Taking your lunch to work - a money saving tip that will also make you healthier

When looking to save money and lose weight the most common piece of advice is to take your lunch to work from home. It’s obviously cheaper to make your own sandwich then to go to the local takeaway and buy one. We all know that it’s a good idea but it’s something that just doesn’t seem practical at times. When the food court bain marie is calling a meal from home does not seem that appealing. However the up side of a meal from home is that you know exactly what’s in it and with a bit of planning your home cooked meals will be the envy of all your work colleagues. Here are some ways to make taking lunch to work a lasting habit.

How:

Leftovers – These are the easiest way to make sure that you have lunch ready for the following day. To ensure that I have a great selection of possible lunches I make extra at dinner when even I can. Then after serving up dinner and before I or anybody else has a chance to go back for seconds I portion the meal into reusable plastic containers, label them and put them in the freezer. This means that every morning I just need to make a selection from the freezer depending on what I feel like eating that day. If I can’t decide I take a few and put them into the freezer at work and decide at lunchtime.

Sandwiches – One of the things that turn people off sandwiches is having to make them in the morning before work. This means less time in bed and that is just not appealing to most people. One way around this is to build your sandwich at work. Next time you do your grocery shopping grab an extra loaf of bread or some wraps, a bottle of mayo, some small packs of deli meats and a small bag of salad mix. Take all of this to work and assemble your sandwich at work.

Take it in turns – Still too hard to get yourself organised to bring your lunch from home everyday? Why not take it in turns with a few of your work colleagues. Make up a menu for the week and all commit to bringing your dish in to share on your designated day. What you can bring will depend on the facilities available in your office kitchen but most office kitchens have at the least a microwave to warm meals up in.

The big cook up – Below is a quick soup recipe that I make when I know that I have a lot of vegetables in the fridge that are going limp or when my freezer is looking low on meals to take to work.

Vegetable and pasta soup – makes 6 serves

1 can diced tomatoes

1 brown onion diced

2 cloves of garlic crushed

1 carrot diced

2 celery stalks diced

1 small zucchini diced

3 stalks of silverbeet finely chopped.

2tsp olive oil

4 cups chicken stock

1 cup of water

1 cup pasta (small such as macaroni)

Extra additions – Fresh basil or other fresh or dried herbs

- Chilli (fresh or dried)

- Other chopped vegetables (pumpkin, beans and potato all work well)

- Left over roast chicken

- Canned lentils

Fry onion in olive oil over a low heat for 2 minutes then add garlic, celery and carrot. Fry for another few minutes until onion is translucent. Add over vegetables and fry for 1 minute. Add canned tomatoes, chicken stock and water. Bring to the boil and add pasta. Simmer for about 15 minutes until pasta is cooked.

Once cooked transfer serves to individual containers that are microwave safe. Label these and freeze them ready to take to work.

It does take a little bit of effort and some organisation to consistently take your lunch to work.  However thinking about the benefits can make this easier.  Set yourself a weight loss goal and see how making your own lunch impacts on achieving this.  Another great motivation is to plan what you are going to do with all of the money you save. Put the money away and spend it on a treat.  

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