Lunch is in the Bag
Imagine this scenario: The clock strikes 12 noon. You take out your lunch bag containing a variety of foods, including fruits and vegetables. You sit and enjoy some time with your co-workers. After eating, you and your co-workers take a stroll outside. Your brain and your body are refreshed and refueled.
Here is another scenario: You don’t take a lunch break at all, or perhaps you only break long enough to grab something from the vending machine like 65% of all the other Americans. Maybe you do go out for lunch, but you get your meal by driving through a fast food restaurant – not an unusual occurrence since 20% of all American meals are eaten in a car!
Which of these lunch time habits would help you meet your health, stress management and financial goals?
It SEEMS simpler, easier, or cheaper to get the $1.00 value meal of burger and fries, but consider the benefits of packing your lunch:
- Calories: A Double Whopper with cheese, large size fry and large soda contains 2,100 calories and 100 grams of fat – a full day allowance of calories (or more)for most people. Conversely, a home packed turkey sandwich on wheat bread with baked potato chips and a non-sweet tea totals about 500 calories and about six grams of fat.
- Cost: The book “What Are You Doing for Lunch” points out that were you to pack chicken salad on wheat bread, your cost to make a lunch would be $3.50 compared to the restaurant price of $7.50. The annual savings could be over $1,000.
- Save Money: The value meal is very tempting, but you may need to plan for high medical bills if you are a junk food junkie. People with diagnosed diabetes incur average medical expenditures of over $13,000 per year with $7,900 of that due directly to diabetes.
- Time: A few minutes at the grocery store, and a few minutes over the weekend or the night before going to work to prepare foods to pack can leave you time at lunch to relax. Try taking a lunch break and notice if you are more productive afterwards.
Bring Your Lunch
This grocery list is for a week’s worth of lunches costing $5 or less a day:
- Whole wheat pita bread
- Romaine lettuce
- 2 tomatoes
- 1 cucumber
- 1 bag baby carrots
- 1 bag of apples & oranges
- 1 can of light tuna in water
- 1 can of salmon (split for two meals)
- 1 prepared grilled chicken
- 3 cans of low-sodium, broth-based soup
- Salad dressing
With this list of foods, you can prepare at least five unique meals:
1 pita with lettuce and grilled chicken with light Caesar dressing; baby carrots; and an apple.
Salmon lettuce wraps with light sesame Asian dressing; 1 can of broth-based soup; and an orange.
Tomato & cucumber salad with olive oil and vinegar; tuna salad on pita; baby carrots; and an apple.
1 can of soup; and grilled chicken on a bed of romaine with sliced apple and light vinaigrette.
Garden salad with salmon, tomato, cucumber, and baby carrots; an orange; and 1 can of soup.
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