Happy 2018! Now is the time when magazines and websites start talking about New Year's resolutions. We don't necessarily believe in them (so many set you up to fail!), but we do believe in making every year better than the one before it. And so we present you with Feel Good Habits. Every day this week, we'll be running tips to help you with a new promise you might have made yourself.
Mornings are hard! You have to wake up, shower, pick out clothes and put them on, make the coffee, and do all the other things. Making lunch for the day is often one of the first things to be cut from the morning's mile-long to-do list. But 2018 is the year that changes. Here are our best tips to get you eating more homemade lunches and spending less money on mediocre deli sandwiches.
1. Look beyond the sandwich.
Bread and whatever else you have on hand can get boring day after day, week after week. But that doesn't mean you have to have a boring salad either.
Add these to your meal plan: 10 Sandwich-Free Lunch Ideas for Kids and Grownups Alike
2. Upgrade the basic salad.
Of course, you can have a salad. Just mix things up a little to prevent boredom from taking over.
3. Keep things simple.
Yes, we're suggesting new ideas beyond sandwiches, but the menu doesn't have to be complicated. In fact, it shouldn't be! If you plan something that's too involved, you're likely to get overwhelmed and stop packing lunch after just a few days.
4. Eat the things you actually want for lunch.
Don't make a salad just because you feel like that's what you're supposed to be eating. And don't bring leftovers if you know you hate how they taste after a spin in the microwave. Bring something you don't actually want to eat and you risk wasting that food — and wasting money when you eventually cave and go buy something else.
5. Stock your desk with the necessary supplies.
In addition to bringing your lunch to work, you should probably consider bringing in a few other things as well. "I like to bring my own salad bowl, utensils, knife, cutting board, olive oil, and salt if the office doesn't have these things on hand," says reader mloeffler.
6. Prepare foods in bulk and bring it all to the office if possible.
Bring whatever you can prepare ahead of time and the rest of your ingredients to the office and stash it all in the fridge if there is one. If you have everything you need already at the office, it'll be pretty easy to motivate and make that lunch. And choosing to snooze for 10 minutes in the morning won't prevent you from having a homemade lunch later in the day.
7. Set up everything the night before so you don't rush in the morning.
If you can't bring your ingredients into work for the week (or you still have a few extra things to bring in), get everything ready the night before. Have it all packed up so that in the morning you just have to grab it.
8. Set specific days of when you will bring lunch into work.
You do not have to bring lunch every day! Consider taking Fridays off and treat yourself to Chipotle or whatever it is you want. Or take off Wednesday and use Sunday to prep for Monday and Tuesday and then use Wednesday night to prep for Thursday and Friday.
9. Bring a snack.
Our News & Culture Editor, Ariel Knutson, found that when she started packing her lunch, she was eating fewer calories and felt snacky later in the day. Bring an apple, some dried fruit, or some nuts to help you make it through the day.
10. Cut yourself some slack.
Just because you miss one day does mean that you're done for. So you left your all-packed lunch on the counter this morning? Tomorrow is a new day and you can try again!
Are you trying to pack your lunch more in 2018? What will you do to make it happen?