The Evolution of the Packed Lunch

As I was packing my lunch, I was thinking about all the times I have packed my lunch and how many years I have been doing this task. Well, that answer is since 2010. I started packing a lunch during my dietetic internship, because it was cheaper than purchasing a lunch at the hospital where I worked and since then I have done it everyday that I have worked (well almost every day). For 9 years, I have spent time putting together my lunch and carrying it into work. This might seem like such a boring and totally uneventful thing to write a blog post about, but I started to think about this more in depth and I thought it was so interesting.

Bare with me. Don’t stop reading, stay with me and follow this chain of thought. Some things have changed over the years, like when I packed my lunch (the night before vs the morning of) or even what all I put in my lunch, but the components have stayed the same. I have always brought with me my lunch and snacks. Those snacks have included yogurt, crackers, and an apple. And then with my lunch it always included a protein, a grain, veggies and fruit. For 9 years the parts of lunch have been the same, but what those exact items were has changed. I have to admit that lots of fad diets don’t even last 9 years.

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Over the past nine years some things have changed or adapted during that time, but one thing has persisted … I always bring my lunch

Changes in Packing a Lunch

  • My first year of working during my dietetic internship, I was living on my own and just making a lunch for myself and taking into work with me. I would make up something for dinner the night before and then take the left overs to work with me. Since it was just me in Kokomo, IN during the week I would make 1-2 meals a week and then eat those throughout the entire week for dinner/lunch. I would often box up the leftovers in smaller containers after I made the meal.

  • After finishing my internship, I got my first job and moved back to Lafayette, IN. I was working in a hospital and living in an apartment on my own and still packing my lunch. I would often make meals during the week for myself or Chas and I and then I would take the left overs to work. I would often put together my lunch bag in the morning before I headed to work. This was a cheaper option compared to buying my meals at work.

  • I continued to pack my lunch after I got married and Chas moved in with me. Chas started working in Indianapolis for the Boy Scouts and it wasn’t super feasible at that time for him to pack a lunch so I just continued packing my lunch in the morning before work.

  • We moved in Lebanon, IN and Chas was closer to his job. He would drive south and I would drive north and I continued to pack my left overs for lunches and then snacks for my drive to/from Lafayette each day. I would get my coffee ready in the morning for both of us and then hit the road for my 45 minute commute. My snacks would always include yogurt, an apple, string cheese, crackers. I would eat the yogurt at the end of the work day and then the other snacks while driving, because commuting is boring.

  • I ended up taking a new job in Indianapolis at St Vincent, we continued to live in Lebanon and I still packed my lunch. It was cheaper and easier to just continue packing my lunch. Chas took a new job within Boy Scouts and I started packing his lunch as well. He would eat in the break room and had access to a microwave. So I would pack left overs for both of us to take to work and include veggies, fruit, protein and a grain.

  • We ended up moving again to Noblesville, IN and I continued to drive to St Vincent and Chas started going to Anderson, IN. I tried to pack lunches for him, but his schedule was all over the place and some times it worked well and other times he didn’t need a lunch. I still look my snacks and ate them while driving the 30 minutes to/from work.

  • Chas ended up going to graduate school in Muncie, IN and we were still living in Noblesville. It made the most sense for him to take a lunch to school and then purchase dinner if he needed it. That ended up being the cheapest option for us. I had to pack items that would stay in a cooler bag and didn’t have to be microwaved, because he didn’t have easy access to a microwave. I would pack soup in a thermos and then lots of sandwiches with fresh veggies and fruit. I continued to take my left overs to work.

  • At the end of graduate school, we moved into Indianapolis and Chas started working downtown. He rides the bus and then I pack his lunch that he takes at eats for lunch each day. I pack left overs for both of us. I also packed William’s lunch to go to his nanny’s house and it often was left overs as well. We all had our lunch bags and every night after dinner I pack lunches. Now it looks different, because I have three lunch bags and one bottle bag for Samuel. I measure out milk for his 3 bottles and then pack meals for the other three of us.

As you can see over the last nine years, we have moved changed jobs, added family members and those family members have been growing up. One thing as stayed consistent … I always pack my lunch and pack meals for the other family members. Taking our lunch has saved us lots of money over the years and honestly is healthier for us. When Chas was eating out during his time at the Boy Scouts and even during graduate school, it wasn’t always healthy options. Being in control of what goes into those lunch bags is key to making healthy choices and leading a healthy life.

So if you pack your lunch, great job! If you don’t pack your lunch and you want to … go for it! It is worth the time and effort!