When we think about packing lunch, we probably imagine brown baggin' it to school, but kids aren't the only ones that pack their lunches! Here are some packed lunch ideas to help you save money and eat better at work.
It's definitely easier to run down to the cafeteria or hit a fast food joint and grab a bite on your lunch break, but most restaurant food is tough on the wallet and not so hot for your health or the environment either. You can cut back on eating out and reduce your impact with some simple packed lunch ideas.
When you're making dinner, cook an extra portion that you can bring to lunch the next day. This saves a ton of time, since you're not going out of your way to prepare a separate lunch. If you're packing leftovers that you plan to heat up in the microwave, do your body a favor and skip the plastic container. When you heat plastic up, especially with oily or acidic foods, the plastic leaches into your lunch. Instead, invest in a water-tight glass container so that you can heat your lunch and feel confident that you're not eating plastic at the same time.
You can also set aside some time over the weekend to prep some quickie lunch items. Chop up veggies and fruits so that you can throw together quickie salad, whip up a batch of tofu salad for sandwiches, or make a dish just for your week's lunches.
Waste Free Storage
The only problem with traditional packed lunches is the waste that goes along with them. Between the brown bag, plastic baggies, disposable pudding cup, and can or box of juice or soda, we throw away tons of waste when lunch is through.
Cut back on lunchtime waste by investing in some reusable containers and opting for fresh food rather than packaged. You'll save money in the long run, because you won't have to buy those baggies and other disposables over and over. If you want to get extra fancy, replace your paper napkins with cloth to reduce waste even more!
If packing lunches starts to feel boring, try changing your packed lunch philosophy. Lunch doesn't have to center on leftovers or a sandwich. Grab a bento box, like in the photo above, and pack a lunch that's full of variety. The lunch in the photo is one I packed a few years ago when I was still working in an office and it contains: black bean loaf, steamed broccoli, salad dressing, a handful of cashews, and a diced pear for snacking.
Have you guys taken steps to reduce waste when you're packing your lunch? I'd love to hear your packed lunch ideas in the comments!