Find Your Nerd - Pack a Lunch

Cast aside your coolness.  Grab a brown bag and get your nerd on.  Pack a lunch, for nerds' sake! Here is why:

  • There is less temptation to eat the bad stuff.
  • It will probably taste a lot better.
  • There are no long lines to stand in.
  • No gasoline is required.
  • There will be more money in your account.
  • There is more variety.
  • A lot less food is wasted.
  • There is more time to enjoy lunch and then get outdoors or continue working and go home earlier to spend time outdoors.
  • The food is healthier, if you do it right.
  • You know what you are eating.  There are no hidden added fats, sodium, sugar, calories, etc.
  • You may lose some pounds or maintain your weight a lot easier.

The only disadvantage, really, besides looking like a nerd, is taking the time and foresight to pack it.  (But that is really negated by the time spent in lines and driving to the lunch spot.)  Besides, I promise you, once you are in habit of "lunch think," it becomes second nature.  For example, your tid-bits from dinner the night before becomes part of lunch for tomorrow.  Or, making a little extra salad tonight and pack some for tomorrow and add a few new ingredients.  Or, make a big bot of bean chili on the weekend and freeze some in small containers to bring to work.  That kind of "lunch think."

Here is one lunch to consider packing as it is quick to prepare the night before so that you can grab and go in the morning.  A filling, vegetarian, economical, full of varied nutrients, brown bager . . .

The menu is:
  • bean dip with crudites and pita
  • blackberries with orange zest
  • corn and mixed greens salad

3 Minute Bean Dip            

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked beans of choice or refried vegetarian beans
  • 1/4 cup green onions chopped finely
  • 4 tablespoons salsa of choice
  • Dash of salt
  • 1/4 cup each chopped tomato 
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped napa cabbage or romaine lettuce
  • Dab of organic plain yogurt
  • whole wheat pita or tortilla, cut into dipping sizes
  • crudites - celery and green or red pepper strips go well with this
Now do this
  • Mash the beans with a fork and add the next three ingredients to mix well.   
  • Place in container and add dollop of yogurt and sprinkle of tomato.
  • In another container, place crudites of choice. 
  • Seal your pita or tortilla. 
  • In other bag, place cabbage to sprinkle on top of dip to add some crunch right before eating.

Blackberries with Orange Zest

  • 1 cup of blackberries
  • 1/3 orange
Now do this
  • Zest orange and squeeze juice into small bowl.
  • Add blackberries and stir to combine.
  • Add berries to small container and seal.

Corn and Mixed Greens Salad

  • 2 cups mixed greens washed and dried well
  • 1/2  cup organic corn off the cob
  • 1/2  cup diced zucchini raw
  • 1/4 cup chopped tomato
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced finely
  • 1/4 cup of low fat plain Greek yogurt
  • dash of salt
  • dash of cayenne or smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon of white wine vinegar
  • few drops of lemon juice
  • two to three basil leaves chopped finely, optional
Now do this
  • Pack greens, zucchini, tomato, onion and corn in sealed container.  
  • Place a small piece of paper towel over salad before packing to keep it crisp. 
  • Combine dressing ingredients in small container, shake well, and pack separately.

Pop over to The Health-Minded Brown Bagger board on Pinterest to view some other lunch packing inspirations. I will be adding to this board regularly.

And later this week, some tools to making lunch packing easier and another healthy lunch menu.

Please share in the comments any tips, techniques or ideas you have about bringing your lunch to work and how to get in the "lunch think."