Brown Bag Lunches can get boring if they are the same old thing over and over again. Kids may trade to get a lunch that they find more fun to eat. For adults, boredom can lead to a trip to the vending machine or convenience store- a difficult place to find healthful choices. The solution is to mix it up with nutritious and fun choices from the Choose My Plate’s Healthy Eating Tips.
Think outside the bag
To start thinking “outside the bag,” use the ideas below to put together a fun lunch that brown baggers of all ages will enjoy. Be sure to add your favorites to the list!
Note: Add a freezer pack and insulated bag to keep foods safe until lunch time.
Pick from these whole grains choices—pick one or two:
Whole grain crackers
Whole grain mini-bagel or pita bread
Toasted whole grain English muffin
Low fat granola in a one-quarter cup container
Low fat bran muffin
Whole grain rice or pasta salad
Vegetable choices—pick two or more 1/2 cup servings:
Three bean salad, with added beets and olives, dressed with balsamic vinegar and olive oil
Hummus (garbanzo bean spread)
Vegetable soup (1-cup) in a thermos or microwave safe container
Cherry or grape tomatoes
Cooked okra pods
Cooked green beans
Sweet pepper strips
Cooked corn the cob (6”ear = ½ cup; 8-9” ear =1 cup)
Salad (1-cup) with one tablespoon of dressing
Fruit choices—pick one:
Favorite fall apples
Dried fruit packed in a one-quarter cup container
Frozen berries packed in a one-half cup container (they thaw by lunchtime)
One-cup 100% juice
Dairy/high calcium choices—pick one:
Chocolate milk or calcium–fortified soy milk
Light cheese rounds or triangle wedges
High calcium hot cocoa packet or already made up in a thermos
Protein choices—pick one:
Turkey or chicken breast or roast beef slices
Canned tuna, salmon or other fish
Bean salad or spread from above (beans count as protein AND vegetable)
Flavored baked tofu or tempeh chunks
Chunky peanut butter, sunflower seed or almond butter
You can create delicious lunch combinations, for example:
Whole grain crackers and cheese, chicken and vegetable soup in a thermos, a serving of celery sticks, chocolate milk to drink and a Ginger Gold apple.
Three-bean salad with grape tomatoes, low fat bran muffin and thawed frozen fruit topped with yogurt.
Toasted whole grain English muffin with tomato, turkey, and low fat cheese with 100% grape juice to drink.
Brown bag lunches won’t be boring anymore!
Shared and posted with permission from Grocery.coop