Unless one of your parents was a caterer or a culinary "snob" you probably remember your own childhood bag lunch as something a big disappointment...peanut butter and jelly or luncheon meat sandwiches paired with an apple. if you were lucky, maybe you got a single-serve pack of chips to go with it. You've gotta believe me when I tell you those days are OVER! And thankfully so.
These days the to-go lunches are crammed with bright and colorful fruits and veggies, and lean meats. The sandwiches and salads of today are bursting with flavor and pretty to look at. In addition to being extra nutritious they will, in the long run, save you a lot of money. And let's not forget the beauty of being able to take your lovely lunch to the park, local botanical gardens, and other peaceful places where nature abounds. Wouldn't you rather spend your lunch hour there than, say, waiting in line at the fast food drive-through or in a crowded restaurant waiting to get served? Because by the time you do and your meal arrives...surprise, surprise...there's not much time left to enjoy it. So you rush through it and end up with indigestion! We've all been there. Or you wind up getting it to go and eating at your desk. Neither is a peaceful or restorative way to recharge your body and mind.
Have I convinced you yet that home-packed lunches are definitely the way to go? If so, here are a few ways to make your lunch more enjoyable.
1. Invest in a nice-looking, sturdy, and reusable container to pack your lunch in. Neither you nor your kids want to take their brown bag lunch in an actual brown bag.
2. Remember, we eat with eyes first so presentation is a big thing. Nobody wants their sandwich all smooshed up. You'd send it back if you got it that way in at the restaurant so don't settle for an ugly lunch here. either.
3. The other half of the presentation issue is color. Be sure all the lunches you pack are full of color (natural color, of course) like leafy green lettuce or spinach, fruit in season, and flavorful drinks. Ditch the soda and go for chilled bottled water, unsweetened ice tea with lemon or, maybe some lemonade on a hot summer's day. Be creative! Think about what you would want to eat if you were going to the restaurant. With a box lunch, you are in control of the calories, too. You needn't worry about extra salt, sugar, or fats...because you choose what's on the menu each day.
4. If a refrigerator is available, it broadens your options bigly. You can include salads; not only the green kind, but also a chicken salad with halved grapes and sliced almonds, or tuna salad with crisp celery and a sliced hard-boiled egg. Yum! Then there's yogurt, cottage cheese, hard cheese with fruits and nuts...the choices are almost limitless!
5, No refrigerator? Consider purchasing an insulated lunchbox with a reusable ice pack. Just be sure it can keep your foods cold enough to ensure food safety and flavor, for the length of time between when you pack the lunch and when you will get to enjoy it.
6. Feel good about choosing to take your lunch. Attitude is everything! You'll never develop the habit if you constantly ask yourself, "Do I really have to do this...again?"
So make your list and head to the store. there's plenty of time to plan for your Brown Bag-It lunch tomorrow. You'll be happy you did! The weathers beautiful and what better time to enjoy a picnic that's smack in the middle of your workday?
PS. Your friends and co-workers will be a bit jealous of your tasty, gorgeous, healthy meal...that you get to eat without all the stress of dining out.
Happy shopping and until tomorrow, I wish you all