Not all of us are morning people. Add children to the mix and those early hours can create chaos. We may manage to send off the kids with nutritious lunches only to arrive at work hungry and lunchless ourselves.
Buying lunches can take a bite out of our budgets, too. On average, a brown-bag lunch costs about $2 to make, compared to a $6 average cost for a fast-food lunch. Saving $4 a day may not seem like much, but by year's end, bringing lunch from home will save you roughly $1,000!
Here are some brown-bag lunch ideas:
- When making dinner, think ahead to what would make a good lunch. Cook an extra breast of chicken, for example, and use the meat to make a sandwich.
- When you are cleaning up after dinner, look at your leftovers and think about the next day's lunch. Shoot for a mixture of lean protein along with some carbs to maintain your energy for the afternoon. A good choice might be a black bean and brown rice casserole topped with cheese that can be reheated at the office. Cut some carrots, peppers, and celery into sticks to round out the meal.
- Oatmeal doesn't have to be just for breakfast. If you're running late, take a packet along with some almonds (a good source of protein and vitamin E) and dried fruit, like cranberries, that you can mix in. Snag a banana or an apple, and you'll have a light meal for later.
- Save cash by buying snacks like veggie chips and whole-grain crackers in large sizes and then reportioning them in small, resealable packages that you can grab in a hurry.
- Stock up on items for the office in case you forget your lunch. Good shelf-stable products include peanut butter, cereal, rice cakes, protein bars, and dried fruits such as apricots and raisins.
- If your workplace has a fridge, bring in yogurt and a couple of hard-boiled eggs on Monday. This will ensure you have a quick source of protein later in the week.
- Grab a nutritious frozen meal, such as a black bean burrito, as you're leaving for work. Pack a jar of salsa for even more nutrition and great taste.
We have 100's of natural recipes here on our website. See our many sandwich recipes, wrap recipes, or salad recipes. Now's the time to invest in a good quality thermos and bring a warm soup or pasta in your brown bag lunch.