If you regularly bring your lunch to work, it’s inevitable that you’re going to experience a case of the brown-bag blahs. You know, when you reach into your lunch bag and pull out the same things to eat day after day. You’re not alone.
We here at Live Naturally and Optimum Wellness have been through those blahs, too. So we’ve come up with some creative, healthy ways to jazz up old lunch standbys with fresh flavors and a bit of fun. Let us share a few.
Instead of the standard ol’ sandwich with two slices of bread, use a spinach or wheat tortilla and assemble a tasty wrap.
Try these ingredients:
• Spread hummus instead of mustard—it adds a bit of protein and healthy fats, and comes in all kinds of yummy flavors.
• Fit in some more protein, like natural, sliced smoked turkey or a sliced hard-boiled egg.
• Cut up colorful veggies, like red peppers and cucumbers.
• Add greens, such as spinach, shredded kale or sprouts.
Then roll it up and, voilà, you’re ready for lunch.
Instead of reaching for that bag of chips, try a different side: crackers or pita and sliced vegetables with a dip. Hummus is a tasty and healthy go-to, but mix it up and dip into some baba ghanoush—made from eggplant, sesame tahini, olive oil, lemon juice and spices—which is rich in protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.
Plain water can be soooooo boring sometimes. Here’s an easy fix: Make your own fruit- and herb-infused water. Simply put ingredients in a water jug, fill, and let sit in the fridge for a couple of hours. Then pour into a water bottle or jar and bring to work.
Try these combinations:
Take a ho-hum combo of lettuce, veggies and dressing, and turn it into a gourmet bowl of goodness.
Greens, like lettuce, arugula, spinach, kale—or a combo.
Match with a whole grain:
• Grains are important sources of many nutrients, including dietary fiber, several B vitamins and minerals (iron, magnesium and selenium)
• Chopped or sliced vegetables—carrots, peppers, radishes, broccoli, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, snap peas, turnips—the options are endless.
• Try grilling or sautéing veggies in olive oil; then add to your salad.
Add a protein:
• Cooked salmon
• Hard-boiled egg
• Cubes of firm tofu
• Beans, like great Northern or garbanzo (chickpeas)
• Nuts, like chopped walnuts or sliced almonds
• Raw seeds, such as sunflower or pumpkin
• Seeds are high in vitamin E and numerous minerals.
• Fresh chopped herbs, like basil, oregano or cilantro
• Your favorite bottled dressing
• Olive oil and balsamic vinegar
• Lemon juice, salt, pepper
Satisfy your afternoon sweet tooth—and get an energy boost—with an all-natural dark chocolate bar. And don’t feel guilty, because dark chocolate is chock-full of healthy stuff like antioxidants to lower blood pressure and boost blood flow, good fats that benefit your heart and cholesterol levels, plus a modest amount of caffeine for a natural pick-me-up.