Packing your lunch everyday can be difficult and time consuming, but as a lunch-packer myself, there are some big benefits to bringing food from home as opposed to going out to eat. For me, health is the biggest factor in me packing my lunch every day. I find that I can pack lunches for myself that are not only healthier and lower in calories than going out to eat, but often the food is better quality and tastes better! I also think that bringing lunch from home can save you a lot of money. According to the website moneycrashers.com, packing you own lunch can save you between $100-$200 a month! So, while it can be a lot of work, I really think it’s worth the time and effort. Below you will find some tips and tricks I use to help you on your own lunch-packing journey.
- Make a plan- I find that if I plan out my lunches and dinners for the week, and then go buy everything I need all at once really makes it easier, and takes the stress out of trying to come up with good food ideas in the moment.
- Food Prep- We already know that packing your lunch takes time, but by setting aside a couple of hours a week to prepare grab and go food, you can significantly cut down on the time you have to spend preparing each day. I personally like to chop veggies (both for cooking and as snacks), make sauces and dressing, and cook grains ahead of time so that my day of preparation can be minimal
- Make enough dinner to have leftovers for lunch- this is my absolute favorite tip! I always make sure to make enough food for my husband and I to take leftovers for lunch the next day. That way you don’t even really have to think about lunches for the week- you just have to know what dinner is going to be and prepare a little extra of it.
- Pack up leftovers right away- I have found that if I pack up leftovers from dinner into individual portions for lunches right after we are done eating, I am more likely to take it for lunch the next day. My mornings go a lot smoother and quicker when I have my lunch pre-packed and ready to go.
- The freezer is your friend- if I make enough dinner for several days’ worth of leftovers, I will often pack up enough for lunch the next day and then freeze the rest in individual portion sizes. That way I have ready-made food for those days when my lunch didn’t get packed in time
- Keep easy to grab favorites around the house- I like to buy individual cups of hummus (to eat with my pre-chopped veggies), cheese, hard boiled eggs, crackers, and apples on hand at all times. If all else fails, I can grab one of each of those things and still have a healthy, tasty meal!
- Get creative- If you don’t like eating leftovers, try creating a whole new meal out of what you had for dinner. Turn left over rice into fried rice, the filling for tacos into a salad, roasted chicken can be turned into chicken salad or a quick soup.