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Are We Saving Money By Making Lunch At Home?

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As it turns out, making salads at home costs more than you might expect.

On Sundays, I prepare salads for Charles to eat for lunch during the week. And, with the start of the new year, I have been making salads for myself too. I guess that I always assumed that making lunch at home would save us money, but I just recently took the time to add it up.

this isn’t the exact salad I make, but it’s similar

Charles likes to have Cobb Salads for lunch. He doesn’t mind having the same lunch every single day. Sometimes I do change the salads up a touch – I’ll add in a new ingredient, or a different cheese, or try a new dressing. The basics remain the same: lettuce, chicken, hard boiled egg, cheese, bacon, tomato, avocado, and balsamic dressing. These are pretty much the same ingredients in the salad that a local shop that sells for $12.

It’s easy to see that if I wasn’t making lunch, Charles would be spending $60 a week on salads. At first, that sounds like a lot.

I spend about an hour preparing the salads on Sunday afternoon. I cook the bacon and the chicken. Lately I have been steaming some corn too. I buy Vital Farms hard boiled eggs because they are so perfectly hard boiled and it saves me the effort of peeling eggs. The process of making salads for the week is a bit tedious and it makes a mess, but once it is done, we don’t make any messes from preparing our lunch during the week.

An added bonus of preparing salads for myself is that Gwen always want to eat whatever I am eating so I often add in extra veggies to share with her.

Does making salads at home make sense when you consider the cost and the amount of time that goes into making them? I turned to my Jewel-Osco app (since it is where I do all my grocery shopping). I loaded up the cart with all of the ingredients I buy to make the salads for Charles to eat during the week. The total was $45.71. That isn’t much of a savings.

Next, I updated my shopping cart adding enough ingredients to make 10 salads for the week – enough for both of us. Many of the ingredients have enough servings that I don’t need to buy more in order to make salads for myself. Suddenly, making the salads becomes more cost effective.

The new total was $61.14. That’s a savings of about 50%.

Whats the final verdict? If I am only making lunch for Charles, we only save about $15 a week. But, the savings is more substantial when I make salads for both of us. More than anything, we like the convenience of having the lunches prepped and in the fridge. It saves us from going to out to buy lunch. It’s important to point out that I use special containers to prepare the salads so that they don’t get soggy, while shops selling takeout salads don’t do this and they need to be eaten right away.

Lastly, I will share some tips for meal prepping your salads. I learned how to meal prep chicken years ago when I was working at a restaurant and I have been using this method ever since. It’s super quick and easy and the chicken is also so moist and tender. I cook the bacon on a lined baking sheet at the same time that I cook the chicken. While the chicken and bacon cook, I chop the veggies and start assembling everything else. I put the lettuce, completely cooled off chicken, and cheese in large bottom part of the salad container and then I put everything else in the other sections. I add a wedge of avocado with the skin on and chop it with my fork before eating, this way it doesn’t brown too much.

Is anyone else meal prepping? Tell me what you are preparing.

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