Author Topic: Packing more lunches  (Read 2811 times)

MgoSam

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3643
  • Location: Minnesota
Packing more lunches
« on: June 28, 2013, 10:08:18 PM »
I need your help and advice. I have been eating out most lunches while at the office, I know this is not healthy and not cheap. I don't go any extravegent, but instead have gotten into a habit of eating fast food. I realize I do this for the following reasons

a. Get out of the office for a little bit, which helps relax me as while I am there I am usually on the phone the entire time (talking to customers) or doing something on the computer.
b. As this is a habit, it is mildly relaxing doing it
c. When I do bring a lunch, I find myself not wanting to eat it and honestly have given it away to someone else or brought it home for dinner rather than eating it for lunch

Part of what I need to do is get myself to eat lunches that appeal to me. Any advice on stopping this ridiculous habit?

footenote

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 801
  • MMMing in MN
Re: Packing more lunches
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2013, 07:59:50 AM »
You already know you need to play some Jedi Mind tricks (aka Cognitive Behavior Therapy) on your own brain to replace pleasant, rewarding habit with an equally pleasant, rewarding habit. (Great self-awareness!)

What could make you feel rewarded by eating a packed lunch? Here are some possible ideas for creating your habit-reward cycle:

- Spend the time and money to make lunches that you find absolutely scrumptious. Maybe even foods that are somewhat expensive and/or fattening. (You can modify lunch content to be cheaper and/or healthier once you establish the habit-reward cycle.)
- Ritualize visualizing the money you're saving. This could be as elaborate as taking the amount you usually spend weekly, including tips and gas money if you drive, and putting the cash you would have spent in a glass jar daily. Or it could be as simple as logging the money saved in a spreadsheet.
- Find someone at work you like and enjoy hanging out with others who brown bag. (This may have a more general side benefit of socializing with co-workers who are frugal.)
- Find a place outside the office where you can eat your lunch. If you do not live in the southwestern US, right now is the perfect time of year to have a relaxing bag lunch in a park near your office.

Good luck and keep us posted! There are other threads on yummy sandwiches, and even one on no-refrigeration-required sandwiches

onehappypanda

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 238
  • Location: Columbus, Ohio
Re: Packing more lunches
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2013, 01:45:15 PM »
I was in a similar spot in the past and a few major things helped.

1. Talk to others in the office about going on "lunch walks" or brownbagging together. I did this and found out that several other people were thinking the same things as me, wanting to save money, but not wanting to miss out on going out to lunches with others. So now we try to brownbag it together and go for walks outside in our lunch time, which is ultimately more enjoyable anyway. Some coworkers may not be interested in this, but the ones that are would be good friends to have.

2. Learn to cook packable food. It's its own little art form, but there's tons of info on delicious packable lunches online. Also, find appropriate containers that seal tightly. I really like my set of Lock 'n Lock containers and this big thing I have for salad. Amazon has tons of options, just a couple good containers makes it a LOT easier to pack lunch.

Also, include a little treat or something you love from time to time. For me, that means fresh fruit and squares of dark chocolate, fancy roasted nuts, or a couple squares of cheese. If it's something you couldn't get at a restaurant, all the better- it'll get you craving your homemade lunch.

3. Even if you aren't thrilled with it, suck it up and eat it anyway. Seriously, just stop making excuses for yourself and eat the freaking lunch. A few less-than-awesome lunches won't kill you, which is something I had to learn. And ultimately, even on days that lunch doesn't feel as exciting as going out would have, when I think of the pile of cash and calories that I'm saving, it's still worth it.

Also pragmatically, ALWAYS pack lunch the night before unless you're really a morning person. When I end up buying nowadays, it's almost always because I got lazy and didn't pack it the night before, and I never seem to find the time in the morning.

hybrid

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1673
  • Age: 53
  • Location: Richmond, Virginia
  • A hybrid of MMM and thoughtful consumer.
Re: Packing more lunches
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2013, 03:37:23 PM »
When you are cooking at home for dinner, make a larger portion and bring the rest to work the next day, especially if it was something particularly good.  As I write I have a really awesome burrito bowl simmering and it makes perfect leftovers.  If I double the recipe I have lunch covered for three days.

I agree with everyone who has said focus on the positives, but keep in mind the negatives too.  Fast food is absolutely horrible for you if you are buying a lot of fried foods.  Lord knows I've eaten more than my share of McDonalds and Wendy's over the years, but seriously, it's like eating poison if you eat it too often. (I will give these folks some credit though, it's a lot easier to eat healthy at a fast food joint than it used to be).  Let McDonalds french fries (which are freaking awesome when they come right out of the frier) become an occasional treat instead of a staple.  Your body will thank you later.

I've been in exactly your shoes and I know it's tough to avoid the tasty and easy path here, but the good news is you know you should be avoiding the easy path.  You are halfway to your goal.