Growing up, I was taught to pack my lunch. Whether it was for school, for work, or a long car ride, we packed our food. I have heard, and still hear, many people say that you can buy your lunch at work or at a fast food place just as cheaply as you can pack it, but I have simply not found that to be true.
1. When I put away leftovers, I put some into a lunch-size container. It’s easiest to pack healthful main dishes if they’re already prepared! (More healthful than a microwave meal from work? For sure!)
2. Don’t be afraid to buy the large containers of yogurt or cottage cheese (flavored or plain) and put them in smaller containers for work yourself! This is cheaper than buying the individual containers, and takes about 1 minute of your time at home for each lunch.
3. Pack a healthful drink. I like to take a bottle of water or juice that I filled at home, and I am not tempted to buy soda at work or spend $1 on one bottle of juice. (Another way to save on juice is buy buying frozen concentrate instead of the jugs that are already prepared.)
Carrots with Herbvocado Sauce on them
4. Pack your fruits and veggies! As I have mentioned before, it’s always best to prepare your vegetables ahead of time. When it comes time to pack your lunch, you probably don’t feel like peeling carrots, scrubbing celery, or chopping lettuce! It can be easy to grab for a bag of chips or an extra candy bar to fill you up instead. When you buy a bag of carrots or a package of lettuce, prepare it for lunches right away. Also, I take only a small amount of salad dressing with me to work, and make it stretch over my entire salad. This cuts calories easily, as well!
5. If you leave for work early in the morning, pack your lunch the night before. It’s that simple.
6. Pack enough food. It’s better to bring some food home at the end of the night than to go searching for something in a vending machine or from a deli counter to satisfy your hunger.
7. If you have a locker at work and sometimes work later than you expected, keep some food in your locker for “emergencies.” Although this food may not necessarily be as healthful as your fruits and vegetables, even having a large package of granola bars (cheaper than individual!) or crackers you got on sale will keep you from spending extra and unexpected money at work. Also good ideas for this stash are nuts and trail mixes.
8. Pack free samples! When I get a free sample of a snack food (example: granola bars, cereal, candy, etc.) I like to pack it in my lunch as a “treat” and something easy to pack, instead of just eating it at home. Although, none of those samples last very well at my home now, being married to a chocolate lover.
Don’t forget to head over to Tammy’s Recipes to check out the other Kitchen Tips this Tuesday!