Breakfast is often hailed as the most important meal of the day. However, in terms of impacting mid-day energy levels and your wallet, lunch is the meal to focus on. Bringing back the brown bag lunch in your family is a great way to save money and promote healthier eating habits. The term “brown bag lunch” sounds so boring! Here are some tips to take the brown out your family’s lunch bag and keep the green in your wallet.
Variety: It is the spice of life or, in this case, the spice of lunch. Who wants to eat the same thing day in and day out? Changing things up can be as easy as replacing sliced bread with wraps, bagels, or pita pockets. Go even further and think of foods other than a sandwich for the main course. Easy, inexpensive alternatives for the main course are pasta salads (alphabet pasta is fun) or leftovers.
Balancing Act: Strive to create a lunch that is balanced with protein and complex carbohydrates. The benefits of a healthy lunch stretch beyond the waistline. Children who eat well balanced lunches stay alert and focused during the school day. Plus, introducing healthy food choices and including your child in the decisions and preparation will help teach them healthy eating habits.
Single Serving Swindle: You pay more for single serving packaged foods and get less. This is definitely not our motto. Instead of opting for the single serving items such as individual yogurt cups, purchase the large container and portion it out in reusable containers at home. This will save you money and is more environmentally friendly.
Dull to Dandy: Add sprinkles to the top of the yogurt, use a cut out to create sandwich and cheese slice shapes, or put fruit on kabobs. Children’s food choices are often influenced by how it looks. These quick, easy extra touches take a lunch from dull to dandy and make the difference in whether it ends up in their belly or the garbage bin.
Keeping it Cool: Research has shown that lunches that are not stored in a refrigerator can reach unhealthy temperatures. No worries; keep your cool and their lunch cool by freezing the drink in the lunch. This homemade ice pack will thaw by the time lunch roles around.
Love in a Lunch Bag: Who would have thought a bagged lunch could be an expression of love? Take this opportunity to send a note on a banana or orange peel. Put a silly face on their sandwich bag or lunch bag. Write a note of encouragement and slip it inside. We all like knowing that someone is thinking of us, so don’t limit this to the kids.
The average American wastes over $800 a year eating out for lunch. That number does not include the amount of money wasted on bagged lunches that are thrown away. Brown bag lunches are a great way to positively change your family’s budget and health. Both can be achieved while creating a meal time that is anything but Brown Bag Boring.