Brown Bagging 101
(This was taken from: Cheap Healthy Good.com. I have removed anything that was not necessary to this subject)
Plan ahead. When you’re drawing up a grocery list and/or shopping, don’t forget to include enough food for a few lunches. Make sure it’s stuff you like, and wouldn’t mind repeating two or three days a week, to boot. Unfussy, healthy, easily-pulled-together mainstays like bread, sandwich fillings, spreads, salads, fruits, and vegetables are all solid bets. Be sure to ease up on the pre-packaged frozen meals, though (Weight Watchers, Lean Cuisine, etc.). They cost more, both in cash and sodium intake, than a self-created lunch.
Prep the night before. No one wants to wake 20 minutes early so they can slap a bologna sandwich together before the 8am train. Assembling a simple lunch in the evening will let you sleep longer AND increase the likelihood of a meal you’ll enjoy. If those nightly 10 minutes are too inconvenient, you can always …
Prep in bulk. Clever Dude has the best posts I’ve seen about constructing meals en masse*. You can knock out a week’s lunches in a single Sunday half-hour, then freeze or refrigerate them until needed.
Don’t settle for sandwiches. Variety is the spice of lunch. Any burgeoning brown bagger will get sick (real fast) of PB&Js, so try to change the menu up whenever you can. Portable chow like soups, bento boxes, burritos, make-your-own pizzas, and especially leftovers are vital to making BYOL more palatable. (See the attached list below for more ideas.) Speaking of…
Use leftovers wisely. A lot can be solved by making double the dinner servings and packing half away for Next Day Consumption. The leftovers add a ton of nutritionally-sound variety.
Pack snacks. The four o’clock coma: that mid-afternoon lull in brain activity where work takes second priority to napping on your keyboard. To battle the snooze, try to pack one or two light, portable snacks per day. Fruit is ideal for this, but crackers, hummus, vegetables, popcorn, and nuts should be enough keep you from raiding the vending machines.
Invest in reusable lunchboxes and utensils. Not only will this save you money, but it will cut down on the waste to the landfills.
When all is said and done; taking your lunch to work or school can actually save you up to $1,000 a year! That’s right, depending on where you eat, what you eat and the cost-of-living in your area; you can save up to $1,000 per month just by bringing your own lunch. Some of this savings is dependent on purchasing a reusable lunchbox and utensils.
You have control over what you eat (healthy beats Burger King), how much you eat (proper portions beat super-sized), and using your leftovers will save you money because you are not having to toss those leftovers in the trash at the end of the week.
Inner Chef Note: I have checked out the Clever Dude website and while entertaining, it is informative.