Remember when your mom used to pack you a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with an apple and cookie every day? Of course, you were excited about this lunch when you were a kid, but now that you're an adult and going to work every day, you crave healthier food and some variety. Many working adults find themselves going out to eat every day because they want a delicious variety of food, but this can have detrimental effects to your health, your budget, and the environment. Foods bought from restaurants are often high in calories and are much more expensive than packing your own lunch. Restaurant lunches, especially fast food lunches, also create quite a bit of waste with all the wrappings and paper napkins, which can hurt the environment. With just a few simple tricks, you'll be bringing your lunches and saving money and calories in no time.
Sandwiches are always easy lunch options. They're compact, portable, and easy to eat without utensils. Instead of the traditional peanut butter and jelly, try sandwiches made of cheese and roasted or grilled vegetables with pre-sliced deli meat. Another great sandwich is a brie cheese sandwich with apple slices and a little bit of cinnamon. Tuna, egg, and chicken salad sandwiches are also great and easy to make; just make a bunch of the salad on Sunday, then spread it on your bread each morning before you go to work.
Even if you order a salad every day from a restaurant, accounting for all the things they put on the salad plus the extra-high calorie dressing can be really difficult if you're trying to watch what you eat. Often, salads from restaurants are higher in calories than a typical sandwich. However, bringing your own salad from home can help cut calories and costs. Salads are great to bring to work, too, because you can put anything in them, from leftover meat to your favorite fruits and vegetables. You can even get a cool reusable container that has a special compartment for dressing from your local superstore which will help you save the environment, too.
Other Entrée Meals
Making a little bit too much dinner and packing it up to bring to work the next day is a great way to have a delicious meal without any extra expense and without a lot of extra preparation. When you're finished with your dinner, just put a portion of the leftovers in reusable containers. Remember to refrigerate the leftover food overnight, though. Pre-prepared food should stay cold to avoid food spoilage.
Snacks and Sides
If mid-morning or mid-afternoon hunger catches you off guard, having a snack packed and ready to go can help you make it to your next meal. Some great ideas for healthy snacks that won't break the budget include cottage cheese, yogurt, hummus and veggies, apple slices, and mixed nuts. All of these snacks will keep your energy up, so you can finish the job.
Think Outside the Brown Bag
Brown paper bags are a great way to pack your lunch, but instead of buying tons of brown bags over and over again, why not get a lunch box? Lunch boxes are so much cooler now than they were when you were in grade school. Most of them are insulated to keep food cold until you're ready to eat, and lots of them have nifty pouches and features that hold your food for you. You can also get an ice pack that you keep in the freezer overnight and use to keep your food cold during the day. All you have to do is toss it in your insulated lunch bag before you leave for work. Plus, it's all reusable, so you're being eco-friendly, too.