5 reasons to start packing your own lunch
Updated: Jan 6
By buying your own lunch every day means you’re not only contributing to landfill with unnecessary packaging and plastic, you’re missing an opportunity to make a healthy impact on your diet.
Whether you're back in the office or working from home, walking up the road to grab a bite can serve up a healthy dose of exercise and provide a mental break from the grind. Have you ever considered however, that buying a takeaway lunch can stretch the bank account as well as the waistline - not to mention the waste it creates for the planet.
Here are 5 reasons to shake up your lunch break with something homemade - for the benefit of both you and the planet.
1. A home made lunch is faster
The 15 minutes you spend packing leftovers or a healthy salad in the morning (or better still, the night before) is 15 minutes saved from queuing in your lunch hour - time better spent sitting under a tree in the park, munching a healthy and satisfying lunch. Or opt to eat in at your favourite lunch spot instead - even if it’s just a coffee to support your local cafe and take in a change of scenery.
2. A home made lunch uses less packaging
At the very least a bought lunch is wrapped in paper, which might seem innocuous, but paper and cardboard used to wrap food items is often lined with eco unfriendly plastic to contain liquids for leak-free takeaway. For the most part, food purchased on the go comes in plastic boxes, plastic wrap, plastic-lined cardboard and in some cases, even with plastic cutlery.
3. A home made lunch is healthier
You choose what you put into your body. Making enough for leftovers 2 or 3 nights a week when you cook dinner means you can simply grab and go in the morning. Pack it into a lunch box and pop it in the fridge when you're cleaning up the kitchen after dinner. Easy.
4. A home made lunch is cheaper
Leftovers are essentially free; an extra serve at dinner time simply factored into the weekly food budget. It's far more economical than a stand alone lunch purchase, even if it's only a couple of times a week. Keep track of your spend for a month to realise the money you'll be saving!
5. A home made lunch means you'll eat less
A pre-packed lunch is portion control at its best. All the work is already done for you, by you. No decisions to make, no impulse buys of muffins, brunch bars or that chocolate caramel slice your favourite cafe ALWAYS puts right in front of you.
It's yummier too. Honesty, how many times have you been hit with a wave of disappointment when you tucked in to a cafe or takeaway lunch, thinking, "Ugh! I could do a better job than this…" Do it.
There’s no such thing as a free lunch, but here are some top tips for taking yours from bland to beautiful:
Add roasted vegetables to your salad
Roast a bunch of root vegetables such as sweet potato, beetroot, carrots, even cauliflower on Sunday night and store in the fridge to take a handful from each day to add to you salad
Add crunch with nuts
Mix it up week to week with toasted almonds, walnuts or pistachios. At least keep a staple supply of pepitas and sunflower seeds in the pantry boost the texture and add a little protein.
It’s all about the salad dressing
Mix up your own simple vinaigrette and store in the fridge, keep in a separate container to splash on your salad at lunch time so it doesn’t go soggy.
Keep it simple
One bowl works best when you’re on the run so rummage around in the Tupperware drawer for a generous sized container to build a base salad in each day. Keep veges, nuts and dressing in separate small containers to add in at lunch time.
Add an egg
Remember a hard boiled egg comes in it’s own packaging! Soft boil for a goey centre that coats the leaves and elevates you salad - peel at lunch time for a filling addition that is another easy protein boost too.
Make it fun
Grab your favourite fork and a sharp knife with its own safety sleeve and earmark them for your salad. Store them in a cute lunch box or insulated carry bag and you’re all set up!
Images from top | Matilda Bellman; Crisitano Pinto; Luisa Brimble on unsplash