The idea of a brown bag lunch centers on simple foods that can be eaten with little or no prep, and with a minimum of plastic containers and utensils. The aftermath of lunch can be conveniently thrown away. Whether it's for a child's school lunch or you want to save money and "brown bag" your lunches at work, coming up with healthy and delicious paper bag lunch ideas requires a little advanced planning.
Leftovers for Lunch
Extend last night's dinner into a tasty brown bag lunch. Many meals work well as leftover lunches. Try slicing up a grilled chicken breast to dip in a honey mustard sauce, or make a meat loaf sandwich. Quesadillas or bean burritos taste just as good cold as they do warm. Incorporate side dishes from the night before, like a slice of garlic bread, veggies and dip, or even cheese and crackers.
Create a lunch that represents all the colors of the rainbow. Pack some red cherry tomatoes, orange slices, yellow crackers and cheese, green celery, a blueberry bagel with blueberry cream cheese, and grape juice for a drink. Get creative with your own food color combinations for healthy and colorful meals.
While many prepackaged foods are not very healthy, you can shop wisely and get convenient lunch-sized portions of food that fit the brown bag criteria. Try yogurt, pretzels, dried fruit, fruit cups, cheese and crackers, and trail mix--prepackaged items to complement your sandwich or cold cut wrap. Add raw baby carrots, celery sticks, and cherry tomatoes for a well-rounded lunch that features prepackaged goods. With smart choices, using prepackaged items can make brown bag lunch prep time much quicker.
Use your brown bag lunch to keep you on your diet by filling it with extremely healthy foods. Try lean deli meat in a whole wheat pita stuffed with sprouts, cucumbers, and tomatoes. Or take a tuna on wheat sandwich. Include a hard boiled egg, some almonds, celery and peanut butter, and an apple. Whatever lunch combination you select, make sure it offers plenty of whole grains, fruits, veggies, and protein. Stay away from refined sugar and flour, as well as highly processed foods with unhealthy additives.