Brown bag lunches used to mean boring turkey sandwiches and pre-packaged snacks. A quick search on Pinterest reveals that lunch has come a long way! Think fancy bento-style boxes filled with fresh farmer’s market finds. However, packing a healthy lunch doesn’t have to be elaborate. Just follow my easy tips for getting creative at the Noon hour.
It’s All About the Bread: Have fun with bread! There is much more beyond white and wheat. Cinnamon raisin, Asiago cheese and other artisan breads keep sandwiches interesting and flavorful. If you’re packing lunch for a child, let them pick out their own bread. They will have some ownership over their lunch and be more likely to eat it.
Get Global: Naan, panini, smorrbrod, muffaletta – pick a place on the map and let your own brown bag sandwiches be inspired by global cuisine! You’ll be less enticed by the take-out menu if you have something new and adventurous waiting in the office ‘fridge.
Don’t Repeat: Try not to pack the same lunch twice. Food should be fun, and nothing is fun about eating the same thing over and over again. Put a twist on last night’s leftovers by turning that grilled chicken breast and rice into chicken tacos with rice and beans.
What’s For Dessert?: Cookies with a healthier profile (i.e., oatmeal-raisin, trail mix cookies, Fig Newtons, etc.) are nice to include a few times a week, but don’t underestimate fruit for dessert. Fruits are rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber; they’re relatively low in calories, fat-free, all-natural and extremely portable, which makes them one of Mother Nature’s “convenience foods.” They also add some beautiful color to your lunch.
Remember there’s more to lunch than ham and cheese!