Bringing your own food to work for lunch is hardly a new concept, but it’s safe to say that millions of people avoid doing this more often than not each and every day.
While this may be for various reasons, it usually tends to revolve around not wanting to spend time planning ahead, relying on the workplace cafeteria area, or any number of restaurants nearby instead.
But would your mind change if you knew the many benefits of bringing your lunch to work?
Yes, there are some obvious advantages you probably already know, but maybe a few you haven't thought of as well. Below are 7 of the biggest benefits of packing your own lunch for work (or school,) which range from saving you money, to saving you time.
Whether you’re swinging by the nearest drive-thru, or heading out for a sit down lunch with some coworkers, you’re still paying restaurant prices.
Yes, lunch prices at restaurants tend to be cheaper than dinner ones, and there’s always the value menu, but it still adds up much quicker than you may realize, especially if you’re doing it every day, or most days.
Think about it: If you’re throwing down $10 for lunch every day, that’s around $250 a month just on lunch. Bringing your own lunch is significantly cheaper -- and you don’t have to tip anyone.
It’s easy to get stuck in the fast food rut during the week, especially when you’re in a hurry during lunch. Healthy options are fairly limited, even if you are going someplace a little nicer.
Choosing your own lunch recipes and items lets you pick healthier items, and also lets you prepare them in a much healthier manner, should you decide to. Either way, you’re removing the temptation to get multiple burgers, pizzas, or burritos during the week, which is always a good thing.
Heading out to pick up your lunch can be a hassle, and it really doesn’t even depend on where you work. You either have to drive, bike, or walk to go pick up your lunch or make that lunch appointment, all of which takes time.
The ability to merely open up your lunch bag and eat right then and there will always be substantially more convenient than having to leave, call in something to go, or deal with sending out another coworker to go pick food up.
Nothing beats having your lunch within arm’s reach, or in your office refrigerator, period.
Diet plans are already hard enough to follow as is. Heading off to work without your lunch makes it even harder. You probably know how it is: “Today has been kind of rough, I’m tired and hungry, I’m just going to go pick up a small pizza from down the street.”
And then the same thing happens a few days later, or even the next day.
Even if you aren’t stress eating at less-than-ideal restaurants, it can still be hard to find locations that can cater to the diet that you’re on.
Avoid all this by packing your own lunch at home, using all of the specific food items and dishes you need to stay on track.
If you’re relying on the restaurants around your workplace, or the office cafeteria, you can quickly tire of the same options day in and day out. This may even cause you to not even want to eat hardly at all, which can lead to a big crash in your energy later, all because nothing sounds appetizing.
When you plan and pack your lunches at home, you have an infinite amount of options for what you can eat during the week. With some proper meal planning methods, you can give yourself several options each day, and simply grab whatever sounds good on the way out the door.
Food waste is a major problem that we should all do more about in the first place. One of the biggest contributors to food waste is letting leftovers go bad. With just a little creativity and planning, you can turn last night’s leftovers into lunch for the next few days.
For instance, that salmon you pan fried last night? That would go great on a salad the next day. Perhaps you roasted a chicken instead? Use the leftovers to make chicken noodle soup for work tomorrow. You’ll use up the rest of the chicken, and void getting out in the cold for lunch, staying inside to enjoy hot soup instead.
The possibilities are endless.
One of the only potential bad things about a lunch break is how fast it can go by, especially if you’re using half your break to go get your food. If you have an hour, 10 minutes may go to driving there, 10 minutes for waiting on your food, and 10 minutes to get back.
By the time you’re back at your workplace, the break is half over.
Relax and enjoy your break by bringing your own lunch instead. You’ll have nearly twice the free time, which can help get you refreshed and ready for the remainder of the day.
Anyone stands to benefit by bringing their own lunch to work, but there are some that may benefit more than others. This includes people like vegans, (or anyone else with dietary restrictions,) fitness and health enthusiasts, or anyone on a strict diet that wants an easier way to stay in line.
Although it seems like such a simple change, making an effort to bring your own lunch to work can have a huge impact on your finances, your health, and even on how much you get to enjoy your lunch break in the first place.
Give it a try for a week or two yourself. You may be surprised at how much you benefit!