What’s for lunch today? Do you plan to wait in line at a restaurant, or did you bring your lunch from home? While packing a lunch can feel like a lot of extra work, in the long run, the benefits of brown-bagging far outweigh the hassle.
Research in the Journal of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found an astonishing 92 percent of restaurant meals contain more calories than an adult should consume in one sitting. An average adult needs between 2,000 and 2,500 calories per day, and a simple burger and fries can pack over 1,500 calories. By comparison, a turkey sandwich on wheat bread with carrot sticks and an apple make a filling lunch with minimal calories. Creating your own menu means you can control the ingredients and the portion size to prevent overeating.
Packing a lunch also saves you money. Take an average meal price of $7 and multiply it by 20 working days per month. That’s $140 per month, or $1,680 per year, that you could save by bringing lunch from home every day.
That’s not to say there is no good reason to go out to lunch. Sometimes, going to a restaurant can be more convenient. Dining out can provide a break from work. And sometimes, you just do not have the option of brown bagging it.
How can you make lunch an easy task? Plan your weekly lunch menu and cook over the weekend in bulk. Then store your meals in small, reusable containers so that all you have to do during the week is pack, heat and eat. You can also make extra food for dinner and pack leftovers as lunch the next day.
Make bringing lunch to work a regular habit. Your waistline and wallet will thank you.