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Wellness Minute

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Plan Ahead

One step you can take to becoming healthier is looking at your lunches. Planning ahead and packing your lunch is not only healthy but also a huge money saver! Eating out is something that usually prevails - thanks to our busy schedules. We’re always running late and it takes time to pack a lunch, so we figure it’s more convenient to just grab something by the office. Unfortunately, eating out every day certainly isn’t doing your health or wallet any favors.

Money, money, money - -

  • As much as 40% of food goes uneaten in the U.S. Americans throw away $165 billion in wasted food every year, according to Harvard Law School’s Food Law and Policy Clinic and the Natural Resources Defense Council, or NRDC, a non-profit environmental action group.
  • You're already taking the time to grocery shop, getting home and trying to be the Hulk by carrying all the bags in one trip, putting everything away and then in a week throw 40% of it away?! Why not use that 40% for lunches?!
  • Yet another bonus--the food in your kitchen is much cheaper than vending machine and restaurant prices.

Healthy - -

  • Packing your own lunch puts you in control of what you eat. A 2014 study showed that people take in 200 more calories when they eat out, which can really add up over time and negatively affect your health.

Make it Simple - -

  • Making a sandwich is one approach to lunch, but consider using supper as lunch. Make a little extra supper, so you could stretch it out for a few lunches. You could even freeze extras for later!
  • Planning meals ahead doesn’t mean you have to waste an entire Sunday making food; make it easy and simple by fitting it to what you already do.
  • Don’t limit to just lunch, pack snacks too! You're less likely to buy food you don’t need or eat extra calories when you're bored.

Time Saver--

  • Yet another bonus with packing your own lunch is time-saving. You're more efficient with your time by packing your own lunch. You're not rushing out to get fast food on your half-hour lunch break, then rushing to get back to the office on time. You can actually sit down and enjoy your meal! Maybe you even have time for a short walk now?

Dietitian Tips

As a dietitian, I'm ALWAYS encouraging people to eat more fruits and vegetables. Try to incorporate a fruit and or vegetable with your meals and snacks, no matter what meal it is. A few suggestions to make this easier are to:

  • Cut fruits and veggies ahead of time for easy snacks.
  • Don’t place produce in your produce drawers in your fridge where they end up sad and dying. Place on the shelves so you see them and more likely to eat them
  • Last dietitian tip: please keep your co-workers in mind. If you're eating at your desk in a shared office space, maybe don’t pack fish or hardboiled eggs.

Eating out every day certainly isn’t convenient for your bank account, or your waistline, so break out and dust off your lunch pail. You might be surprised how easy it is to save a good chunk of change each month, not to mention pounds.


Shelby Moose is a Registered Dietitian at Crossing Rivers Health. Learn more about Dietitian services available by clicking here or search some of Shelby's recipes here.