09 Sep 5 Healthy Brown Bag Lunch Ideas
By Joni Garcia MS, RD, Contributing Blogger
It’s back to school time and although I don’t have any kids, something tends to kick in around September signaling the end of lazy days and time to get back on a pattern. This pattern includes eating fewer lunches out and searching for exciting brown bag options to bring to the office.
The key to eating healthy regularly is planning ahead. Toby outlined some terrific ideas for keeping kids on track in her recent post. These tips can also be used to help keep your lunch time routine in check. Stocking up on healthy options that can easily be packed, transported, and used in a variety of ways (like whole wheat pasta, beans, veggies, and low or nonfat yogurt) is SO helpful. Add these foods to your weekly shopping to ensure that wholesome goodies are always on hand. And if you do have kids, make a little more of whatever healthy foods you’re packing for them so you can enjoy them too. It’s just as important to take care of yourself and feed your body properly.
5 Lunch Menus
Monday: Jazzed-up Sammie
Forget about the typical lunch meat sandwich. Repurpose leftover chicken or turkey to create a big kid sandwich by adding roasted red peppers, pesto, and goat cheese. Layer these ingredients between some crusty whole wheat bread.
Tuesday: Modern Day Salad
Green salads are always a healthy choice, but if you’re looking for a change of pace, how about using a whole grain as the base (like quinoa, farro, or barley). Add beans, chopped veggies, dried fruit (like cranberries), a squeeze of lemon, and olive oil.
Wednesday: Breakfast for Lunch
We’ve all likely eaten breakfast foods for dinner, so why not eat them for lunch? Stuff a whole wheat wrap with a sliced hardboiled egg, cheddar cheese, and creamy avocado.
Thursday: Create Your Own Bento Box
I love the bento box idea – packing up a few different foods in small amounts and viola, an exciting and fun lunch. Let your bento box take on a Mediterranean twist and fill it with hummus, veggies, a piece of fruit, olives, low fat or nonfat yogurt, and whole wheat crackers.
Growing up I often ate pizza on Fridays, and as an adult it’s still a favorite. Create your own mini pizzas and bring it to the office. Top a whole wheat pita with low sodium tomato sauce, mozzarella, and your favorite veggies. Nuke it in the microwave for a minute or two to heat through and melt the cheese.
Tell Me: What’s your favorite brown bag lunch idea?