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If you are on the fence about packing lunches for school or work, let me share some compelling benefits of a homemade lunch.
What you eat for lunch determines how you function for the rest of the day.
If you don’t provide your body with the nutrients it needs, you’ll end up getting cranky and tired by late afternoon.
Often, it leads to you craving sugary snacks loaded with calories.
These are a few of the many reasons you need to get into the habit of packing a healthy lunch for yourself and your kids.
Need more convincing? Check out the many benefits of packing a homemade lunch below.
Gives you control of what your family eats
When your kid is ordering from a school cafeteria, you don’t always have an idea of what they are consuming for lunch, or if they are making healthy choices.
Packing lunch from home means you can plan out their meals and ensure that they are getting the nutrients they need. Also, it’s safer for your family if they have food allergies or sensitivities.
Note: While there are many reasons to pack a homemade lunch, you lose many of the benefits if you are not making healthy choices. Learn how to pack a nutritious lunch for school/work.
You can pack meals that you (and your child) will actually eat
Cafeterias tend to have limited food choices, which can get boring after a while. If you have picky eaters at home, then they may end up eating very little or skipping their lunch altogether.
When you are packing lunches at home, you have a variety of healthy choices to pick from. Kids who are involved in picking and packing their lunches are more likely to eat their lunch at school.
Cuts down calorie consumption
Lunch portions served in the cafeteria can be excessive. They also contain a lot more unsaturated fat and sodium.
With homemade lunch, you get to decide the portion size, and it also helps you and your family avoid unhealthy sides, like fries and sodas.
Prevents the afternoon slump (and hitting the vending machine)
Eating a well-balanced lunch helps regulate your blood sugar levels. When you fill your lunchbox with food that keeps you energized, you are less likely to crave an unhealthy snack from the vending machine.
Great way to use your leftovers
Don’t throw away your dinner leftovers – pack them for lunch the next day. Even better, plan your dinner so that you have leftovers. This way, you aren’t scrambling the next morning, trying to pack a lunch.
Cheaper than cafeteria lunch
Most cafeteria lunches cost around $8 or more per day or approximately $2000+ per year, per person (if you eat out every day). Swap outside food with homemade lunch and use the savings to take a vacation 🙂 !
More time to enjoy lunch
When I was working at a corporate office, taking homemade lunch meant that I didn’t have to waste precious time figuring where I wanted to eat.
Also, since I didn’t have to stand in line, I had more time to enjoy my lunch. This holds true for kids too. I’ve heard school cafeterias can have long lines and kids often don’t get enough time to finish off their lunch.
You are less likely to skip lunch
There have been plenty of times you may have skipped your lunch because someone scheduled a meeting or you didn’t have a moment to step out before the cafeteria closed for the day. If you have packed lunch, it is easier to grab a quick bite and not starve yourself.
Also, kids often have extracurricular activities scheduled during lunch, and in those times, having lunch packed from home ensures that they are not skipping lunch.
Kids perform better in school
Studies show that kids who bring a healthy lunch from home are able to focus more, do well in school, and are less likely to be overweight.
Helps develop healthy habits
Teaching kids how to pack healthy lunches helps them cultivate healthy eating habits that they are most likely to continue throughout their adult life.
Depending on their age, they can be responsible for putting together a few elements, or even fully packing their own lunches.
Less food wastage
How many times do we end up throwing produce because we haven’t had a chance to use it or eat it? When you double up a recipe it helps you use up all the ingredients.
Also, more often than not, outside food is served in large portion sizes, which means you have to throw away the unfinished cafeteria food.
The more we eat outside, the more we use single-use plastic containers, utensils, straws, and cups.
Packed lunches are one way to reduce our carbon footprint. Just make sure that you are using reusable lunch boxes, containers, and bottles.
Looking for leak-proof lunchboxes that’ll keep your food warm? Check out my top recommendations for school lunch supplies.
If you are new to packing lunches, my advice would be to start slow. Begin with packing 1-2 lunches a week and then increase the frequency as weeks go by.
Need help with packing lunches?
Here are some articles that’ll help you in your lunch packing journey –
- Stocking your pantry for school / work lunches
- How to pack healthy lunches for school and work
- How to plan and prep for school lunches
- Healthy snacks and sides to pack with school or work lunch
- Best lunch supplies for packed lunches
- 10+ smart tips & hacks for packing lunches