Give your boring brown bag lunch a creative and tasty makeover!
Sometimes all it takes is an alternate point of view to turn your Plain Jane sandwich into a delicious deli fresh lunch. Wraps can be surprisingly versatile, offering you the opportunity to experiment with spreads like hummus and guacamole or add-ins like olives, artichokes, or cucumbers that might normally come shooting out the backside of a sandwich.
I swear everyone in my office acts like I’m reinventing the wheel when I bring a salad with a lot of “stuff” on it conveniently packed into one reasonably sized mason jar. It’s not hard—I promise. Just throw in your favorite greens and most certainly a lot of the good stuff (nuts, seeds, avo, fruit, etc)—I say the more stuff the better! You can even toss in the dressing with no qualms about leakage. Just be sure to tightly screw on the lid. Voila!
No one said the bento box lunch was just for kids. Why should they have all the fun? For those unfamiliar with the bento box, think of it as perfectly portioned samplings of all your favorite healthy foods. Almost like tapas just for you! Mix up your samplings daily so everyday holds a new surprise.
Eggs aren’t just breakfast foods anymore. This high quality source of protein is great anytime of day and holds up pretty well as a leftover (just an added benefit). The good thing about frittatas is they’re relatively easy—perfect for even the most beginner chefs—and quick. Convenience is the name of the game when it comes to brown bag lunches.
5. Ancient Grains Salads
Ancient grains—a buzz word of the foodie world right now. So what the heck are ancient grains? Well, they’re items like quinoa, farro, bulgar, amaranth, spelt, and millet, to name a few, and they’re popping up all over the place. These tiny morsels, in addition to being extremely versatile in their use, have multiple health benefits like high protein content, cancer fighting properties, and are fiber-rich. Try this Mason Jar Tex Mex Quinoa and Tangy Cilantro recipe!
6. Soups and Stews
Time to invest in a high quality thermos (I know, so old-school) for homemade soups and stews. Soups and stews are an excellent lunch option, offering hearty sources of protein and fiber while high in volume to leave you feeling satiated and energized for a long day’s work.
Whip out your slow cooker recipe book or pull up your Pinterest board because crockpot leftovers are the way to go when it comes to switching up your typical brown bag lunch routine. One evening’s “work” (i.e. throwing everything in the pot and walking away) can equal a week’s worth of stellar lunch leftovers if you don’t mind a little monotony. Pre-portion your crockpot leftovers to make getting out the door in the morning that much easier.
8. Spring Rolls
Much like wraps, spring rolls can be a great opportunity to try out new foods and flavors. Get creative when it comes to rolling up that rice paper wrap—you don’t have to play it safe with the typical rice noodle, carrot and cilantro combination. What about BLT spring rolls? Or apple and chicken?
I was recently introduced to the idea of spiralizing vegetables and immediately it was love at first spiralized sight. This gadget is perfect for you paleo, gluten-free, or carb-conscious folks out there as normally pasta is the first thing to go in these situations. Until now. Spiralize zucchinis, sweet potatoes, or you name it, for ‘way better than the real thing’ pasta dishes thrown with sautéed vegetables or lean meats.
I must first say, by “loaded” I mean with only the healthiest of items. Leave the sour cream, butter, and mountains of cheese behind. Rather, choose items that are fiber and protein-rich and therefore satiating—beans, Greek yogurt, or veggies, for example. Just pop that baby in the microwave after piercing with a fork for 5-8 minutes or until tender, slice down the middle, and load with goodness.