A great way of staying healthy and saving money is to bring your lunch to work instead of buying it every day. By taking the extra 10 to 20 minutes every morning or night before bed to prepare your days lunch is a small sacrifice compared to the benefits it will bring. In fact, it really isn't that much of a sacrifice, especially if you take the time you'll need to stand in line at the cafeteria. Or if you factor in the time it takes to walk to or get into your car and drive to the restaurant. The other benefit of bringing your lunch is being able to chose healthy foods for yourself. Of course, not all food you buy for lunch is going to be unhealthy for you, but in general, you can create a much healthier lunch for yourself because you have complete control over what you bring. I believe that my own experience from a few years ago is a great example, and will help to show you how bringing a healthy lunch to work can make a difference in your life.
I used to buy my lunch every day, it was convenient and allowed me to sleep in an extra 10 to 20 minutes every day. One day I was finishing off a plate of fries and I thought, how much is this actually costing me, so I started to work through a few calculations in my head. Assuming there is about 240 working days in a year, If I'm spending roughly $5 on lunch every day, that translates into about $1200 per year! Now, that is assuming I was spending $5 every day, most days were more, but lets keep these calculations on the 'low' side to show a smaller amount of savings. This means that if you spend more money then $5 a day, you will be saving even more money then what is shown here. So, its safe to say that I was spending $1200 per year on lunches. Wow, I thought, my next step was to say, how much money could I save, if I brought that down to around $3 per day for lunch. Well, that's $2 per day less, so that's a savings of about $480. Once again, I said Wow. that's a lot of money I could be saving. By this time I was finishing off the last few fries and I realized that the plate of fries, or that burger and fries that I was chowing down on every day, wasn't really the healthiest choice I could be making. I had been packing on a few extra pounds recently and being someone who worked at a desk all day long, those extra calories really weren't helping my health situation.
So, with this lunch time epiphany, I set out to change my habit of buying lunch. That day was roughly 5 years ago, and for the next three years I had been enjoying a bun, with about 120grams of deli meat, a few slices of cheese and mustard, along side either an orange or an apple, all together this had cost me roughly between $3 and $3.50 every day, (depending on what choice of meat I selected). And during that time I was happy to say that I was about 20 lbs lighter then I was when I started that change, of course, all that weight loss wasn't just because of the lunch change, I had made other lifestyle changes as well, but this minor change definitely contributed to the weight loss.
Since then I've taken another step in making my lunch healthier, I've stopped bringing the deli meat sandwich to work, and started to only bring fruits and vegetables. One of my favourite lunches is steamed broccoli with an apple on the side, I usually steam the broccoli (or other vegetable) the morning of, or the night before. they only take between 10 and 15 minutes to steam and I can do this while I am preparing and eating my breakfast. In fact, The time it takes for me to prepare my lunch in the morning has gone down since I stopped making sandwiches. Overall I am enjoying this change, it gives me a healthier lunch, I have a bit more time in the morning to do what I want, and its costing roughly the same amount as it did with the deli meats. Two other lunches that I commonly bring to work, is a big salad that consists of a variety of different vegetables, or simple left overs from the night before. Both are easy to prepare, and make sure that you are eating a healthy and cost effective lunch.
Switching my lunches over to more vegetables has increased the cost a little bit, but overall I am still saving money when compared with the cost of buying your lunch out every day. And the added benefit is an even healthier lunch is being eaten. It is hard to imagine, but as of today I am roughly 45 lbs lighter then I was 5 years ago. This obviously isn't all because of bringing a lunch to work, it is has mostly been because of a major change to the food I eat. (I went Primal!) but that is a discussion for another day. Keep an eye on my articles because that one is going to be coming sometime soon
Cutting those few extra calories, and bringing a healthier lunch into work are small steps to overall better physical and mental health. I hope this has given you a new view on your lunch time habits, and the only way to really know if you'll benefit from it, is to try it out. Go ahead and challenge yourself to do this for at least two weeks without going out or buying your lunch at work. Then, if you survive this simple challenge, try to figure out if you feel any better, have more money in your wallet, and if so, think hard about making it a longer term commitment.
Enjoy your lunches!
This is an original article written by BullishD for InfoBarrel.com, it was published on December 23, 2010.