5 Tips for Packing Your Lunch
I’ve been trying to pack my lunch a little more often, partly to save a few bucks and partly because I think I eat healthier when I plan it out in advance. To be totally honest, where I work, lunch is not that expensive. So it’s not a huge money pit, but I know for a lot of people it can really start to add up. I also tend to forget that not everyone even has a cafeteria where they work! So these tips could work for you folks as well. Ready? Here are 5 tips to make packing your lunch a little easier.
1. Plan it out. Obviously, packing leftovers from the night before is an easy one, but this also requires you to think ahead when you’re at the grocery store. You might need to buy a little extra of what you were planning for dinner, so that you really do end up with leftovers. When you’re thinking of serving sizes for dinner, you might have to double it.
2. Portion it out. If you struggle with portion control, make sure you dish out your lunch leftovers as you’re serving your dinner. This will prevent the oops-I-ate-the-entire-pizza situation. As soon as you’re dishing up dinner, go ahead and dish up lunch as well. Stocking up on glass storage dishes in all shapes and sizes makes this easy.
3. Only pack foods you like. If you pack a frozen meal that you don’t really enjoy or leftovers from a dinner that wasn’t very good, you’re not going to be excited to eat them the next day. That means that you’ll be much more tempted by a lunch invitation since you didn’t really want to eat what you packed. You’ll have to be honest with yourself about what you’ll really eat for lunch. Otherwise, it’ll be impossible to stick with it.
4. Don’t go “too” healthy. Yep, it’s a new year, and everyone is trying to pack their lunch in an effort to be healthy. The problem is that at 7:00am when you’re packing you’re lunch, that boring salad with grilled chicken and no dressing doesn’t sound terrible. And then when lunchtime rolls around, you’re swinging by the cafeteria for a buffalo chicken salad to replace the boring one you packed. This goes back to #3. Don’t pack something you don’t like. Make small steps to start swapping in healthier options. That way you’ll actually eat what you packed.
5. Keep “extra” items on hand. Maybe you didn’t have as much leftover pasta as you thought you were going to have, or maybe that frozen pizza looked a little larger in the box than it did on the plate. Keep a few things like fruit, veggies and hummus, apple sauce, granola bars, or other things you can add to your lunchbox to round out skimpy leftovers.
Hopefully these little tips will get you packing! It’s an easy way to save a little money, and eat a little healthier!
Number 3! I’ve never been one to enjoy packed lunches, so when I take a lunch with me, I have to make sure that I’ll actually enjoy it. Otherwise it would just end up going to waste anyways.
Love these ideas! I’ve just started a job where I have to bring my lunch to work every day, and I don’t want to get stuck in a rut or only pack unhealthy things.
These are great tips – and you make brown bag lunches look delicious!
Since we only have 24 minutes for lunch, I have to pack. And I pack the same thing almost daily. I make salads on Sundays and add the leftover proteins from dinners into them! Works for me 🙂
I LOVE packing lunch! Crazy? I almost always bought my lunch in elementary school, but when I went to private school for middle school we were required to pack our lunches so my momma sent me with the best peanut butter sandwiches and random sides. She continued to pack it for me in high school and when I went to college I had to pack it myself because I was in school teaching all day. Nowadays it’s strange to me that people actually go out to lunch during the week 😛
These are GREAT tips! I wrote a post like this a while back but I didn’t consider numbers 3 & 4. It’s so true – packing boring lunches in an effort to be super healthy will definitely send you running for the cafeteria (or the donut shop for a whole wheat bun covered in peanut butter… ugh:/ lol) If you’re interested, you can see my post here: http://lizziefit.wordpress.com/2013/06/19/packing-healthy-lunches/
not going too healthy is the best tip of all time — the days i don’t give myself a treat or a cookie or a cupcake or chocolate or sommmmething, i always end up marching out in the afternoon and doing way more damage than i would have done at the cafeteria for lunch 🙂
Haha I’m the same way! One of my coworkers gave me a little mason jar filled with chocolates so I always have one after my lunch 😉
All of your tips are spot on! I think the key is to be prepared. When I used to drive to work, I would make my lunch the night before and get everything ready so that in the morning all I had to do was grab and go.
Oh that’s a great idea, especially if you have a long commute!
I commute, so I try to pack lunch most days too! I rely on leftovers a lot, so I always cook more than we need for one dinner. When I’m cleaning up the dinner I’ll portion out a few lunch containers so they’ll be ready to just grab in the morning.
I also keep a mini-fridge in my office to keep cold snacks and an emergency frozen meal or two, along with my collection of flavored coffee creamers.
Oh man, a mini fridge would be so convenient!
Some great tips here! I need to get into good habits of packing my lunch. I think for me I need one day a week that I still buy my lunch to have something to look forward to but I would still save money taking it the other 4 days.
Better late than never, happy new year by the way 🙂