Most people understand that packing a lunch saves time, money and your health and yet two thirds of the workforce still eats out at lunchtime. Here’s a little food for thought to motivate your lunch-packing efforts.
If you ate out every day for lunch and only spent $5/meal, that adds up to $1,250. A more realistic estimate is spending $10/day including drinks, coffee, etc. and that adds up to $2,500. If you could save more than half of that amount by packing your own lunch, you could start planning a fun vacation by the year’s end and would probably have dropped a few pounds in the process.
Another consideration is time. Think about not just how much time you spend going out to lunch, or waiting in the drive-thru, but how you are spending your lunch break. The extra 10-20 minutes it takes to go out for lunch, wait in lines and deal with traffic frustration could be much better spent on a relaxing walk, sharing some humor with a co-worker, or even using a mediation app on your phone. Your blood-pressure would no doubt thank you.
So what are some ideas to keep brown-bagging from becoming boring?
- Vary textures. Adding crunchy salad toppings can go a long way towards keeping you satisfied. Maybe you need a little creaminess, so try a soft cheese.
- Try breakfast for lunch. Who says waffles are just for breakfast? Add in some seasonal fruit and maybe a yogurt and you’ve got breakfast for lunch.
- Mix up the protein. It doesn’t have to be a ham and cheese sandwich everyday. Consider packing some jerky to go along with some soup, or salad to provide a satisfying savory source of protein.
- Try grown-up spins on your childhood favorites. Instead of PB&J, try a different nut or seed butter. Spread some sunbutter on a tortilla, wrap around a banana and you’re set. Or add some chili paste, chicken and basil for a thai wrap.
When all it said and done, your wallet may fatten up, but chances are you won’t when you decide to become a brown-bag pro.