How to Save $33 and 3,000 Calories During Your Lunch Break

Scrolling through your inbox, you look up and see that the clock reads 12:01. Lunchtime! You grab your phone, key swipe, wallet, and work best buddy to discover what the city has cooking for you today.

Will you choose Chipotle or Panera? Or maybe opt for something healthier like a salad from Verde?

Five Guys it is! $10 and 30 minutes later, your back at your desk with little to show for your double cheeseburger but a food coma. In addition to feeling lethargic, you can’t remember the last time you fit into your skinny jeans. Come to think of it, you’ve been eating out a lot lately. You check your bank account, and to your surprise you’ve spent over $50 just in the past week on fast casual lunches.

Sound familiar?

We are busy, we are stressed, and grabbing takeout so that we can eat in between meetings at our desk because it seems like the only option. The chart below represents a work week’s worth of some of my favorite chain food lunches.

This information came from a quick Google search. The restaurants are transparent.

Like a lot of young professionals, I fell into the unhealthy habit of eating out for lunch most days the first few years of my career. I found every excuse to justify the cost and impact on my health.

When I calculated how much I had been spending and started to not feel my best, I knew it was time to adopt a new and healthy habit.

The solution to my problems: B.Y.O.L (Bring your own lunch)

“But I’m a terrible cook!”– YouTube some Rachael Ray videos the world is your oyster.

“I don’t have time!”– Make some. If my sister meal preps as a full-time teacher with 4 children under the age of 8 running around, you can too!

I had similar objections…

The inspiration for meal prepping and B.Y.O.L came from Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Body. If you’re unfamiliar with Mr. Ferriss, he’s a master experimenter and life hacker.

This book provides the framework for the no gimmicks, no B.S. “Slow Carb Diet.” The best part is that there’s no fancy bars to buy or expensive color-coded Tupperware.

It’s a must read, but below are the simple rules:

Rule #1: Avoid white carbohydrates

Rule #2: Eat the same few meals over and over again

Rule #3: Don’t drink calories

Rule #4: Take one day off per week

Upon finishing the book, I cleared my Sunday, pulled on my yoga pants and headed to Trader Joes to purchase the recommended foods. I self-checked out $50 worth of groceries for the whole week. Yes, you read that correct, $50 for breakfast, lunch, AND dinner.

Meal prep was next, and an hour later five containers of grilled chicken breast, two cups of steamed broccoli, and a half cup of black beans sat prepared in the fridge for the week. Each lunch a whopping total of 261 calories, a mere 1/3 of the calories AND cost of my typical downtown Charleston lunch.

So what will you choose? A Chipotle burrito for lunch OR A well-deserved beach vacation you didn’t think you could afford?

Check out The 4 Hour Body


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