Brown Bag It Through The Holidays!

Feeling MUCH better this morning friends and so appreciative for all the well wishes and the pick me up ideas! I left work early because I wasn’t feeling like myself and after a good nap under the heated blanket and some encouraging words from a friend; I was feeling like me again.

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Today I’m bringing you a challenge through the holiday season, BROWN BAG IT!! If you are like me and have to be away from home all day, it can be all too tempting to grab take out or order in, as opposed to packing a lunch and snacks.

The problem with eating out every day is that you are adding a lot of unnecessary calories and fat to your intake, on TOP of all the extra holiday goodies lying around. This can lead to extra poundage and feelings of “blah.” The reality is, by the time you get through the bottom-less bread basket, your entree, and maybe dessert, you may have ingested more calories than a person should eat in a whole day!!

Although it is completely possible to keep it healthy by nixing the bread or requesting foods without extra sauces or fried foods, it is still easier and more economic to bring your own healthy lunch from home!

Brown bagging it through the holidays is just another way to keep your weight in check. I know I’ve been struggling to resist all the temping treats from holiday parties and office workers but at least I know if I pack my own foods through out the day, I’m meeting my fruit and veggie intake and that the foods I’m eating are healthy and whole!

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A few of my ultimate favorites to brown bag:

  • Salads: I love how salads can be so versatile!! I try to change it up with the produce I buy each week and by adding nuts, fruits, cheeses, etc. Nothing beats feta cheese in my opinion and while I don’t buy it often, a Mediterranean salad with olives, nuts, feta, romaine, and maybe a little hummus and tabbouleh is heavenly!! Or maybe you feel like Mexican? How about shredded green leaf lettuce and spinach, topped with diced tomatoes, corn, black beans or pinto beans, and a few slices of avocado or a dollop of guacamole? The possibilities are endless; you just have to get creative!
  • Sandwiches: Nothing could be easier than throwing together a sandwich for work. However, it can also get monotonous if you pack the same old turkey and cheese every day. CHANGE IT UP! I cannot stress this enough: variety is the spice of life and we need to think outside the box! Try to recreate your favorite restaurant’s famous sandwiches! Try it on whole grain bread or whole wheat pita and add lots of veggies!
  • Leftovers. Lately, my personal favorite way to pack lunch is to bring last night’s leftovers! It’s a super easy way to pack! When you put away dinner like you normally would, throw a little in to a small container for work the next day. Simple. Talk about being better than a frozen entree! Try to make meal plans based on what you can take for leftovers and then add a small salad or piece of fruit! The possibilities are endless!

My challenge for you through the next few weeks is to try to brown bag it at LEAST one more day than you normally would each week. You’ll find you don’t feel as weighed down in the afternoon if you keep it healthy and whole for lunch and snacks!

QUESTION: Do you pack lunch? If so, what is your favorite thing to pack?

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26 comments to Brown Bag It Through The Holidays!

  • I’m too cheap to eat out every day. Besides, leftovers from the night before are just as easy to pack for lunch Great ideas. Thank you!

  • I’m right there with you in the Brown Bag club! I pack a salad for lunch every day: Spinach, apple, grapes, feta cheese, toasted walnuts, and dried cranberries. The holiday treats are out-of-control delicious at my office this season, and it seems like new ones are popping up every day! I like to enjoy a few bites of my co-worker’s holiday treats a day, because I know it only comes once a year. But as you said, bringing my lunch salad keeps my healthy brain in check and makes sure I hit the fruit n’ veggie count for the day.

    Thanks for the great tips! Hope you’re enjoying the holidays :)

  • I always try to have a lunch packed. I would probably be beyond huge if I did not do this. You have some great ideas.

    xo

  • I also love to bring leftovers. So much better for you and for your budget! :)

  • I pack my lunch everyday during the week. Being a school teacher, I only have thirty minutes to eat so no time to go out for lunch and the food the cafeteria offers is no way something I want to eat.

  • I don’t work a typical 9-5 day, but when I know I’m going to be out of the house at lunch, I almost always brown bag it. My salad blaster is a lifesaver! It has a separate dressing container attached to the top, which you push when you’re ready to eat the salad. Then you shake it, and voila! A perfectly tossed salad. I’m also a huge fan of soup, and pack it when I know I’ll have access to a microwave.:-)

  • I always pack my lunch. (I’m a teacher and high school cafeteria food is so unappealing.) I love packing leftovers or apples with peanut butter! It’s my favorite afternoon snack during my hour off :)

  • Glad you’re feeling more yourself today :-)

    I am lucky that I can actually eat at home everyday because of my schedule. I am in and out all day so I usually make my own lunch. If I don’t it’s usually salad bar from Whole Foods!

  • i try to pack lunch at least 4 days a week… it is SO much less expensive and i am able to make better tasting healthy options than i can usually find

  • I rarely buy lunch out and always pack my own! Sometimes it’s hard when I see (or smell) what other’s have but I know I’m eating much healthier and saving TONS of money!!

  • I always pack a lunch! Usually salads, soups, snacks like hummus and crackers, etc.! I’m always looking for new ideas though, I get very bored easily!

  • hehe I stress this mucho =) It saves sooo much money! My hubs wont bring his own lunch but if I pack it and remind him it’s good to go in the fridge – BAM! instant lunch!

    my fav is leftover soup! esp. in the winter!!!

    xoXOxo
    jenn

  • I use to pack my lunch all the time. It’d be the normal stuff: a sandwich, an apple, green tea, and a luna bar. Somedays it’d be sushi. :) But ever since starting college and having to spend the money on my dining card, I just use it there with healthy options.

  • I always brown bag it, lol. Otherwise I spend years figuring out what I want and wasting so much $$.

  • I’m big on leftovers for lunch. That’s really all I ever eat for lunch on any given day. I usually make enough dinner for 4 servings so my husband and I both have lunch for the next day.

    Another thing I like is to make a huge pot of soup. We’ll eat it for dinner about once a week and then take the leftovers for lunch for days.

  • I brownbag every day! Even on the days that I have to be on campus from noon until 10:30 at night, I make sure to bring lunch, dinner and snacks. Not only is it easier on my wallet, but it makes my body feel so much better than eating a tray of greasy and salty food. Ryan loves to give me cute lunch bags and containers to help me get through my long days! Thanks for sharing, sweet girl. I hope you have a lovely afternoon!

  • Roz

    Great advice! I brown bag it ALMOST every day! And I try REALLY hard not to pack the same thing over and over….that way, I don’t get bored and tempted to go and buy a snack.

  • I think you’ve def hit the nail on the head here. Since we know that everything is sooo overloaded with fat and sugar this time of year (aside from all the white flour!!), you’ve really got to plan ahead for yourself. Think of many unwanted calories and ingredients one can avoid just by eating a wholesome meal and then indulging in a few cookies rather than pigging out on the cookies and cakes and whatever else is around.

  • Yep, I pack my lunch pretty much every day! My favourites are sandwiches, loaded salads (think veggies, greens, chickpeas, hard boiled eggs, tuna… the whole bit!) and leftovers – hot meals are just SO good at work! :)

  • I always bring a lunch! Even if I don’t have time to make something,I’ll grab an apple with peanut butter and yogurt. I also load up from time to time on nuts and dried fruit at work so even if it’s a small lunch, I have something and can avoid going out to buy something. The only time I don’t eat what I bring to lunch is if we’re going out for a celebration type event or I’m REALLY craving something I didn’t have at my house.

  • Yep, I brownbag it every day!

    I like to pack salads too, but I usually use coleslaw or broccoli slaw as my base and then go from there.

    Or soup..soup is easy too ;)

  • Great challenge!

    I used to ONLY bring a packed lunch but lately I dont. But thats because I PREPARE lunch here at work at my new job. I get to make a big salad, juice, smoothie, or sauteed veggies. I think that’s the best deal!

  • I brown bag it just about every day! You are right – the possibilities are endless! I often bring leftovers (since there are just 2 of us, we tend to have leftovers often), but yesterday I switched it up with a great salad!

  • I brown bag my lunch practically every day mainly because I’m cheap and food on base is gross. I keep different food items in my desk to make my life easier: balsamic vinegar, 100 cal. packs of almonds, etc. I’ve found that packing my lunch before I eat my dinner helps me because then it’s already made so I can relax and enjoy my dinner and not have to worry about preparing for the next day. But my lunches can lack variety…I get lazy sometimes and make what I know (over and over).

  • I am on the bringing leftovers bandwagon, and load up my containers with steamed/sauted veggies – it’s faster than standing in all the lunch lines in downtown DC, and I can cook better than most places around here anyway.

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