It is a fact that the prices of consumers goods and services in the Grand Duchy - especially in Luxembourg City – are at a fairly high level, and above the European average.

According to the site combien-coû, a collaborative index which compares the cost of living of all the countries in the world, Luxembourg is in the top ten countries where taking a lunch in a restaurant is the most expensive. In comparison with our neighbouring countries, it costs on average €17 (€15 in 2017, + 13%!) in the Grand Duchy against €15 in Belgium, €12 in France and €10 in Germany. The statistics portal of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg reveals that the average annual expenses in 2015 per household were €3,781.8 for restaurants and €5,221.6 for food and non-alcoholic beverages. More than 40% of the eating expenses are dedicated to restaurant bills!

Save your money…

But how much cheaper is it to pack your own lunch? It depends on a couple of factors. First, how much do you usually spend to buy lunch on a work day? And, second, what kind of things will you be putting in your lunch bag? One of the biggest differences between eating out and packing a lunch is that when you eat out, you are buying one lunch at a time. When you pack on your own, you buy ingredients for multiple lunches at a time. Thus, the cost is spread out, bringing the price down.

Let’s make a simple comparison. If you prepare pasta at home and eat it at work – if, of course, there is a micro-wave oven at the office as it is often the case - it will be two or three times cheaper than dining out. In addition, you still have parts of ingredients to prepare another plate of pasta. There is no micro-wave at your office? Not an issue! Prepare cold dishes or sandwiches. You’ll still be saving money.

Bringing your own lunch is also healthier and more adapted to you. When cooking at home, you can choose what gets in your dish, including amounts of salt, preservatives, low/high quality fats, etc. Even if you’re not a great cook you know why restaurant food tends to taste so great: lots of butter/fat, salt and other ingredients designed to appeal to your primal brain.   

… and your time with batch cooking

Many perceive making lunch at home as time-consuming. It’s not if you try batch cooking! As the name suggests, you cook in larger quantities at a time. Think of cooking a little extra every time and saving the leftovers for the office or blocking some time (for example 2 hours during a dull evening?) to do batch cooking so each lunch doesn’t take nearly as long to prepare. Just make sure that you have plenty of room in the fridge or in the freezer to store your batch meals.

With this method, you cut down on time. You focus on fewer recipes and cook once, maybe twice a week. Instead of making little trips every couple of days to grab random items you did not know you needed, you stroll into the supermarket with a precise plan of exactly what you are buying for your batch meals. And the best part is that you don’t have to clean up your kitchen every single night!   

And, yes, batch cooking helps you to further reduce your expenses by minimizing waste. No more watching helplessly as your vegetables wilt and other perishables go bad.  

So, think about it carefully. Packing your lunch at home has more advantages than you think. You save money and time, you support your health and… you will rediscover the pleasure of going to a good restaurant – a restaurant of your choice and not necessarily the one located near your office.