Best-bet Brown Bag Lunches

By Janice Byth

I love to prepare food. To me, there is nothing more empowering than creating my own meals. It’s something I can make and then devour, satisfying my need to be creative—and fill my stomach. The best way to start a culinary journey is to pack your own lunch. Here’s some inspiration to get you packing this week….

lunch 1

Yummy Sammy
There’s nothing better than a sandwich for brown-bagging it. Of course, there are the classic PB&J or ham-n-cheese. However, some of my favorite things to stick between two slices of bread are less conventional.

  • Banana • Peanut butter • Honey • Granola
  • A thick slice of cheese • Jam or chutney
  • Apple • Cheese • Mayo
  • Ham • Cheese Mayo • Cheetos
  • Avocado • Lettuce • Cheese • Lime or lemon juice
  • Turkey • Cheese • Mustard • Ketchup • Pickles

Mason Jar Salad
I have an unusual obsession with salads, craving them more than any other type of meal. So I like making salads for lunch. One easy way to have salad is to put it in a Mason jar—just shake it up, and it’s ready to eat. There are only three things to remember.

  1. Put the dressing in first so it’s at the bottom of the jar, but don’t carry this upside down or sideways—your lettuce will get soggy.
  2. Make it colorful. I try to pick at least one veggie, one fruit, one grain, and one protein for my salad. This usually provides the most fulfilling lunch.
  3. To keep the dressing and salad separate until ready to eat, use a cleaned pill bottle for the dressing. And don’t forget to pack a fork!

Here is a video with some great combinations for salads in jars:

4 Salad-in-a-Jar Recipes

Snack Sack
This is probably the most convenient and easiest of brown-bag lunch styles. I call this “snack sack” because it’s basically all my favorite snacks in my lunch. The key is to toss in a variety of food types, such as fruits, veggies and meat. I tend to do this if it’s going to be a long day and I need multiple snacks throughout the day. These are some things I pack in a snack lunch.

  • Apples and peanut butter
  • Baby carrots and ranch dressing
  • Cheese stick
  • Cookies or chocolate
  • Fresh strawberries
  • Ham or turkey slices
  • Hummus and pita chips
  • Low-fat yogurt
  • Orange wedges
  • Popped popcorn
  • Power bar
  • Seedless grapes
  • Tortilla chips
  • Trail mix or smoked almonds
  • Watermelon chunks
  • Whole banana
  • Whole-grain muffin

lunch 2

All photos by Victor Hancek/picjumbo.com. 

What is your favorite brown bag lunch? Leave a comment and let us know!

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