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Brown Baggin’ It for Grown Ups

If you spend time on social media—and who doesn’t?—you’re familiar with the “throwback” trend. On May 25, the country will throw it back to school days with National Brown-Bag It Day. While it’s a tongue-in-cheek “holiday,” the great thing is that it turns the focus to lunch, a meal that easily turns into an unhealthy one with busy schedules. With that in mind, the modern brown bag has come to play!

I became a dedicated brown bagger when I was working in an office. At lunchtime every day, I’d find myself starving and surrounded by restaurants tempting me with deep-fried, cheesy, buttery, carb-y foods. While it’s okay to indulge every once in a while, if you’re faced with that temptation on a daily basis, odds are, you’re going to give in more than you should. At home, I was mindful of what I ate, and I exercised every day, so I knew I had to make my lunchtime choices match my overall healthy lifestyle.

Packing my own lunch put me back in charge of my health. In my brown bag (which wasn’t your average brown bag—more on that later), I also included extra snacks to get me through my entire workday. In no time, I lost the urge to give in to the restaurants. Plus, I saved a bunch of money! Here are three ways you can also become a dedicated brown bagger:

Pack a Punch
To make sure your midday meals are healthy, be prepared. Meal-planning apps are a perfect choice to help you stay on track. There are multiple apps out there, from simple to comprehensive, where you can add meals to a calendar, create grocery lists, and learn how to make new meals from dinner leftovers. Two popular apps are “Pepperplate” and “Love Food Hate Waste”. Both are free and available for Apple and Android devices.

Dress It Up
Another way to stick to your lunchtime goals is to dress up your brown bag. Yesterday’s brown bag has evolved to fit today’s on-the-go, eco-conscious lifestyle, not only in content, but also in appearance. Today’s updated versions of the original paper lunch sack add some fun to packing your own lunch. In addition, multiple styles make it easy to accommodate your personal tastes. Here a few options for the updated “brown bag:”

  • Bento boxes come with compartments of different sizes for multiple ingredients or small items like fruit, cheese or nuts.
  • The classic lunch box is a practical choice. Now it comes with a modern look.
  • A cute, mod-looking lunch pot is great for soups or finger foods.

Make It You-nique
Customize your brown bag lunch to your tastes, your schedule, and your nutritional needs. Need inspiration? Try one of these delicious choices:

  • If you’re going low carb, a lettuce wrap is a great choice. Here’s a tasty, meat-free option.
  • Granola bars are easy and economical to make at home. With this recipe, you can swap the mix-ins to include whatever you like. Try adding some dark chocolate chips!
  • Ditch the traditional chicken or tuna salad sandwich for this newbie: salmon salad. It’s a source of important nutrients like B12, B6, and Omega 3 fatty acids.

While lunchtime is tricky because we’re pressed for time,  remember every meal counts. With that in mind, brown bag it to make sure you’re staying in check with your healthy lifestyle! What healthy choice do you pack for lunch? Share with us in the comments below!

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