Office Life

Food for Thought: Why You Should Bring a Lunch to Work

If you’ve ever seen Super Size Me, you know it’s not a good idea to constantly pull through the drive thru. However, in this busy, fast-paced world, many people are more inclined to hit up Mickey D’s than make a homecooked meal. And who can really blame them? There’s barely enough time in the day to breathe, let alone make a meal.

This is especially true when it comes to eating at work. With 8 ½ hours on the clock every day, it’s easier to just go online and order something for delivery than pack a lunch. The last thing you want to do when you get home is more work, and let’s face it, preparing lunches can be work.

Still, though, there are a lot of reasons why you should bite the bullet and bring a lunch to work every day. It’s extremely possible with easy recipes and a little bit of pre-planning.

Here’s what you’ll get out of the deal:

#1 – More Money in Your Pocket

It’s noon and you’re getting a serious case of the munchies. Your typical solution is to just order on DoorDash since it’s super easy and you have a variety of options.

subway sandwich

Let’s say you’re ordering the following from Subway:

  • BLT on wheat bread with cheddar cheese and mayonnaise
  • Small bag of Lay’s® Classic Chips
  • Coke

When all is said and done, including taxes, fees, and tip, you’re looking at paying close to $20 for that order. And that’s with free delivery for being a new member!

DoorDash Order

Now let’s say you’ve decided to take the leap and make that sandwich instead with ingredients from the grocery store. I experimented with this by going to my local grocery store and getting everything needed to make the same sandwich. I ended up paying about $4 more, but that’s enough for the entire week. I had enough to make 5 more sandwiches and have chips and a pop with each meal. I’m paying $3 and some change per meal vs. $16+ for just one. It’s really a no-brainer as to which one is a better choice for your wallet.

Marianos Receipt

This cost-effective solution doesn’t only work for sandwiches. According to Money Crashers, you can save more than $2,400 annually just by bringing your lunch to work. That’s enough money for a 60-inch flat screen TV,  massage, Bluetooth speaker, roundtrip flight and 3-day stay in Vegas, and still a little extra spending money. Isn’t that a better way to spend all that cash?

#2 – Healthier Eating

Even though fast food restaurants are listing their calorie counts or offering “slim” menu options, you still shouldn’t bank on getting your necessary nutrients from takeout. These foods are often processed and don’t pay mind to portion control.

Give any of these lunch ideas a whirl!

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Bringing your lunch to work helps you control what you’re eating. The world is moving toward healthier food options. Grocery stores are stocked with organic products and fresh produce is more abundantly available. This helps you create a lunch that’s not only tasty, but good for you as well.

The options here are healthy, easy-to-make, and cost-effective. You’ll also be able to reuse the ingredients to make other meals. They were also chosen based on whether or not I could make them, and as a horrendous chef, that’s really saying something. If I can do it, you most definitely can.

#3 – Boost for the Environment

Healthy Environment

Preparing a lunch helps reduce waste from plastic wrappers, containers, and takeout bags. This is more important now than ever considering that half of all litter is fast food garbage. A report from NPR went on to state that the food industry is “dragging its heels on recyclable and compostable packaging.” The waste ends up in landfills, clogging up space as much as a fast food burger clogs up our arteries.

Packed lunches are a better solution, especially when you reuse the same container and store everything in Tupperware. There’s significantly less to throw away, which is way better for Mother Earth.

#4 – A Conversation Starter

Mario Metal Lunchbox

It’s a natural conversation-starter to bring a cool lunch container to work and may just break the ice with your co-workers. Let’s say you bring a Super Mario box to the table. People you might not interact with every day can ask more questions like “Do you have kids?,” “Are you a fan of Nintendo 64?,” “Who designed that cool lunch box?” This can help you connect more with the other people in the office, especially if you both really love playing Mario Kart.

Of course, you don’t have to be a fan of video games to get a stylish lunch container. There are sophisticated options like Bento boxes, neoprene, and a whole lot more, all capable of being customized with a cool design.

Who’s Bringing a Lunch to Work?

According to The Huffington Post, about 85% of people bring a lunch to work more than they buy one. Employees at Quality Logo Products® follow this same trend!

QLP Lunch Infographic

Of course, it’s not just those that work in promo products who are bringing their lunch every day. Many employees in other industries bring a lunch instead of ordering something to-go.

As a result, companies are getting creative in encouraging their team to bring homemade meals. Some businesses, like Quality Logo Products® offer free food in a community snack room or cafeteria, while others make homemade lunches part of their wellness programs. For instance, Earth Friendly Products, a family-owned eco-friendly cleaning company, offers an exclusive garden full of fruits and veggies that employees can pick from for free.

How to Make it Happen

You may be thinking – alright cool, but are you going to come over and make my lunches? After all, it’s super easy to say you should do these things, but it’s something else entirely to actually make it happen. You might have kids, bills, some of you may be involved in after-work softball or bowling leagues. Who has time to be Martha Stewart?

Don’t worry! There are easy things you can do to start bringing a lunch to work every day.

Plan Ahead

Sunday Funday

Prep all your meals on Sunday. It could be early in the morning or late at night.

Freeze Your Food

Freeze It

Make your food last longer by placing it in the freezer. This is a great solution for meats, breads, and so much more!

Set Reminders

Set Reminders

Do you need to remember to thaw the chicken? Set a reminder on your phone and get an alert.

Label Food

Store & Label

Dedicate space in your fridge at work for meals for the next two days and label them accordingly.

Prepare Ingredients

Prepare Ingredients

Chop, wash, and slice natural ingredients ahead of time and have them stored in Tupperware in your fridge at home.

The more you can do ahead of time, the easier it will be to prepare your meals. Put on some music or maybe watch a show. From there, go to town and become that culinary master you were meant to be!


The Bottom Line

We have a long history of bringing lunch to work, so why stop now? I get it. Making your lunches for work can be time-consuming. You have to deal with grocery store lines, food prep, and messy dishes. Plus, you might not understand how to use your oven.

Ultimately, though, the money you save and the health benefits are worth it in the long run. Put on the apron and get to work!