It’s that time of the day and your stomach is grumbling so loudly, you’re paranoid the entire office can hear it. You don’t have the time or energy to run to a restaurant or even a drive-thru. Luckily, you thought ahead and packed a delicious, nutritious lunch that is calling your name from the office fridge. Your lunch break goes from a hurried, unenjoyable experience to a time where you can relax and truly enjoy the food you love. But the benefits don’t stop there.
Here are seven reasons bringing lunch from home is one of the best things you can do to improve your workweek and well-being in general.
1. You save money.
Eating out is expensive! There’s no way you’re going to find a decent meal for under $10 to $15, unless you opt for fast food, which is not encouraged for obvious health reasons. Cooking a few meals at home on Sunday in preparation for the week will save you money. I don’t know about you but when I cook at home, my meals cost under $5 and I’m getting delicious portions of rice, veggies, lentils, beans, quinoa, fruit, you name it. Here are a few more tips for saving money when you’re brown bagging it.
2. Easier calorie control.
Restaurants don’t exactly advertise the fact that even their salads can be worse than a Big Mac. Cheesecake Factory’s Caesar salad with chicken will set you back a whopping 1510 calories. So in reality, you have no way of knowing how many calories you’re actually consuming unless you read a restaurant’s nutrition information online, if its available. It’s a lot easier to calculate when you cook at home.
Related article: 5 Easy Ways to Burn 100 Calories Fast
3. Stick to your diet.
It isn’t a secret that going out to eat definitely makes sticking to your diet a lot harder. If you’re going to one of your favorite restaurants everyday, you may be tempted by comfort food that will taste good at the time but you’ll regret it tomorrow. Going grocery shopping and cooking at home will ensure you’re never without at least a snack.
4. You’re healthier overall.
Remember: the point of bringing lunch from home isn’t to bring a frozen entrée and simply microwave it at work. This can be left for emergencies, such as when you didn’t have time to cook or you’re at the end of the month with little money for groceries. The point is to cook healthy but delicious meals at home that you can change or vary based on your personal preferences. Bonus: since you save time by packing lunch, you’ll have more time to eat during your break, and perhaps go on a walk or read a book.
5. Smart use of leftovers.
How many times have you left leftovers in the fridge so long they go bad? Sometimes we eat more than we should because we want to finish what is on our plate. But the wondrous thing about always needing leftovers is that you can slowly accustom yourself to breaking this habit. Our mothers used to instill that we must finish everything on our plate, that there are starving children in Africa who would love to finish our plates for us. Portion and calorie control are incredibly important. Don’t finish your plate if you are full…save it for tomorrow’s lunch!
Related article: 6 Tips for Improving Health in the Workplace
6. Get better at cooking.
Practice makes perfect and if you’re cooking for yourself a few times a week, it’s only a matter of time before you’re a master chef. Don’t be afraid to try new recipes and branch out. Routine can be good for a little while but I always find breaking out of the same old day in, day out actually inspires me. Life isn’t meant to be the same each day. It’s meant to try new things and new food.
7. Bond with your coworkers.
Don’t go at it alone! I’m sure you’re not the only one at the office that wishes they could be healthier and save money at the same time. Tell your coworkers what you’re doing. Exchange recipes and get each other pumped about being healthier, better versions of yourselves. If you both finish your meals that leaves time for a leisurely stroll where you can catch up on stuff that doesn’t have to do with work. Taking a break in the middle of the day is absolutely necessary for a productive day. Having a delicious meal to enjoy away from your desk is just one thing to look forward to in an otherwise typical day.
Related article: 5 Tips for Healthier Dining At Your Desk