When C and I first moved to NYC, we realized that we had a different habit than many New Yorkers: we brought our lunch to work. Everyday. Most New Yorkers opt to jump out of the office for 15-20 minutes to pick something up at a nearby deli. It is very rare to find a NYCer who is dedicated to bringing their lunch to work each day…
So, why do I do it? A 15-20 minute GUARANTEED break from the office every day? Doesn’t that sound awesome. Not quite.
Here are my top 5 reasons why I pack my lunch every day:
1. You save a lot of calories… duh! It is so much healthier to bring my own lunch, especially living in New York City. Now don’t get me wrong… there are times where I will treat myself (or like yesterday, forget my lunch). One of the great things about NYC is that they include calorie counts on their menus. (This can be a bad thing for the person in denial.)
It is so revealing to see how many calories a simple deli sandwich has in it! Yesterday my best option — you won’t believe this — was a tuna sandwich. You know how much mayo is packed into said tuna sandwich? It was 500 calories at at least 180 calories less than any other option available. 500 calories is nearly 1-1/2 times what I should eat for lunch. And this is just a sandwich. Many people grab some chips and a drink to go with it. Or add a cup of soup. Before long, you have a 1,000+ calorie meal.
2. You save money. I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times, but it’s so true. Said sandwich was $8. For $8, I could buy a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter and make myself 20 sandwiches.
OK, maybe not that many… but you get the point.
It’s so much easier to say… plan to cook a bigger meal the night before (that’s where the crock pot comes in ) or to just make sure you have a few staples on hand — I have been obsessed with making ham sandwiches (butter, ham, cheese) with animal crackers on the side (thank you Target for the jumbo container)
3. You give yourself options. Yes, there are a million and one restaurants in NYC. But often they are several blocks away from you are… and during the lunch rush, the lines can be L-O-N-G. You may not have time for that, so you end up at the little deli (or the little place near your work if you aren’t in the city) and it’s just really not that good. And you just bought a pricey and unhealthy lunch that you really don’t like…
As lame as it sounds, I look forward to my lunches some day because I know exactly what to expect. Yes, I may just be boring but those animal crackers are pretty tempting…
4. You don’t put yourself in a bind… There’s nothing worse than being like, “oh hey, I’m going to go grab lunch because I have time today…” to only be SLAMMED at work and suddenly its 3 p.m. and your blood sugar is low and you have a throbbing headache… just me?
Anyways, no matter your industry, something weird is bound to come up one day and if you aren’t prepared with a nice lunch, you may put yourself in a situation that isn’t that fun… especially if you get said headache four hours before the end of your workday.
5. Remember the whole saving calories part? You can save them for whatever you want… As if the other four reasons weren’t enough! The fifth and possibly best reason why you should bring your own lunch to work is because those calories you saved at work? Well, you can use them for something you want! Sometimes after a really rough day, a little bowl of ice cream sounds really good. Or you really want to grab a latte on your way home because it’s really cold. Bringing your own lunch gives you the opportunity to do just that and not worry about breaking the daily calorie bank.
Are you a lunch packer? Why or why not?