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Pack a Lunch: Save $ and Calories

If you are dieting or trying to save some dough, you should really be brown bagging your lunch. Make it at home and take it with you wherever you may roam. You not only save money (sandwiches can be upwards of $7 around where I work), but you also can control your portions and calorie intake.

Here are some tips and ideas for packing your lunch and taking it on the road.

  • One of the easiest ways to ensure you have a lunch is to cook extra dinner. Before you sit down to your meal, separate out your lunch portion for the next day. I like to have a half portion of meat and put it in a salad for lunch the next day. Same with side dishes - steamed green beans are great on a salad.
  • Sandwiches are also an easy lunch item. This way you know you are eating nutritious whole grain bread (that is what you have at home, right?) Keep the avocado and tomato separate until you are about to eat, this way the sandwich doesn't get soggy and the avocado doesn't turn brown. Also, this way you have control over your condiments - use a thin layer of light mayo and go crazy with the mustard (as long as it is not honey mustard which contains sugar) since it is low in calories and fat.
  • I have plenty to say on the subject, so

  • Pack a cup of yogurt for an afternoon snack or dessert. I recommend a yogurt with live and active cultures. Why not get some probiotics with your daily calcium. Place the yogurt in the freezer overnight, to keep if fresh if you don't have a fridge for storing your lunch.
  • Apples, bananas and oranges travel well so you can always have a piece of fruit with your lunch. These fruits are great since they don't require an extra plastic baggie, so they are environmentally friendly too.
  • Keep a bottle of low fat dressing in the fridge at work. On Monday, bring in a bag of pre-washed lettuce and make yourself a side salad.
  • It is a good idea to invest in some quality Tupperware for transporting your food. It is always a bummer to have food leak all over your bag.
  • The ideas for foods to pack are endless and here are two great resources for more lunch ideas:
    The Daily Tiffin - great internationally flavored lunch boxes

    The UK Food Standard
    - lunch box idea for kids 9 -12 years of age, but great for adults too

    In the market for a cute lunch box? Check out these lunch boxes on YumSugar.

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cgnelson cgnelson 8 years
Does anyone know what brands of lunch meats are best quality (no hormones and stuff?) I saw on the package I bought tonight that none are added, but does that mean that the animals are not injected with stuff when still alive?
SU3 SU3 9 years
I always bring my lunch with me - I'm not too crazy about the hospital food they serve!
cravinsugar cravinsugar 9 years
Haha, guacamole is one of those things i am staying away from right now since i don't leave any of it to turn brown...haha_________________________________________________________Why don't you wear the face you have when I am not around?
cravinsugar cravinsugar 9 years
Haha, guacamole is one of those things i am staying away from right now since i don't leave any of it to turn brown...haha _________________________________________________________ Why don't you wear the face you have when I am not around?
Fitness Fitness 9 years
If you keep the avacoado pit in with the mushed up part, it will help it from turning brown. I don't know why, but it works. I always do that when I make quacamole because I hate brown guac. Try it and let me know.
lady-T lady-T 9 years
i alwyas take salad to uni with me if there is any left over..the food in the canteen is sooooo NOT healthy...i always carry at least one piece of fruit usually a banana or apple.. :)
metamonkey metamonkey 9 years
Anyone know a good way to keep avocado from going brown besides lemon/lime juice? I want to make sandwiches and love avocados, but don't want to have to peel and cut a new one everyday. I see at subways they have a tub of avocado that they scoop, and I guess it doesn't turn brown. Anyone know how to keep cut or smushed up avocados for more than a few hours?
KandiQTC KandiQTC 9 years
Everyday in Japan I had and o-bento with me. This idea is really a great one, I feel, to bring to the US. Going along with the Japanese theme, sushi is a great item to pack for a lunch! Here is a great website, maybe more suited for an American-Western audience if the Japanese o-bento is a little too foreign or intimidating (or small).http://www.laptoplunches.com/
KandiQTC KandiQTC 9 years
Everyday in Japan I had and o-bento with me. This idea is really a great one, I feel, to bring to the US. Going along with the Japanese theme, sushi is a great item to pack for a lunch! Here is a great website, maybe more suited for an American-Western audience if the Japanese o-bento is a little too foreign or intimidating (or small). http://www.laptoplunches.com/
vsakakeeny vsakakeeny 9 years
It's also a great idea to reverse the portions--half at dinner and regular at lunch. It doesn't work for everyone but I find it is great when I workout in the morning. Plus eating less/lighter at night makes me feel a lot better--hearty breakfast, hearty lunch, light dinner.
Butrfly4404 Butrfly4404 9 years
blue jeannie..only if you're eating healthy the night before! haha... I brought in taco leftovers and realized my little tupperware was 900 calories! (My Lean Cuisines are usually around 300!)
EcannDallas EcannDallas 9 years
oh me too kramp...i love bringing a lean cuisine to work. but i have to watch my sodium the rest of the day because some of them have upwards of 29% of your daily sodium! SHEESH!
lorioz lorioz 9 years
I love taking a lunch to work, it makes me feel like I am in complete control over what I eat.
krampalicious krampalicious 9 years
i am the queen of lean cuisine lunch.
am am 9 years
I put lime on my avocado before I put it into my sandwich, it adds fat free flavor and preserves the avocado.
bluejeanie bluejeanie 9 years
i always bring leftovers as lunch. i save tons of money and it makes me feel like i'm being healthier. most food available for lunch in the food court is greasy and gross.
Butrfly4404 Butrfly4404 9 years
When we make enough for leftovers, I pack my lunch while I decide if I will have more. It puts things in perspective. I didn't realize you could freeze the containers of yogurt. That's a good idea. I bring my lunch every day. The Man does not. He sometimes eats leftovers, but mostly he goes out or without. Seems really dumb to me. He spent over $150 on fast food last month! That's a week's worth of groceries in my house!
Butrfly4404 Butrfly4404 9 years
When we make enough for leftovers, I pack my lunch while I decide if I will have more. It puts things in perspective. I didn't realize you could freeze the containers of yogurt. That's a good idea. I bring my lunch every day. The Man does not. He sometimes eats leftovers, but mostly he goes out or without. Seems really dumb to me. He spent over $150 on fast food last month! That's a week's worth of groceries in my house!
cravinsugar cravinsugar 9 years
I bring my lunch everyday, and it is a lot easier to eat healthy that way. I bring enoughs snacks that I don't want to hit up the vending machine also. typically i bring in 1/2 cup of non-fat, no sugar added vanilla yogurt with fresh fruit that i mix in, fresh veggies with some kind of dip. (Right now it is Fit's hummus recipe..yum) and then my half sandwhich and cottage cheese (the low-fat single serving breakstone). Also, I prepare my lunch for the next day the night before so I don't forget or run out of time. It is a big help. $$ too, since sandwhiches here run about $7 as well. gotta love living in the city!_________________________________________________________Why don't you wear the face you have when I am not around?
cravinsugar cravinsugar 9 years
I bring my lunch everyday, and it is a lot easier to eat healthy that way. I bring enoughs snacks that I don't want to hit up the vending machine also. typically i bring in 1/2 cup of non-fat, no sugar added vanilla yogurt with fresh fruit that i mix in, fresh veggies with some kind of dip. (Right now it is Fit's hummus recipe..yum) and then my half sandwhich and cottage cheese (the low-fat single serving breakstone). Also, I prepare my lunch for the next day the night before so I don't forget or run out of time. It is a big help. $$ too, since sandwhiches here run about $7 as well. gotta love living in the city! _________________________________________________________ Why don't you wear the face you have when I am not around?
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