I work from home. When it comes time for lunch each day, I have the advantage of my full kitchen. But, you know what? So do you. You can have anything that is in your kitchen for lunch when you go to work. You just have to take it with you.

When you choose what you take and how you pack it, you also are able to green your lunch habits by helping the planet with more sustainable choices like eating leftovers and opting for reusable containers. After all, buying lunch often means a lot of trash.

A recent survey found that more people in the U.K. are buying carryout and fast food lunches, a habit that generates nearly 11 billion items of packaging waste a year, according to the environmental charity, Hubbub.

So, get packing! Here are seven great reasons to take your lunch to work:

  • You have control over what you eat. Who knows what the cafeteria puts in their food or the number of calories in the sandwich you ordered from a local deli? When you bring your lunch from home, you can have healthy meals every day.
  • You’ll save money. It’s much less expensive to bring your lunch from home than it is to eat out every day.
  • You’ll waste less food. You usually don’t want to eat last night’s dinner for dinner again. But it’s not so bad when it’s lunch. By bringing your leftovers to work for lunch, your leftovers won’t go to waste.
  • There are lots of really hip containers available to take your lunch in. You don’t need to waste money on brown bags and plastic baggies that you’ll toss after just one use. Making a one-time purchase of a lunch container will save you money in the long run and save a lot of trash from ending up in a landfill.
  • You’ll have time on your lunch break for more than just lunch. Instead of heading out to the restaurant or deli, you can read a book, write in a journal or call your mom.
  • No one will snicker at you for bringing your lunch right now. It's the financially smart, environmentally conscious thing to do.
  • You may just be a trendsetter in your office. People may be waiting for someone to take the lead and be the first to buck the trend of ordering out every day. They may even applaud you.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with new information since it was published in February 2009.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

7 reasons to take your lunch to work
Taking your lunch to work is the financially smart, environmentally conscious thing to do.