First off, when I say brown bag lunch I really mean reusable lunch bag filled with food prepared from your home. I am not advocating for disposable paper lunch bags that show every bit of moisture and get thrown in the trash afterward.
Now, moving on.
You may have a horror story from your childhood of an embarrassing dripping pickle in your lunch bag or a sandwich that got smushed into the shape of a canoe. This may have been traumatizing and turned you off to bringing vs. buying your lunch, but as a Reduction Rebel it’s now my duty to bring you back to the benefits of being in control of the most important meal of your day.
1. Cost. Need I say more? You’re an adult; you know that you cannot live off the dollar menu and the alternatives cost much more than your groceries.
2. Reduce Food Waste. Bringing a lunch is the perfect opportunity to eat last night’s leftovers. This not only gives you a hot meal, it’s one less thing cluttering up the back of the frig only to get thrown out a week later.
3. Control your Options. If you’re just winging it, you’re not in control of what’s available for you to eat. You are at the mercy of the cafeteria or the eatery decided upon by your lunch buddies.
4. Decide before you’re Hungry. When I get hungry, I go right for the carbs. After all, hungry people do not make the best dietary decisions. So, if the night before your logical brain has already portioned out a fair amount of all the food groups, you’ll be poised to follow through with good eating habits.
5. Time Management. Wouldn’t you avoid waiting in line if you could? Think about rushing out on your lunch break. It’s not just waiting in line; it’s drive time and waiting for service. In my new book, Living Simple, Free & Happy I talk about being on other people’s schedule. Eating out is another example of this. You are against crowds, the competence of your waitress and the teamwork of the staff. This is all beyond your control even though you’re on your own timed schedule to get back to work.
6. Pace of Eating. It’s well know that smaller meals and more frequent snacking is the way to keep your blood-sugar up and your binge eating down. By bringing a pre-packed lunch to work you can eat intermittently throughout the day to preserve your mood and energy.
7. Reduce Resources. Processing and packaging of on-demand foods suck a ton or resources. From saving on gas by not driving to a restaurant to reducing waste by packing a reusable bag with reusable containers and a cloth napkin, bringing a lunch eliminates a chain of resources that are saved by bringing your own lunch.
Replacing a rushed lunch hour with thoughtful catch up time will reduce stress. I challenge you to bring your lunch to work for a week. See what you get done on your break. Does bringing your lunch mean you have time for a brisk walk? Or read a good book? Catch up on “thank you” cards?