Packed Lunches – Not Just for Kids

Packing school lunches has been part of my daily routine for a long time. It started around 17 years ago, when my eldest started going to child care a few days per week. I hate to think how many lunches I've prepared since then!

My kids are all now old enough to prepare their own school lunches, but I still like to oversee the process so I can satisfy myself that they're getting balanced and nutritious meals and snacks. Very occasionally, as a treat, instead of giving them a packed lunch I give them some money to spend at the school canteen. However last time I offered that to my fourteen-year old, he told me that he would rather take food from home. He explained that 'our food is yummier – and five bucks gets you hard anything at the canteen'.

Not long after meeting my partner, I discovered that he takes a packed lunch (including a hot drink in a Thermos) to work every day and has done so for many years. I remember thinking that this was rather quaint. I associated it with going off to school, rather than something an adult would do. I now think of packed lunches as just plain good sense!

Taking your food from home makes good sense financially. Think about it. If you head to work empty-handed, you might buy a takeaway coffee ($ 4- $ 5) and if you're peckish maybe also a pack of nuts or a muffin ($ 3- $ 4). When lunchtime rolls around even a pretty ordinary salad roll or wrap will set you back $ 5- $ 7. Let's imagine you have a busy afternoon so you skip afternoon tea. Even so, you're likely to have spent between $ 12 and $ 16 (ie between $ 60 and $ 80 per week if you buy food like this every week day).

Taking a packed lunch also makes good sense from a nutritional perspective. Admittedly it will take a little extra time, but once you're in the habit of preparing your food beforehand you're likely to appreciate the freshness and variety – as well as the effect on your hip pocket. Pre-cook some brown rice or wholemeal pasta , toss in some form of protein (like tuna or a boiled egg) and some fresh veggies (like snowpeas, capsicum, and green beans) and perhaps a dash of fat-free mayo or salad dressing – and Voila – instant lunch! Leftovers can be great, too. Just make sure you keep everything refrigerated or in an insulated lunch-pack to keep any 'bugs' at bay.

Source by Dr Clarissa Hughes

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