Lunches: Bought vs. Brought

I notice that a lot of my coworkers purchase their lunch, and sometimes their breakfasts.  It’s not every day, and it’s not all of them, but it’s still a lot of lunches!  But who can blame them?  It’s convenient, it’s quick, and it’s tasty.

Here’s what a typical bought lunch looks like.


Teriyaki chicken, an eggroll, and a soda. Yes, I eat at my desk…alone! *sob!*

Yum!  But all of that packaging goes into the trash.  The cup and straw – trash.  Bag of chips?  Trash.  Napkins…?  Well, you get the idea.

Not only that, but this is a huge punch to the financial gut.  Let’s say you buy your meals at work, and you’re fairly frugal about it.  Say…an average of $5 a day (and I KNOW it can go waaay over this).  Let’s make it four days a week to be generous, and two weeks off a year for vacation.

$5 x 4 days a week x 50 weeks = $1,000/year.

YIKES!  Considering that many people spend more than this (you know who you are, Starbucks coffee drinkers…), that is a huge chunk of cash!  And lots and lots of garbage that gets carted off to landfills to rot…very…very…slowly.

I bring my lunch most days, in tupperware, but on a whim I bought a Laptop Lunch System Bento Box – Primary.  And then I ran through the pages over at Lunch in a Box.

The wonderful thing about the bento box is that it creates no waste, and I LOVE that this one has utensils that fit right into the box.  I’m always losing/forgetting utensils.  It looks like it’s for kids, but it fits plenty of food for me, and the insulated carrying case looks adult enough.  If you browse through bento boxes though, you can find some really adorable ones.

My first lunch:


The upper left container has a leakproof lid. It must be removed for microwaving.

Leftover pizza in the lower right, mustard greens and green zebra tomatoes in the lower left, pasta with homemade tomato sauce in the upper left, and carrots and bread with hummus in the upper right.

My second lunch:

Can you tell we had lots of leftover pizza?

Can you tell we had lots of leftover pizza?

Peas in the lower right, leftover pizza in the lower left, Plain yogurt with peaches and honey in the upper left, and carrot sticks and hummus in the upper right.

COST: $60 with shipping for two bento boxes.

TIME INVESTMENT: Cook enough dinner for leftovers, keep fresh fruit around, and it takes five minutes to pack yourself a lunch.  Ten to fifteen if you want to get fancy!  Look up “bento box” on flickr if you wanna know what I mean…

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