How to Start a Healthy Lunch Club

Healthy lunch clubs are springing up all over and are a great way to eat healthy and save money. Here are six tips for starting a successful lunch club at your workplace.

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS,
February 14, 2017
Episode #417

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3. Talk through the details. Your club can set any rules it wants to, as long as everyone is on board.  You can set guidelines on how much members should spend on meals or how the schedule will be managed, or agree that all animal products will be organic, or that no raw garlic will be used, or that meals will include at least 2 servings of vegetables, or whatever other priorities the group agrees on. A group trying to support weight loss, for example, might stipulate that members select recipes that provide nutrition information, which can then be shared.  Some clubs make it a practice to share all the recipes—some even start Pinterest boards, Instagram feeds, or Facebook groups to share and archive photos and recipes for future inspiration. This is also a good time to figure out a back-up plan in case someone is unable to deliver lunch on their appointed day.  Because that will happen.

4.  Consider the logistics. Take into account the resources at your workplace and plan your menus accordingly. Is there enough refrigerator space to store the food until lunch? How will you heat it up? Where will the group eat? What will you serve the food on and with?  Some clubs make good use of slow-cookers or counter-top pressure cookers  to prepare hot food onsite but be sure to always follow safe food handling procedures. For example, it’s not safe to reheat cooked food in a slow cooker on the low setting because it takes the food too long to reach a safe temperature.

When it’s your turn to prepare lunch, do your best to serve up something that’s tasty, wholesome, and satisfying.

5.  It’s OK to keep it simple. When it’s your turn to prepare lunch, do your best to serve up something that’s tasty, wholesome, and satisfying—bonus points if it’s unusual and/or Instagram-worthy. But you needn’t feel pressured to spend hours on complicated recipes. A meal also doesn’t have to be full of expensive ingredients to be a winner.  If you’re someone who enjoys fancy cooking, there’s no reason to hide your light under a barrel—as long as everyone (including you) is clear that such above-and-beyond efforts are completely optional and do not mean that everyone else must reciprocate in kind.  Alternatively, you could form a lunch club with other more ambitious culinarians.

(Here’s a fantastic Pinterest board dedicated to Lunch Club inspiration.) 

6.  Feed your family while you’re at it. Finally, why not get even more return on your effort by making enough to feed your family as well as your club members? Once you’ve found your recipe and made your shopping list, doubling the quantities is easy. Take half to work for your lunch club and put the other half in the fridge or freezer to enjoy with your family another night.

Are you a member of a Healthy Lunch Club? I’d love to hear (and see!) what your club is up to. Share your comments and photos on the Nutrition Diva Facebook page!

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.


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