5 ways to pack a better brown bag lunch

I pack lunches each day rather than eat out. If I added it up, I would spend over $40 a week if I ate out every day. I only spend $20 for a week’s worth of groceries. The problem is that I get to the point where I don’t really want to eat at lunch-time because I am not excited about eating what I packed. I try to make a fun dinner each night, my daughters and I like to try dishes that are exciting and different. They don’t taste so exciting or different the next day… In order to make myself excited about taking my own lunch, I follow these simple steps:

Take snacks.

Lots of snacks. I always get the munchies late morning and early afternoon, so I would walk to the vending machine and toss a couple of bucks in it each day for my dose of salt or sugar. I started buying pretzels in large bags  and packing myself a small bag each day, it gives me my salt craving for the day without breaking the bank. A handful of grapes or a small bag of fruit snacks takes care of the sugar craving I get around 3:00pm.

Make something different.

I usually don’t want to eat something heavy after having a heavy dinner the night before, so I make something light. Instead of leftover spaghetti, I will bring a turkey wrap with veggie sticks. The complete change in dish makes even a PB&J look appetizing for lunch, I save the spaghetti for later in the week so it sounds good.

Freeze any extra.

It’s late, you just got the kids back to bed for the third time, and you don’t want to have to think of something to make for lunch tomorrow. It’s a quick trip down that path towards eating out and spending $10. I keep a couple of Tupperware containers in my freezer with individual servings of leftovers. Right now I could open my freezer and pull out Chicken n’ Dumplings, Lasagna, or BBQ Chicken for sandwiches.

Keep your fruits and veggies visible.

The only thing I place in my vegetable bins are onions and carrots. Everything else gets a place on the rack in my fridge. That way I can see the options and will not forget that I have grapes or carrot sticks I can take for a snack. It also makes it easier to remember that I have those fresh tomatoes that I could add to leftover chicken for sandwiches.

Get out.

I work in a small office, so I make sure I don’t eat my lunch in my office too. I talked with my co-workers and found a few other people who have the same problem. They want to bring lunch, but they want to get out of their office. We make it a group lunch, one day we will go outside and sit in the grass together, another day we all meet together in the conference room and eat there. Just getting out of the office makes my lunch taste better and curbs my impulse to go out for lunch.

Break out your brown bags and stop eating out when you can bring lunch from home. Your wallet will thank you.