This past winter, I made an effort to make and bring lunches to work because I was tracking my macros and wanted to eat healthier and eat less restaurant food, which I was often opting for lunch and dinner (and occasionally store-bought breakfast). Living in Tokyo with almost unavoidable convenience to dine out in high quality at a reasonable price, I was enticed to take that easy food option. There was heaps of learning and here are the key takeaways I found making lunches for work:
- I saved a lot of money. I cut my food cost by more than half because I made my own food. It made me realize how eating lunch out was so much more expensive than I had thought when you calculate the daily unconscious rituals.
- Meal prep is key. You have to think about what ingredients are in your fridge and what ingredients are missing. If you have a bland looking and mono-tone colored ingredients, lunch box is boring, thus your lunch gets boring. If you shop your ingredients in one go (say on Sundays), you know by looking at your cart what colors are missing to make lunches pretty and tasty. Sundays also became my cooking day that allowed me to spend more time in the kitchen, and it made the rest of the week a lot better.
- Cooking is like meditating. Seriously, chopping vegetables sometimes hurt my arms (when I’m doing bulk), but the act of cutting, stirring, finding spices in the pantry, test tasting is all so soothing. It made me realize how much I love spending time in the kitchen.
- With that said, I had to cut down on my sleeping time. I have to admit, I was busy because I like to keep myself busy. I didn’t cut my other activity time to make my lunches, so I had to cut down my sleeping hours. Maybe I had extra dark looking eye bags for a while…
- I was positively influenced by my peers around me. I’m referring to my amazing colleagues who also decided to make their time to bring lunches. We always peeked into each others lunches and asked what was in it, how they were made, how we can be more creative with ours… Because they brought lunches, I planned and brought mine. There was a good community that supported for each others’ improvement in health and cooking techniques, which I liked most out of all.
So I’m talking about this in past tense because I haven’t brought lunches in a while and I’m off the rhythm… It requires a lot of thinking because you want variety, you want to test various restaurants, you want to eat with certain people… I’m taking this whole thing back to #balance because I think that’s what we need at the end of the day.
One last note: if I were to add one more bullet point to this, I came to appreciate even more what my mom did for me for 15 years of my childhood… she made me lunch every single day! How did she make such nice looking and tasty lunches!? My mom’s a superwoman.
Can you see how much more sophisticated the lunchbox my mom makes (she would probably tell me not to post this one because she has better ones – and it’s true!)? and yes, please look at that dinosaur eggs. She’s got some serious knife skills.