Working as a manager for a famous international coffee company means I am surrounded by coffee and food all day long. Basically, if you’re hungry at work and can afford it, there are plenty of options. Prior to Food Network Healthy Eats Brown Bag Challenge, I hardly ever packed a bag lunch. I just grabbed something out of the case at work or went to a fast food place. Hardly healthy. Occasionally expensive too. The last two weeks I’ve been taking lunch to work. I’ve only missed one day and I’m saving money too! That’s a double win! Here is a picture of my lunch box…
Focusing on bringing my lunch every day makes me realize how many options I have. I like options! :-) Instead of being limited to whatever my store has on hand, I can have a salad, soup, left-overs, whatever I want! It does take a bit of planning. When life gets busy, being prepared makes it easier. Going to the Farmers Market every week helps. Taking an afternoon to portion out fruits and veggies in individual bags for the week ahead, allows for flexibility too. I’ve learned if I don’t keep the fridge stocked or I don’t plan ahead then I slip back into bad habits. That’s what happened the day I missed bringing my lunch. The fridge was empty!
The other challenge is my schedule. I don’t work Mon – Fri and I don’t have the same schedule every day. There are days when I’m at work at 4:15 a.m. and other days when I don’t start until 11 a.m. or later. This puts “lunch time” at awkward times during the day. I don’t always feel like a salad or leftover meatloaf when my meal break is at 9 a.m. Conversely, yogurt, a bagel and OJ doesn’t sound great when lunch is at 4 p.m. I’ve learned to be more creative. I have nuts, oatmeal, breakfast bars and yogurt for those early shifts and string cheese, veggies and more traditional type “lunch” items for later shifts. Like I said, it’s good to have options!
I’ve been having fun with leftovers and bringing back old-school, grade-school favorites. Saving some of dinner for lunch the next day is another double win. I don’t eat as much at dinner if I know I get to enjoy it the next day. Having a fridge and microwave at work helps too. It’s easier to keep things cold and re-heat those leftovers! Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches (You read my peanut butter and jelly post earlier in the challenge, right?) have appeared in my lunch box. I love pita sandwiches stuffed with shredded veggies and sprouts, drizzled with Italian dressing. Prior to this challenge, I’d forgotten how much I enjoy them! I’ve used tortillas to wrap sandwich meat instead of bread and tried the new bagel thins too!
There are two weeks left in the Brown Bag Challenge and I’m excited to see what else I can bring! What about you? What are your new favorite lunch items?