What’s In That Bag?

A large brown paper bag filled with groceries(BlackDoctor.org) – Okay, they’re not incredibly glamorous. But brown bag lunches are convenient, economical and a great tool in eating healthy while you’re at work, at school, or otherwise away from home.

And guess what? Your pack lunch doesn’t have to be dull? You just need of a brown bag makeover!

Here’s an easy guide to plan tasty lunches that you’ll actually be happy to tote with you. Just choose at least one item from each of the four groups:

1. Breads & Starches

Benefit: Gives you energy all day long

• Whole wheat bread
• Oatmeal bread
• Pita bread
• Raisin bread
• Low-fat crackers
• Tortillas
• Whole grain buns
• Fiber-rich asta salad

2. Protein

Benefit: Helps build muscles

• Water-packed tuna
• Cottage cheese
• Flavored or baked toful
• String cheese
• Lean deli ham, chicken, roast beef or turkey
• Peanut butter (or other nut butters, such as almond)
• Cheese, including string cheese
• Tuna salad
• Vegetarian “meats”
• Egg salad
• Boiled eggs
• Chicken salad

3. Fruits & Vegetables

Benefit: Supplies your body with essential nutrients and antioxidants

• Fresh fruit, such as apples, grapes, bananas, cherries, oranges and berries
• Fresh vegetables, such as carrots, cucumbers, broccoli and pepper rings
• 100% fruit or vegetable juice
• Salads – tossed salad, coleslaw, spinach salad, fruit mixtures
• Individual applesauce or fruit cups
• Dried fruit

4. Dairy

Benefit: Helps strengthen your bones and teeth

• Low-fat or skim milk
• Yogurt
• Cheese
• Low-fat/non-fat pudding cups

Time–saving tips:

• To save time, try packing your lunch as you are making or cleaning up dinner the night before. The 10 minutes you might spend packing a lunch is often faster than the time it would take to hit the drive-thru.

• If you happen to have an office, or other group, that’s also trying to eat healthy, you may be able to start a lunch club, where the entire group can “swap” brown bag items –just like you when you were in school!