Fat Wallet, Small Waist
Do you want to know how to save money and slim down with one simple swap? Bring your lunch to work! Americans spend over $3,000 a year on coffee and lunch during the work week. I don’t know about you, but there’s a lot I could do with $3,000. I would much rather spend it on something that will last longer than a 30 minute lunch break. Now, you already know that cooking yourself is usually a healthier option that eating out, but this doesn’t just apply to dinner, the same goes for lunch. I don’t even want to hear your arguments about Mc Donald’s offering healthier options these days, or any other rebuttals you may have. Go grocery shopping over the weekend so that you have a ton of fresh, healthy options to pack all week long.
If your next excuse is that you don’t have time to pack a healthy lunch in the morning, that you’re too rushed just getting out the door as it is, that doesn’t work on me either. I leave at 5:00 a.m. to get to the gym, so I certainly won’t waste any of those precious minutes in the morning that I could be using for sleep to pack a lunch. Do it the night before. It’s actually very easy to work it into your nightly routine. I’ve found what works best for me is to do most of it while I’m making dinner. Think about it, you’re throwing together a salad to go with dinner, why not cut up some extra bell peppers and cucumbers to toss in a baggie for tomorrow? We usually place a bowl of fruit on the table with dinner too, so I typically drop some in a Tupperware while I’m slicing it up for the family, so that it is ready for the next day as well. When you’re grocery shopping for the week make sure to set yourself up for success. Buy healthy foods that you know you like. After all, if you pack a super healthy lunch and you hate everything in there, chances are rather than gag it down, you’re going to toss it and go out to lunch, wasting not only more money but all the food you prepared the night before. Before you get any crazy ideas about tasty healthy food being an oxymoron, have an open mind and explore your grocery store. Chat with health conscious friends and see what go-to food items they stock up on, or be experimental and come up with your own creations (then of course share in the comments below!). Some simple easy-to-pack healthy options are: fat free yogurt, fat free cottage cheese, apples and almond butter, sliced turkey meat (opt for lean, low sodium varieties), and of course leftovers from any healthy meals you’ve made for dinner that week.
As an added bonus, since you won’t have to go out and buy your lunch on your break, you can use that time to get in a little walk or even sneak in a quick gym session! If nothing else, take your lunch outside with a pal, or read a book and soak up some vitamin D and fresh air. I guarantee you’ll go back to your desk feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of your day instead of being in a food coma from a fast food lunch.
There you have it – no negatives; only positives to gain from brown bagging (or cute insulated tote) your lunch. You will save money on daily fast food purchases, save calories with healthy lunches, and more time to spend on you during your lunch break!