Let’s Do Lunch

I work in a high-rise office building down town. My options for lunch are to pack my own or visit a local restaurant. If I went to any of the nearby places, I would spend $8-$12 a day for lunch. That adds up to about $50 a week or $200 a month. Yikes!

I opt to pack my lunch every day.  At work I have a drawer where I keep items like granola bars, crackers and foil packs of tuna or chicken salad. Additionally, I bring fresh fruit, nuts, yogurt or oatmeal and salad or veggies.

Snack Drawer

This is an example of what I pack for breakfast and lunch. Only 350 calories and I am not hungry. To be more environmentally conscious, I try to pack into reusable containers instead of plastic baggies.

The key is to stock up on items that are easy to put together in the morning. Watch the sales each week and check your rebate apps for savings opportunities. I can usually get a weeks worth of breakfasts and lunches for around $10.

I buy bulk bags of almonds on sale and fill some snack sized baggies for Mark. Then I put the rest of the bag in my drawer. For variety I cut an apple in 1/2 and then into slices. One 1/2 in each of 2 containers. Then add an apricot, some grapes or another fruit to each container. One for today and one ready for tomorrow! Veggies can be done similarly. Cucumber slices boxed with baby carrots or celery sticks is another good go to.

The whole fruits are usually easy but if they are messy, I prep them into a small dish like the peach in the lunch photo above. For breakfasts I alternate Low fat Greek Yogurt, nutrigrain bars and Overnight Oats. I try to make the overnight oats as I clean up after dinner the night before since they have to steep. When P3’s are on sale I get a few because they are great for fast grabs. Protein.

I rotate between a couple of 20 ounce Tervis cups filling them daily from the water cooler.  My ideal day is to get 2 of the 20 ounce waters in.  I find myself very sluggish in the afternoon if I eat a big lunch out.  The goal for me is keeping it healthy while keeping costs down! I am eating more nutritious foods and realistic portions when I pack my own lunches.

Packing my lunch affords me the extra time for walking.  I try to walk about a mile on my lunch break with one of my coworkers every day.  The Chamber of Commerce hosts “Walking Wednesdays” where we stop by their office (1 block away) and sign in during our walk.  We are then entered into prize drawings, and given some type of a freebie or coupons for local lunch deals.  It is designed to get people walking and networking with other people in the down town area.  The walking is great because it gets me out of my cubicle, I get some fresh air and exercise and a chance to engage with other people.

All in all, I think bringing my lunch is the best option.  I am eating healthier, getting some exercise and saving money.  That money can then go into the Savings jar for more Travel!  Winning!

What do you do for lunch?