On The Brown Bag Brigade: Your One-Stop Shop for Work Lunch Ideas
Meags: I hate leaving the office during lunch because it wastes 20 minutes of my hour getting to the place and back.
Deborah: I think the best thing about taking lunch to work is that I'm not stuck in a restaurant, or standing in line, or rusing to and from my food destination for an hour. ... I would often take my lunch to the local park, or to the local lake. 30 minutes sitting watching nature go buy sure beats sitting at a table or standing in a line when it comes to resting my brain.
Annie K. Nodes: A good quick lunch I made the other day was grape tomatoes, corn, and cheddar cubes mixed with italian dressing. Very good. A good snack is edamame. I boil it in the morning, throw in a tupperware and munch munch munch!
Anonymous: Low fat string cheese is easy to carry to work and just the right size for snacks. I also like making larget batches of soup so I have left overs for a while. A cup of soup or chili and a think slice of whole grain bread is healthy, inexpensive and amazingly filling.
Aryn: I do wraps instead of sandwiches and my husband likes to intersperse his sandwiches with salads. The key to our success is quality deli meat, not the cheapo stuff that comes in a package.
Jennifer: One thing I do instead of buying lunch meat is make my own (sort of). I buy 3lb frozen boneless turkey breast portions, roast them myself, then slice them. I usually do 2 at a time and those two will last me probably a month. Whatever I won't use in the next week or so goes into the freezer until I'm ready for it. This saves a good deal of money over processed lunch meat. Depending on where I buy the roasts, they cost $7-10 for the 3 lb which works out to $2-3 per pound, much cheaper than deli meat and even the prepackaged stuff. Plus it tastes so much better!
Cam: For the afternoon snack, I highly recommend pumpkin chocolate chip bread (I found the recipe at tastespotting.com). I make it with all whole wheat flour, halve the amount of baking soda (because I could taste it in the first two loaves I made - yech), and use dark chocolate chips. It's very satisfying both in filling you up and sating the evil sweet tooth, and way better for you than a vending machine run! You just have to remember to only bring one slice :)
Claire: When brown-bagging, remember that the all-time cheapest option is leftovers! (it's been tested;))
Kristen: I pack my husband's lunch without fail. 99% of the time he eats leftovers (lunch meat is way too expensive for our budget), and the odd time he'll eat a PBJ, or a french bread pizza that I throw together. I have no idea how much money this has saved us over 11 years, but it's got to be an impressive amount. It's also saved me from throwing away untold amounts of leftovers!
Marcia: I carefully plan my dinners to have leftovers. I had to start doing that because my husband, who was perfectly content to eat PB&J for 30-odd years, one day decided he wanted leftovers for lunch too.
Julia: I cook on Sundays JUST to brown bag during the week. Once every few months I'll make a healthy lasagna, cut it into single servings, wrap each one and freeze them. Then when I'm out of leftovers I still have something healthy that I made to brown bag. Recipe here. And one of my absolute favorite things to make for the week is chicken salad. I just keep coming up with new flavors!
Kazari: always, always leftovers. with two of us in the house, it works out best. we have a whole bunch of lunch-size freezer containers, and they get filled as i serve the dinner. as long as it's not salad, everything gets frozen. and during the week you just open the freezer and go. mystery meals!
On Veggie Might: Lentil, Spinach, and Bulgur Stew That Wasn’t
Daniel Koontz: I worship Jay Solomon. We've been exploiting his Vegetarian Soup Cuisine book for more than a decade for easy-to-make, highly scalable meals. I also LOVE the fact that almost all of Solomon's recipes are preposterously inexpensive. An entire pot of soup with all sorts of healthy ingredients for under $5.00? Yep. Jay Solomon is The Man.
(Photo courtesy of lunchboxsetco.uk.)