. And this is a really rough estimate considering how pricey things are these days!
Now think about how many sandwiches you can make with a loaf of good quality bread, meat, and cheese vs. the cost of buying an equally awesome sandwich. I would say that eating out would, at a minimum, double your lunch costs (and that’s overestimating the cost of making your own sandwich).
Let’s also consider that if you go out for a sandwich, maybe throw in some chips and a drink, you aren’t including snacks for the rest of your day. Are you really getting enough nutrition throughout the day?
I know, to perform at my best, I need extra protein, nutrient rich snacks (and I don’t even have a super physically demanding job!)
Now imagine the amount of nutrients someone working in construction might need? My point? If you are not bringing your own food to work, chances are you are either going to be hungry or you will have to run over to that vending machine or convenience store to get an unfulfilling expensive snack.
Plan Ahead – Tips For Packing Your Lunch
Here are some helpful hints to help you pack your lunch and create a successful, lasting routine:
Add Lunch Ideas To Your Grocery List
Brainstorm some ideas of what you want to eat for lunch (the ideas section below should help you if you need it).
Then make a grocery list and remember to include other snacky things such as fruit, chips, nuts, granola bars, yogurt, and such.
Schedule a Time To Make Your Lunch
This is probably the most important part especially if you have chaotic mornings and tend to find yourself running out the door in a frenzy. I personally do not like adding another task to my morning routine.
I like to make lunches in the evening when I am already in the kitchen cooking dinner waiting for something to boil or bake. I just start making sandwiches, grabbing all the snacks and even putting everything in the lunch box that doesn’t need to be refrigerated.
Then I put all the cold ingredients together on a shelf in the refrigerator, otherwise, I might forget something! Then in the morning, I pack the rest of the food in the lunch box, add a cold pack and it’s a done deal.
If you want to make everything in the morning, go for t! Just make sure you allow a little extra time!
Another cost effective tip is to use a good quality lunch box, cool packs, and reusable containers.
It’s a good idea to have a few reusable containers so that you don’t have to wash and dry your containers at the same time you repack your lunch. It just makes it easier and more attainable not to have to include dish washing to your task.
With extra containers, you can always be ready to throw something in a clean container!
Just keep in mind if you choose to buy Ziploc bags, foil or wax paper to pack food, you are adding to the cost. I do use these for some things from time to time but I try to be conservative.
Having a good water bottle is also a great way to save money and time; it’s healthier (not drinking out of plastic water bottles) and better for the environment.
Lastly, if you like hot food like soups or leftovers and you are “in the field” and have no way of heating food, a thermos comes in handy and can keep your food warm for hours.
Packed Lunch Ideas For Work
Ok so here is where I give you ideas of what to pack, because sometimes the biggest struggle of cooking is thinking of what to eat.
Sandwiches – A very common choice. You can keep it simple with a turkey, lettuce, cheese on wheat or make it anyway you like to fit your eating style.
There are many recipes out there that are vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, pro-metabolic, or any other way you eat.
Get creative and make different types of sandwiches using various meats, cheeses, egg salad, tuna, veggies, etc., or keep it simple with one type of sandwich.
Wraps or Pita Pockets – If you don’t like bread, make it a wrap. You can use tortillas or lettuce to wrap up your meats or veggies. Pita pockets are also a good choice.
Soup – Whether you have leftover soup or buy a can of soup, it can be nice to eat a warm meal once in a while. If you have no way of heating it, heat it at home and put it in a thermos.
Leftovers – You can really save time and money and cut down on food waste if you make a little extra dinner and bring your leftovers for lunch the next day.
If you have a lot of leftovers, freeze some individual servings and use them throughout the week.
Charcuterie – Feeling fancy? I don’t know why, but charcuterie boards seem so luxurious and delicious to me!
Get a container with some compartments and load it up with cuts of meat, cheeses, olives, crackers, fruit, nuts and chocolate. Your co-workers will want to buy lunch from you!
Burrito Bowl – Pack all your favorite burrito ingredients in a container and bring taco chips or tortillas OR bring your already made burrito to heat up at work or stick in your thermos to keep warm.
Yogurt and Granola – Pack your favorite yogurt and add granola, extra nuts and seeds, and fresh fruit to make it more filling.
Salads – You can chop up enough veggies in the beginning of the week and keep them in your refrigerator ready to add to some fresh greens each day. Add pre-roasted potatoes, or meat and cheese for protein.
Extra Snack Ideas
If you work long hours be prepared with some extra healthy snacks like these:
- beef jerky
- cheese and crackers
- protein bars
- protein shakes
- fresh fruits
- fresh veggies with hummus
- carrot salad
- an extra sandwich
- boiled eggs
I could list so many idea, but I just want to get you started! Packing your own lunch can be very beneficial and I highly recommend it. I’ve packed lunches most of my life! If your not convinced, I would encourage you to at least try it out for a few days out of the week. See how it makes you feel and what food ideas you come up with. Then reach out and let me know how it goes for you!
Let’s build some community here and start the conversation below. What is your favorite lunch and snack to pack? Do you use a lunchbox? Do you heat up your food or always have cold lunches? What are some tips you’d offer someone on making it easy to pack a lunch?
I’d love to hear your thoughts! And I look forward to seeing you again In The Kitchen With Me!
2 thoughts on “Packing A Lunch For Work”
This is honestly an outstanding post. And it is very true. My wife has cooked meals for me to take to work for 17 years and I don’t know if we can actually add up the money that has been saved from me not eating out.
I eat out very rarely at work.
Your site is very clean and very impressive. We are what we eat and most people eat out all the time. And, yes, that is due to laziness for the most part.
Like you say, a little work and we eat healthier and save money
Love to hear that your wife packs your lunch! It really does pay off in more ways than one. Do you have a favorite lunch?