There’s no doubt about it. The money saving and health benefits of taking your lunch are enormous. This is one area of your life where you can quickly see the savings and positive health impacts add up.
Budget Benefits of Taking Your Lunch
If you’re not sure whether it will really be cheaper to take your lunch, try tracking what you’re spending on eating lunch out for a month. Visa’s free Lunch Tracker app for iOS can easily help you do this. The app was developed after Visa’s 2015 Lunch Survey found that on average, Americans eat lunch out about 2 times per week and spend $20 per week or $1,043 per year on eating lunch out. Remember that’s only for eating lunch twice a week.
In contrast, those who packed a lunch or ate at home an average of 5 times per week spent $32.76 per week or $1,704 per year. That’s for 3 days more per week of lunches.
Here’s more proof of how realistic it is to take your lunch less expensively than it is to eat out. On average, I spend about $27 for 7 days of incredibly healthy lunches. That’s about $3.85 per lunch. Even if you ate the cheapest fast food possible – for around $3 per lunch – that’s still $21 per week on lunches that will without a doubt come back to bite you (pun intended) with extremely high health costs in the long run.
Health Benefits of Taking Your Lunch
Here’s a look at just some of the health benefits of taking your lunch.
- You’re in control of what you eat.
- You don’t spend time waiting on your food in a restaurant or going through a drive-thru. You can use the extra time instead to sit outside and enjoy your lunch in a much more healthy and relaxing way or you can even have time to take a walk or move a little after you eat.
- Spending less is healthier because it causes less stress over money.
Things to Keep in Mind
There are several things to keep in mind to make taking a lunch do-able and healthy.
- Use reusable food storage bags. I highly recommend silicone bags (Affiliate Link) for making sure that chemicals don’t leach into food.
- Use glass food storage containers or Stainless steel lunch containers (Affiliate Link)
- Batch prepare your lunches on the weekend or days off.
- Be sure and take your own reusable water bottle. Going to all of the trouble of packing your lunch is diluted if you have to spend a fortune on buying a drink from a vending machine. Even water in a vending machine is expensive and comes in unhealthy plastic bottles.
If you need some inspiration to get you going in taking your lunch, be sure and check out my 5 Healthy Lunch Ideas for Busy Women.