As most people know, eating out on a regular basis can hurt your wallet (it will cost you nearly $2,000 a year) and your waistline. That’s because even the most nutritious-savvy person probably doesn’t know the full story about how many calories and fat grams lurk in their takeout. And yet, two-thirds of American workers still choose to regularly buy lunch out instead of packing it.
There are lots of reasons why. Sometimes you fall asleep on the couch before having the chance to pack a healthy salad. Other days your usual turkey sandwich sounds too uninspiring to stomach or you didn’t have time to stock up on lunchtime staples. But even with all that, it is possible to find the motivation to stop your lunchtime visits to the deli or take-out joint. You just need to turn it into a fun challenge.
Enter Lunch It, Punch It. Started by three coworkers who wanted to save money and eat healthier, Lunch It, Punch It provides people with a “loyalty card for their financial or nutritional goals.” The concept is simple: Pack 10 lunches in a row, and then reward yourself by purchasing a guilt-free lunch from your favorite local eatery. Simply recruit a friend or two in the office, print out the Lunch It, Punch It cards (or make your own!), and track everybody’s progress. By adding others into the mix, you’re more likely to stay accountable to your goals. That’s because, if you skip a day, you’ll have to start all over again and sit out on a fun lunch outing with your friends once they hit the 10-day mark. Along the way you’ll bond with coworkers about favorite recipes, stylish lunch containers and the best restaurants in town where you can treat yourselves on day 11.
If you’re interested in starting a Lunch It, Punch It group at your office, simply visit the website to print the official cards. You can even get creative and use stickers to replace the daily “punches.” Need some creative recipes? We’ve rounded up a few of our favorites below. Be sure to let us know which dishes you like best and share your own ideas in the comments!
- Quinoa taco salad
- “Leftover” lettuce wraps
- Avocado tomato salad
- Italian meatball soup
- Quinoa and spinach mac & cheese
Photo credit: Rubbermaid Products