Brown Bag Ideas: How I Keep Lunch Fresh

I don’t go out for lunch.  Period.  Or at least, it’s pretty rare, maybe once or twice per year.  Outside of that, I brown bag it.  Well, actually I have a reusable bag that’s gray so as to save on waste, but you get the idea, right?

So, how do I keep it fresh.  Well, it’s not easy, but really the secret for me is mixing and Brown baggingmatching, all while staying within a few guidelines.

Generally there are four components to my lunch, and presented in the normal order which I eat them:

My Brown Bag Lunch

  1. Vegetables – This is the one area where I don’t have too much in the way of variety, as I take carrot sticks 95% or more of the time.  I just don’t get sick of them.  It does help that we cut our own carrots.  Why?  They taste much better than the pre-cut baby carrots.
  2. The Main Portion – Next, I move on to the main part of the meal, which more times than not is a sandwich.  However, there’s no way I can take a sandwich five days a week, week in and week out.  Just not going to happen.  So, usually 1-2 times per week on average I’ll have some sort of leftovers from an evening meal.  However, on the sandwich front, I try to keep it up by switching between salami, ham, PB&J, and occasionally turkey, all from the deli.  We also mix up the bread we buy, usually buying whatever is on sale between 5 or 6 different types.
  3. Fruit – I always have some sort of fruit.  This rotates between what’s in season.  For example, right now we’re eating a lot of strawberries, but in the fall, we’ll have lots of apples to eat.  If we have multiple kinds of fruit in the house, often I’ll combine them to make a simple fruit salad.
  4. Yogurt – I have a yogurt cup every day.  I am apparently one of the few people in the world that has not moved to the Greek yogurt craze.  I prefer regular yogurt.  Now I do like different flavors, so I keep this fresh by rotating flavors.  I generally get whatever is the best price between three different brands (Aldi, Meijer’s Purple Cow, or Yoplait) that I have found I like the best, and between the three, there’s enough rotation in the flavor to keep it from getting too boring.

That’s really it.  I guess you could say that my lunches have definitely moved toward consistency, but by trying to mix things up between the different areas as much as possible, it makes brown bagging an option that, so far, I have not gotten sick of.

And, I do love the savings as opposed to people that consistently go out.

Readers, do you brown bag it?  What do you do to keep yourself from revolting against the same lunch day in and day out?

7 thoughts on “Brown Bag Ideas: How I Keep Lunch Fresh”

  1. Brown bag is really simple yet so helpful. I use it for covering my lunch box so that smell would contain inside it.

  2. “…one of the few people in the world that has not moved to the Greek yogurt craze.” Haha… I hear you. It’s almost like that’s all you can find now-a-days at the grocery. I only have Greek yogurt for the added protein when I’m in training for a running event. Just give me the basic, cheaper yogurt. When our local Publix has their brand on sale I can usually get 20 for $8. The added bonus is that the kids love it.

    • Aldi still sells their cups for $0.38 per cup, which is great, but you’re exactly right, other stores have pretty much stopped carrying it. Meijer, our local store, used to sell individual cups with about 10 flavors. Now they cut all that out and instead only sell 4-packs in only three different varieties, giving the ‘extra’ shelf space to the Greek stuff. Ick.

  3. I usually bring my leftovers from dinner. I like a mixture of hot and cold vegetables because of different textures. Brown bagging saves money and is a healthier choice for me.

    • That’s one of my options as well though many times we don’t have leftovers, or sometimes if there are, my wife will have them or we’ll give them to our son to take in his thermos.

  4. I brown bagged religiously for the savings, but I fell off the wagon pretty badly. Work stress has jumped so I go out to unwind or bond with co-workers. I need to find a happy medium. However, when I do brown bag it, I rotate sandwich meats and leftovers. I too have not caught on the Greek yogurt fad. Costco sells 24 packs of Yoplait for $9.99 and I would rotate flavors, too.

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