It’s easy to become a bit lax on the job site when it comes to healthy eating. You work really hard and lunch time is the only time you get to relax and hopefully spend a bit of stress free time to yourself (unless of course the one guy who never stops yapping just happens to have his lunch at the same time). So, what do you do? You go get some fast food, hit up a vending machine or go in on a pizza with the other guys and split it. Heck, you earned it, right?
Fast-forward a year or two and you’re 20 pounds overweight and you just can’t seem to slim down. By this time you’re suck in your new habit of eating unhealthy foods and each day you feel more and more fatigued. Your back seems like it’s aching more (because it is due to the excess weight) and every day just feel more and more like you’re going one step forward and one step back. Sure, you’re paying the bills but you’re doing it at the cost of your health.
If this sounds like a familiar story, listen up. There’s a lunch hack that provides a simple solution to this problem. No, it’s not some fancy Facebook tip or trick like you see people doing nowadays, like 10 uses for an avocado when all you want to do is eat it, it’s a time-honored tradition that somehow got lost in the modern age of convenience. So what is it? Packing your lunch.
Yeah, okay, so maybe it doesn’t sound like much of a hack. But don’t close the browser window just yet. Eating out for lunch, on average, results in consuming around 827 calories (source). Packing a lunch can also lowers your stress levels and even improve work performance. And people who plan their meals ahead will also have 20% less risk of obesity (source). Packing your lunch will also give you control over what you eat and how much you eat.
Not only that, it will save you a ton of money. Eating out tends to cost around $10 a meal, while packing a lunch costs around $3–6 a meal (source). That’s two to three times the cost savings just by packing your lunch. And if you’re a real cheapskate, you can even get by on a salad kit that costs less than $3, though you might take a bit of verbal abuse from the guys.
All that said, you still need to play it smart when it comes to packing your lunch. First, go out and get a heavy duty lunch box built specifically for the job site, or a lunch bag, if you prefer. Then, pack your lunch the night before with healthy leftovers or whatever other healthy foods you desires. As a rule of thumb, half of your lunch should be non-starchy veggies (think green vegetables), a quarter should be lean meat (think chicken or fish), and the last quarter of your lunch should be whole grains (think wheat or brown rice) (source). Last, pack up some coffee, a protein shake, or another healthy beverage, aka not soda pop.
If you would like some tips and ideas of the best foods to pack in your lunch, see my full post on Healthy Foods for Construction Workers.
And that’s it. You’ll be feeling better, looking better, and saving money in no time. Now you can close the browser window.