As everything aside from our salaries is on the rise, taking your own lunchbox to work could be a very healthy solution to saving money. A Taipei Medical University Hospital survey has found that people taking their own lunchboxes to work every day instead of eating out can save around NT$2,000 a month, or nearly a whole month’s salary over the course of a year for entry-level workers. The survey also shows that up to 80 percent of office workers who do not finish their lunchboxes simply throw away the leftover food. Nutritionists recommend splitting lunchboxes between two meals to decrease calorie intake and avoid waste.
Online questionnaires for the “2012 Survey of Office Workers’ Diets and Consumer Habits” were given to 1,400 office workers. The survey found that 78 percent of office workers eat out regularly, while 22 percent bring their own lunchboxes to work. The survey also shows that more than 50 percent of people regularly eating out do not finish their take-out lunchboxes, and that rice and vegetables make up the majority of the uneaten food. For those eating take-away lunchboxes, as much as 86 percent simply throw away the food they do not finish.
According to the report, people eating out spend NT$5517 per month on average, while people bringing their own lunchboxes to work spend NT$4461 on average, which is 24 percent less per month. People regularly eating takeout also typically buy drinks and snacks while they are out getting their to-go lunchboxes, and this is why people eating out spend around NT$13,000 per month on food and beverages, while those who prepare their own lunchboxes spend around NT$11,000 per month, the difference of which over the course of a year could equal an entire month’s salary for an entry-level worker.
Su Hsiu-yue, head of Taipei Medical University Hospital’s Department of Nutrition, says that office workers who eat out regularly admit that they are only consuming about 10 percent of the foods they should be eating from the six main food groups. She says that too much food from the meat group and oil and fat group are being consumed, while foods from the vegetables, grains, and dairy groups are not being eaten enough, making for a very imbalanced diet. Further analysis shows that people eating out regularly who finish all of their food usually have a higher Body Mass Index (BMI) than those who do not finish all of their food.
Su says that there are around 850 calories in pork chop and chicken leg lunchboxes, but that the average woman needs only 450 to 500 calories per meal, so she suggests dividing each lunchbox into two meals, eating the foods that spoil more easily, such as vegetables and pulses, during the first meal, and leaving a third of the meat and rice for a second meal, simply buying more vegetables to add to the meal, which can benefit your health and also save you money.
(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)