Turn A Kids' Brown Bag Lunch Into Desktop Dining For Adults

Turn A Kids' Brown Bag Lunch Into Desktop Dining For Adults


Adults are spending more time at their desks at lunchtime; grabbing a quick bite rather than a well-balanced lunch. By packing a midday meal at home, you can make sure your lunch is as healthful as what goes in your child’s brown bag lunch. The same ham sandwich that’s a standard with the cafeteria crowd is ready for desktop dining with a few substitutions.

As You Like It

Be creative when assembling a ham sandwich. Remember, accompaniments like chutneys, salsas and mustards can be the perfect condiments for great ham sandwiches -- and a welcome change of pace.

"There’s lots of room for creativity when making a ham sandwich," says Ceci Snyder, M.S., R.D., Director of Nutrition Communications for the Pork Information Bureau for the National Pork Board. "The smoky and slightly sweet flavor of ham makes it the most appealing sandwich meat choice."

Variation to a Classic

Experiment! You can go either mild or robust with cheese: from brick to provolone, Swiss, cheddar or anything you prefer. Alternate your bread choice for a multitude of flavors -- try traditional rye, focaccia, black bread or a submarine roll. And don’t forget the condiments: Mustards, greens, dried tomatoes, olives, minced raisins or cranberry dressing, all of which provide a unique complement to ham. Snyder recommends these sandwiches for starters:

  • Go with Gruyère -- Spread the inside of a sourdough roll with hot mustard and layer in the ham and thinly sliced Gruyère cheese. A garnish of sweet pickles transforms the old classic into a tasty gourmet sensation.

  • Make it Mediterranean -- Fill a pita pocket with julienne ham, goat cheese, chopped tomato, sliced peppers, chopped artichoke hearts and sliced olives. Drizzle with vinaigrette.

  • Keep it in Wraps -- Spread a large flour tortilla with salsa, layer with thinly-sliced ham and shredded cheese. Roll up the tortilla and wrap in foil or plastic for a perfect desktop meal that makes great use of the office microwave.

  • Sweet Chutney and Cheese -- Split a baguette and spread with cream cheese. Pile on shaved ham and dress with mango chutney, add sliced pineapple, avocado and alfalfa sprouts.

  • Make Use of the Microwave -- Mix shaved ham, barbecue sauce and chili powder in a plastic container. Simply warm ham in the office microwave and serve on an onion roll for a hot sandwich in seconds. Enjoy this tangy sensation with cole slaw, potato or pasta salad.

  • Eiffel Towering Treat -- Pile a croissant with thinly-sliced ham, smoked Gouda and top with a dollop of Dijon-style mustard.

  • Add Pacific Pizzazz -- Enjoy this California club sandwich. Spread mayonnaise on whole-wheat bread, top with ham, turkey, bacon, tomato, lettuce, avocado and alfalfa sprouts. Serve with pickle chips.

  • Mini Submarine Sandwich -- Pile a split submarine roll with slices of ham, salami, mozzarella and provolone cheese; top with yellow mustard, lettuce, sliced tomato, sliced black olives and pickle.

Keeping It Healthful

Ham is also a healthy lunch option. Compared to many other lunch alternatives, ham is lower in both fat and calories.

A ham sandwich stacks up as a lean choice with 263 calories and 5.71 grams of fat as compared with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with 456 calories and 18.1 grams of fat.

"The hearty favor of ham is sure to satisfy," says Snyder. "And people can feel good about their lunch choice for themselves and their family because ham is as lean as it is delicious."

Courtesy of the National Pork Board.

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