I think you will be shocked at what a difference packing a lunch for work can make!
There are 2 reasons why I pack my lunch everyday. For one it helps me stay on target for a healthy lifestyle. The second, is that it keeps me from spending extra money!
I am going to break down exactly how this can have an impact on you like it has for me and my husband.
The reasons why I started this habit years ago was because I worked at a mall and didn’t want to eat the unhealthy options at the food court everyday. I was trying to get in shape, and I knew my chicken tender habit had to go!
When you pack your own lunch you are in complete control of the ingredients! This allowed me to concentrate on foods that are high in protein and nutritious.
I am going to give a breakdown of one of my favorite lunches. I’ll show you the nutrition facts and the cost factors as well!
Example of a healthy packed lunch
My example lunch, one of my favorites, is a tuna sandwich. This is pretty basic but cheap, easy and a pantry staple.
Here’s my recipe
Ingredients Calories Fat Protein
tuna 100 1 24
relish 20 0 0
celery 6 0 0
low-fat mayo 80 8 0
bread 280 6 12
Basic, easy, but healthy!
Look at these numbers. If we add all of the calories we are at 540! This is enough for 2 sandwiches! When I make this there is plenty for both my husband and myself.
A great lunch at only 270 calories, 7.5 grams of fat, and 18 grams of protein!! This is a winner.
I would like to take a second to compare a tuna sandwich at a fast food chain.
The fast food tuna sandwich comes in at 600 calories, 38 grams of fat and 18 grams of protein. The protein grams are comparable but look at the difference in fat grams and calories!
My lighter tuna sandwich is not only extremely healthy, but it’s very inexpensive.
Now let’s look at the cost breakdown of my recipe for tuna salad.
Looking at all the same ingredients.
Cost breakdown for tuna sandwich:
Pickle relish $.06
Light mayo .83
Remember this is for 2 sandwiches!
$1.82 per sandwich! Yes I can feed both of us for less than $5. Because we are both at work for 10 + hours I usually pack a Greek yogurt $1.00 and a banana .19 cents. So we are still at $3.01 for a healthy and nutritious lunch!
Now the price for that tuna sandwich from the local chain is $8.29 with tax. That does not include drinks or chips which lets face it most of us would get. It also doesn't include a delivery fee, which can really add up!
I think we can all agree that the lunch from home is looking pretty good!
I know I’m getting really excited about how frugal and healthy this is, but I want you to understand how much this helps me and my husband stay on track for our goals.
Now don’t misunderstand me, we still treat ourselves! For us it is much more important to save a lunch out for when we have a day off together. It’s a treat for us to go to the beach near our house and splurge on a "lunch date." This is a better use of our money to actually enjoy a meal together instead of a windowless break-room at work.
Of course I had to teach this concept to my husband when we first became a couple. He wanted to lose weight so naturally I helped him by doing what had worked for me for so many years. It was just as easy to pack two lunches.
This was one of the changes in his lifestyle that helped him lose 20 pounds!
Breakdown of savings from packing your lunch
Let’s breakdown how much this will save you. This is the big picture of what you’ll save in a week, month and year. Here’s where this math gets really exciting. If I’m spending an average of $3.01 on lunch (sandwich, yogurt, banana) while most lunches out average $8 (which I think is conservative) I’m saving $4.99 a day.
That’s just for one lunch. So together we save
49.90 a week
199.60 a month!!
2,594.80 a year!!!!
When you really break it down and do the math these numbers will blow your mind! This is how we save for vacations, fun activities, and fancier dinner dates!
Now I know your thinking I can't just eat tuna sandwiches everyday. You don't have to. This is just one example of an inexpensive, healthy lunch. You can take egg salad, chicken salad, or leftovers from the dinner you cooked the night before. I always plan for leftovers for this exact reason.
So now you know my 2 reasons why I pack my lunch every day! Think of what you could save your money for, not to mention the potential calories you could eliminate!
This concept can work for many things, what kind of numbers could you save if you eliminated that coffee habit too??!