Bringing your own lunch to work instead of eating in the office cafeteria has many advantages. To help you make a more informed choice, here are some reasons why it is often better to pack a lunch:
- It’s more economical. If eating lunch in the work cafeteria costs $8, for example, and making a lunch at home costs only $3, you will save $5 a day—that translates to around $1,300 more in your pocket every year. But these savings require a bit of planning. Smart options include making extra servings of dinner to put in your lunch box that week, buying family-sized loaves for sandwiches, or buying family packs of yogurt that come in individual portions and reusable containers.
- You have more control over what you eat. Meal options offered in cafeterias and canteens aren’t always balanced. They often contain too much fat, salt and/or sugar. But when you prepare your own lunch, you can make sure you are getting enough fibre, dairy products (like probiotic yogurt or milk), and fresh and colourful fruits and vegetables.
- You can make sure the food you eat is fresh. Homemade sandwiches will be much fresher than those prepared in industrial kitchens days before.
- You can eat the things you like and enjoy a better variety of food. When you pack a lunch, you get to decide what you eat each day, not the cooks in the cafeteria or canteen. Who said you always have to eat fish on Fridays?
- It’s better for the environment. Cafeterias and canteens often serve food in single-use containers that can’t be reused or recycled. Styrofoam, for example, is almost never recycled in Canada, and you can’t recycle containers that have been contaminated with food.
By better controlling what we eat, we also help our digestive systems because we can choose foods that are easy to digest and adapt portion sizes according to our needs. However, make sure to pack enough good food in your lunch box so you’re not tempted to snack on food from the cafeteria.