Thursday, August 12, 2010

Veggie Might: Lunch Buddies—Share Costs and Get Healthy Together

Written by the fabulous Leigh, Veggie Might is a weekly Thursday column about all things Vegetarian.

Freelance work is light this month, and I’m finding myself with more time to spend in the kitchen. My good pal JBF, however, is busier than ever.

As are most worker bees these days, she is doing the jobs of several, keeping late hours, and coming home exhausted. She manages to cook healthy dinners, but making lunch to take to work is a challenge.

She finds herself eating on the run, spending insane amounts of money for midtown Manhattan lunches, and making less than healthy choices that sabotage the good work she is doing in other areas.

Since my unceremonious kick to the curb (from the job where I was doing the work of several), I’ve been working from home. For the most part, I have time to cook healthy meals for myself every day. (These habits were already in place, so it wasn’t much of a shift.)

JBF’s struggle gave me an idea. What if I made lunch for both of us—kind of like a personal chef-lite?

The Proposal
  1. Share food costs, saving us both money (I’d make enough for both of us.)
  2. JBF: Kick me a little extra for my effort 
  3. Leigh: Make 5 inexpensive, healthy lunches and snacks per week
  4. Leigh: Provide variety, but dishes can repeat (We both easily lock into dishes we love.)
  5. JBF: Report back with preferences every couple of days
  6. Leigh: Call/email to arrange drop off/pick up
  7. Leigh: Submit an invoice with food and labor at the end of the week
  8. Everybody wins: I stay on a schedule and make a little extra scratch, and JBF gets healthy lunches and snacks for less than she was spending on take out.
While JBF is an omnivore, she eats primarily vegetarian when dining sans hubby. She gave me carte blanche to make the meals veggie, even vegan. She also loves to try new things, so I’m at liberty to be creative. And as we know, keeping it interesting is the golden rule of sticking to any kind of healthy eating plan.

Here’s how it’s been shaking out.

JBF’s Take-out Stats
(click on graph to enlarge)




Lunch Buddy Stats for Week One
(click on graph to enlarge)


That’s over 40%!

Week two demonstrated similar savings, though we operated on a four-day week. So far our little arrangement has been a success! I’m sticking to a meal plan, which is hard for me, as well as experimenting with new dishes. JBF is getting healthy, home-cooked meals delivered to her door (We live near one another; it’s no big.), and we’re both in the black.

We’ve even made time to eat together on occasion, and that’s the best part of the deal.

~~~

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7 comments:

Milehimama said...

I think that's a great idea. But HOLY COW, $15 for salad bar? Brown rice and spaghetti squash? Wow.

Kris said...

@Milehi: Right? I don't know JBF, but if he/she works in Midtown, that's about average. The prices there are ludicrous.

Anonymous said...

I work in an office full of people of similar food-mindedness, and there is a 5-person "lunch club": each person is responsible for feeding everyone once a week. Brilliant!

Laura said...

Great idea! I've often thought of doing something similar for my friends, because I love to cook and I get appalled at how much they spend on takeout.

Leigh said...

Yeah, @Milehi, the place she goes is the "healthy" option in her area, so they charge a little more by the pound than the rest of the already pricey Midtown buffets.

sarah said...

Lunch club is a great idea and a good way to eat properly with colleagues. I was thinking of that and some other lunch tips, too. Thanks for the inspiration.

Sarah Lo said...

Any way we could get the recipes for those delicious and healthy lunches? Thanks! :-)