Packing Healthy Lunches

When we think of packing a lunch, the first thing that may come to mind is school-aged kids; but there are numerous health and financial benefits of bringing a healthy lunch to work as adults.

Bringing your own lunch can help you avoid extra calories and maintain an overall healthy diet. Meals eaten out tend to be low in vegetables and high in calories, fat, salt, and sugar. It can be hard to resist the less healthy foods when you walk into a restaurant with tempting sights and smells, as well as marketing tricks to get you to order low-cost extras like sodas or chips. The portion sizes are also typically much larger than what you would prepare for yourself, which can contribute to a low-energy afternoon if the meal was large and unhealthy.

The financial benefits are also easy to point out. Since the average takeout or restaurant lunch costs around $10, that can easily add up to $200 per month, or $2,400 per year. When you pack your lunch, consider rewarding yourself with an extra $10 toward a favorite activity or item—this will add up quickly!

Regardless of these benefits, the reality of staying motivated to pack a lunch every day can be difficult.

Here are a few tips to help you stay stocked up and energized in your daily lunch packing:

  1. Remember the why. Remind yourself often why you make the effort to pack a lunch, which will keep your goals top of mind.
  2. Make enough dinner for leftovers and pack them in a lunch container right after dinner and before cleaning up.
  3. Use Sunday as your lunch prep day. Prepare meals that can go in single-serve containers and last a few days. Consider soup, a salad with separately packaged toppings and dressing, or pasta with veggies.
  4. Have staples on hand that can easily be included with your lunch. Cooked chicken or hard-boiled eggs are great for adding protein to salads or other meals. Keeping almonds or walnuts on hand can also be helpful for days when you need an extra snack.
  5. When you pack your lunch, it’s easy to get stuck eating the same turkey sandwich and chips every day. Keep yourself from getting stuck in a rut by using websites, such as Pinterest, for ideas.

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