Food & Wine

5 simple tips to refresh ‘brown bag’ lunches

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You’re running out the door, already late and thinking about that important 8 a.m. meeting. Lunch is the last thing on your mind. In fact, you usually just pick something up from the deli line or local fast food place and hurry back to your desk. Sound familiar? You’re not alone. Only one in five people actually ditch their desks during their lunch hour. When you feel your stomach growl, it’s all too easy to grab something from the vending machine or – if you remember – to pack a cold turkey sandwich. But there are plenty of easy ways to spice up your lunchtime routine at work. Here are some tips to improve your mediocre midday meal:

Walk away from your desk.

Do you eat at your desk every day? You have a lunch break for a reason; so use it. You’re busy and need a few minutes to recharge throughout the day. You’ll come back refreshed and ready to be productive for the rest of the afternoon. Eating at your desk also means you’re probably multi-tasking, not paying attention to your food. Leaving your desk will help you become a more mindful eater and you’ll enjoy your meal more. Take a walk, socialize with coworkers, do something that gets you up and moving for at least 15 minutes.

Bake up a batch of healthy chips.

Step away from the snack machine. You don’t need those stale potato chips. You can bake your own with only six ingredients. Thickly slice two pounds of potatoes and coat them with olive oil and one tablespoon of salt. Season with cayenne and ground pepper. Arrange the slices on a greased baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes until potatoes are crisp and golden brown. Then, spread them out on parchment paper, sprinkle with salt and enjoy. Pack a handful of chips in your lunch each day for more crunch and less guilt.

Stray from the PB and J.

Peanut butter and jelly might be a staple, but it’s time for a grown-up work lunch. You can find sandwich fixings that are not only easy and quick, but take your lunch to the next level. Try a gourmet chicken salad like the no-mayo Avocado Chicken Salad from Willow Tree Farm. It’s a better-for-you option, saving you calories and fat, because it’s made with Aveyo, a spread simply containing Hass avocado, white vinegar, olive oil, sea salt and lime juice. It takes the place of eggs and most of the oil, while still maintaining that classic creamy texture and flavor.

Find a new way to pack your salad.

Forget about soggy, wilted lettuce. One of the best ways to pack a salad is in a quart-sized canning jar. Put your dressing on the bottom, add in your lettuce, veggies and any other salad toppings. If you really want to kick up your salad game, Willow Tree Farm’s new Sriracha Chicken Salad layers perfectly with leafy greens and adds a tasty spice to your salad. Everything stays separate until it’s time to toss together. Simply pour the salad out into a bowl and you’re ready to eat. Your salad will also last for a couple of days in the fridge, so you can make a few days’ worth of lunches ahead of time.

Make your lunch at work.

Are you always running out of time to pack a lunch? Choose a lunch you can throw together in minutes. A chicken salad wrap, tuna melt, pita pocket sandwich with hummus or a Greek yogurt parfait are all relatively simple, healthy meals you can prepare in the office. Keep the ingredients on hand and lunch will be a no-brainer.

Make sad desk lunches a thing of the past with these tips. For more ideas for reinventing your lunchtime routine, visit


Article provided by BPT

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