Tuesday, March 6

In the Kitchen: How to Brown Bag It Well


Grabbing lunch out can become incredibly expensive, and I think it can get pretty monotonous after awhile.  Most people have a half hour or hour to get a bite to eat, but I've found most of that time is spent battling crowds and weighing your options.  As warmer weather nears, try packing your lunch and then you can spend more time enjoying your food, reading a book, or going for a walk on your lunch break.

I work from home, which means I don't technically bring my lunch to work, but I have started to eat in more often and use my leftover time to do something productive. 

Here are a few tips:
  • Make it special. Sometimes packing your lunch can feel pretty ho-hum, so try to find inexpensive ways to add some excitement to your lunch.  If you like sandwiches, consider adding fresh basil, tarragon, or arugula.  Swap out mustard for pesto or hummus and trade the white bread for a pita or bagel.  Bring homemade lemonade or cookies if you need a little pick-me-up. 
  • Prep the night before.  Mornings can be rough, so it's best to prepare your lunch, or at least part of it, the night before.  If you're taking leftovers to work, put them in a to-go container the night before so it is ready to go in the morning.  Need an alternative to the brown bag?  Laurent has this Box Appetit container from Black and Blum and it's compact and it never leaks. 
  • Bring healthy, bulk snacks to work.  Depending on what type of job you have, you can probably take a little break in the morning or afternoon for some fruit, pretzels, or a granola bar.  If you have a lunchroom at your office, see about leaving a bag of fruit there.  When hunger hits, you'll reach for fruit over a Snickers bar from the snack machine.  You'll be healthier and by the end of the week, you'll have a little extra cash in your pocket!
  • Calculate your savings.  Tally up your grocery bill one week and compare that to eating out for a week.  When you see the savings, you'll be motivated to stay on track.  Either put that money directly into savings or put it towards a reward you've set for yourself, like a weekend trip.  You'll be amazed how quickly you can save $500 by just eliminating eating out a few days a week. 
  • Get out of the office!  Bringing your lunch to work during the colder months can be a drag because it often means you end up staying in the office for your lunch hour.  If you find this happening, go for a walk and then eat your lunch.  You're allowed an hour break, don't feel like you have to keep working through your lunch break just because you brought your lunch to work. 
Yum, who's hungry?

Photo Credit: That Kind of Woman

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