We all know in theory that brown bagging is a great way to save money and eat a bit healthier. However, for a lot of us, it’s hard to find the motivation and energy to pack a lunch, especially if it’s going to be the same old ham and cheese on wheat every day. Before long, we lose momentum and it’s back to eating burgers, pizza, and subs five days a week. If that sounds like you, here are some tips to help you pack an inexpensive lunch that will make you forget all about takeout and draining your bank account.
1. Get your kitchen organized.
The easier it is for you to pack your lunch, the fewer excuses you’ll have for skipping it.
Designate a cabinet or shelf for containers, bags and wraps, etc. Weed out any mismatched or damaged containers and lids. Make a point of keeping this area tidy and organized so that finding what you need is a breeze.
Clean out your fridge to make it easy to find condiments and salad dressings and to have room for leftovers, yogurt, prepared fruits and vegetables, and other easy to grab snacks. You’ll also want to keep a space available to store your lunch overnight if packing it the night before saves you time and forces you to bring your lunch.
Keep a basket on a shelf to store lunchbox snacks like granola bars, chips and crackers. You can portion out a week’s worth at a time in plastic bags – which is cheaper than buying individual servings.
2. Go beyond lunch meat.
Some people are happy eating the same deli meat and cheese sandwich every day, while others need variety. Foods marketed especially for lunch can also be more expensive than starting from whole foods and preparing them yourself.
Instead of deli meat – try slicing up chicken, turkey, beef and pork that you’ve cooked yourself at home and make sandwiches, lettuce wraps, and more. Not only can you save money this way, but you’ll also have more control over the ingredients.
If you like frozen meals for lunch, try making your own by freezing portions of lasagna, enchiladas, stews and other home-cooked foods that freeze well. The food will be tastier, and freezing to eat later is great for those who don’t like eating the same meals two or more days in a row.
Hummus with vegetables and pita bread for dipping can also be a very healthy lunch. Making your own hummus is incredibly cheap and you can even go beyond the normal chickpea version and experiment with black beans, edamame and other variations.
3. Make brown bagging it a fun, social affair.
You can encourage your colleagues to pack a lunch by talking to them about the benefits and encouraging them to give it a shot. Not only can they save money, but it can also help them lose weight and eat healthier.
Suggest fun ways to encourage each other to pack a lunch. Some workplaces have had great luck with a salad bar club (everyone brings different ingredients to keep in the fridge to make salads that week), or bringing dishes to share. For companies where people are interested in getting healthier, a quick brown bag lunch followed by a brisk walk during lunch hour can also be a great motivator.
As you can see – it’s easy to pack a lunch each day, and great for your health and budget!
Article Source: Tracy for Moneyning.com