Do you Brown Bag it everyday? I sure do. And it’s been this way since Pre-School…I can honestly count on one hand the number of times my mother allowed my sister and I to “buy” lunch at our school cafeteria. I guess this bring your lunch behavior has stuck with me from my good ol’ Kinder Care days! Thanks mom!
When lunchtime hits, our bodies need nourishment to give us energy and get us through the afternoon. Lunches can vary from a sandwich to a soup and salad, however, what we need to focus on is simply the act of “Bringing your Lunch” vs. “Buying your Lunch.” This topic is quite interesting because we spend more money and consume more calories when we purchase our lunches rather than make them ourselves. First off, when we prepare our own lunch, we know exactly what ingredients are in our dish and we can easily control the number of calories as well.
For instance, if we make a tuna salad sandwich at home, we can use “Light Canned Tuna” or “Low Sodium Light Tuna” as our main ingredient. We could accompany this with our condiment of choice: Mustard, Greek Yogurt, Organic Mayonnaise or Veganaise, Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, etc. We can then add in our favorite vegetable such as sliced zucchini, carrots, celery, cucumbers, onion, cole slaw, etc. Moreover, we can pick our own bread or wraps such as Whole Wheat (you can search for the least processed bread in your store) and fill it with nutrient dense kale, collard greens, bok choy, swiss card, spinach, etc. rather than a piece of iceberg lettuce, which does not provide you with the nutritional benefits of the above options. You can spread Hummus (Homemade or Store Bought) on your bread or wrap and add sliced sweet potato, avocado, red peppers or beets. Finally you can mix in herbs such as dill and cilantro into your tuna salad for an extra kick! The key point here is that you will not be adding in the salt, fat, and processed products that would be in your tuna salad sandwich if you purchased it rather than prepared it yourself. Moreover, aside from the nutritional boost you will receive by preparing your own dish, you will be saving money. We all know that buying lunch adds up and can be quite expensive. So, why not try bringing your lunch? Experiment. Have fun; try new products (Look for Unprocessed, Organic) in your stores and enjoy a week of “bringing your lunch”…pack it in a cute little lunch bag and store your sandwich in a Tupperware. Cut up fresh vegetables or fruit on the side and place in a small Ziploc bag. This is simply one homemade lunch idea that can get you motivated to bring your own lunch…the possibilities are endless…
Here are a few other ideas to get you started…Once you get in the swing of things and organize your lunches for the week (on Sunday night)…you’ll be on your way to eating better, richer, less processed foods…and guess what? You will know Exactly what is going into your meal..no hidden preservatives, additives, sugars, salts, or fats…
- Spaghetti Squash with fresh/frozen vegetables, topped with Eden Organic Crushed Tomatos (No Salt Added) with Vegan Parmesean Cheese
- Turkey Burger (or Vegetable Burger) with SoyaKaas Melted Lactose/Gluten Free Cheese on a Whole Wheat Bun
- Almond Butter on a Banana (Side Snack with Lunch)
- Any Leftovers in your fridge/freezer
- Organic Nut/Seed Butter on Whole Wheat Bread or Wrap
- Grilled Vegetables in a Whole Wheat wrap with Hummus
- Salmon/Tuna/Egg Salad Sandwhich/Wrap/Salad –Use nutrient dense toppings such as kale and Swiss char instead of lettuce
- Brown Rice with steamed vegetables and chicken/fish/meat
- Re-fried Beans (Amy’s Organic Low Sodium), Eden Organic Crushed Tomatoes (No Salt Added), onions, cole slaw, hummus together on a wrap filled with vegetables of choice
- Bean Salad (No Salt Added Eden Organic Beans): Combine a few different kinds of beans and make yourself a bean salad along with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, herbs of choice. Serve this atop of vegetables and pair with bran crackers and cheese.
- “Homemade Pizza”: Whole Wheat Wrap with Grilled Chicken or Grilled Vegetables (you can use leftover meats/veggies) topped with Eden Organic Pizza/Tomato Sauce sprinkled with Mozz. Cheese and fresh Basil.
- Amy’s Organic Chili (I usually do not recommend packaged foods, but in a time crunch, this is an easy and quick option).
What is your favorite “Bring your Lunch” that you pack?