Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Brown Baggin' it...


Starting in January, I have been making a concerted effort to cut back on spending. When I looked at my monthly budget, it was glaringly obvious that food was a good place to start.

My daily routine consists of leaving the house at 5:30 in the morning to go to the gym. From there, I head about a mile down the road to work. At least 3 nights a week immediately after work, I have tennis matches or practice. All this means I am eating breakfast, lunch and sometimes dinner away from home. Let’s face it, our days are full enough by the time you get home who wants to put together 3 meals and snacks for the next day? For me, it added up to a lot of meals eaten out.

I go through periods where I am really good about packing meals and then fall off the wagon for a while. I am guessing there are others out there in the same boat trying to figure out how to fit it all in and not spend a fortune eating out on the go. Here are a few things that have been working for me:

1. Prep the bulk of your food at one time. On Sunday evenings, I usually take about an hour to make meals and snacks for the week and pack them in containers so I simply grab and go every morning. For example, I might cook a few chicken breasts, some brown rice and veggies and then put a little of each in plastic containers.



2. Yogurt and cereal is an excellent grab and go choice for breakfast. Following with the prep on Sunday theme, I put a little cereal in 5 small containers along with chia seeds or any other stir in.



3. Snacks. You know the drill… prep 5 containers of carrots, nuts, hummus, fruit, hard boiled eggs or whatever strikes your fancy. I was fortunate enough to win a supply of Honey Milk a while back. I love the light chocolate as a snack. It is in the neighborhood of 150 calories and a good mix of protein and carbs.



4. Keep a few staples at work. I always have a few snacks in my drawer at work. A couple of packets of oatmeal, peanut butter, trail mix and larabars all are great choices and can get you through the afternoon or a long morning.



For me, the key is doing it all in advance. I can’t count on my desire to prep meals when I get home from work/tennis at night so having it ready to go is a lifesaver. Be creative with your choices, you might be surprised at how good your brown bag lunch can be!



For my next trick... How to pack 2 gym bags in less than 10 minutes!

6 comments:

That Pink Girl said...

I pack my lunches in advance but it NEVER occured to me to pack my cereal in advance. Duh.
You are a GENIUS! Thanks for the tip. I'm off to pack away some Cheerios...

Ewa said...

I can't eat outside. Whatever they put in food makes me double hungry a couple of hours later and I cannot satisfy that hunger for a couple of days. I am not kidding. So yep, I am always packing my food. Cheaper and for me definitely safer.

Amanda said...

I'm at eat at home person so I rarely eat out during the week, but it can still be tough. You had some great tips here and some that I could see putting in to practice even prepping for eating at home during the week after a long day.

Jennifer said...

You got it! When I first starting brown bagging it I saved a ton of money and lost some weight. Good for you! Now it is pretty much ingrained, it also makes going out to eat such a real treat because now it is something special to do. Cheers!

Jan said...

I have been brown bagging it for about 6 or 7 months. Both my breakfast and lunch. I have saved so much time and money! But I also feel I have so much more control as to what I am putting in my body now. I agree with Jennifer that going out to eat is a treat now, just like it used to be when I was growing up.

Jenn (DisneyGirlInNJ) said...

I did this for awhile and then started slacking off big time. The past few days I've finally started to slowly get back into it. Stocked up on yogurt, salad items, fruit, hummus, pita, etc. I know it's not a perfect plan yet but it's much better than I've been doing. I'm hoping next weekend I can sit down, plan a menu, and precook everything!