Brown Bag Inspiration

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Eating out at work or school every day can be expensive for your wallet and for your waistline.  Here are some ideas for taking your lunch on the go that are more exciting than the usual sandwich and a piece of fruit.

Make Your Own Bento Box – Lots of us eat lunch at our desks, or while we’re reading or doing different things.  A Bento Box can be anything you want it to be.  Fill it with things that can be eaten separately or together that you can pick at or assemble.  Consider fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, olives, cheese, whole-grain crackers or flatbread, hummus or mustard.  Remember the food plan guidelines, such as making half your meal fruits and vegetables, making at least half your grains whole grains and varying your protein choices to add seafood, beans and lean meats.  Special Note:  Get your own FP4H version of a bento box in our online store. Breakfast for Lunch – Get inspiration from breakfast by taking leftover morning pancakes as the bread for your sandwich.  Spread with peanut butter and banana or other favorite sandwich ingredients. Individual quiche or breakfast casseroles made in a muffin tin are easy to make and transport (see recipe later in this newsletter).

Soups On – Soup in a thermos can be a wonderful treat in the midst of a busy day.  Make your own on Sunday night and enjoy all week.  Making your own can be lower in sodium than many canned varieties.  Load up on veggies and great sources of protein like beans and lentils.  (See some great soup recipes later in this newsletter).

Barbecue Sandwich – Kick it up a notch with a healthy barbecue sandwich.  Chop leftover lean meat, add some low-sodium barbecue sauce and heat it in the microwave. Pack the mixture in an insulated container in the morning, then spoon it onto a whole-wheat bun with some low-fat coleslaw for lunch. You can also make a large batch of pulled barbecue chicken in a slow cooker ahead of time and enjoy it throughout the week. Lunch on a Stick – Who doesn’t like anything you can eat on a stick?  Added bonus – easy cleanup!  You can create healthy kebabs for lunch by skewering grilled fish with marinated vegetables or chicken skewers. Skewers also work well to make fruit kebabs for dessert using strawberries, blueberries and other favorites.

What’s your favorite lunch on the go?  Write to us at recipes@firstplace4health.com and we might feature you and your idea on our Facebook page!

Lisa Lewis, author of Healthy Happy Cooking, available in the First Place 4 Health online store.