As fall approaches, you might be realizing that you were a little too liberal with your wallet this summer (all those outdoor brunches and rooftop happy hours don’t come cheap!). But a change of season is a perfect time for new habits—and one stellar option is a healthy and cost-efficient brown-bag lunch.
One of the smartest things we can all do for our budgets (and often, our health) is to pack a work lunch. And we know, we know—not only does this take time and planning, but it all-too-often evokes terrible sense-memories of the dry turkey sammies or soggy PB&J’s that we endured as kids. But fear not—we’re absolutely not suggesting you brown bag a sad little sandwich and bag of chips. Because there are so many tastier options nowadays.
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Check out the below options for awesome, delicious brown bag lunches that will make you forget all about eating out.
1. Turkey Taco Bowls
It’s Taco Tuesday everyday when you pack this spicy, healthy bowl. After this, you’ll be asking, “Chipotle, who?” Find the recipe at Sweet Pea and Saffron.
2. Chickpea Caesar Pasta Salad
Add some heartiness to a vegan Caesar salad with some healthy, whole grain pasta. You can even go gluten free, if you’d rather. This update on the classic will totally taste like a step up from your usual salad. You can find the tasty recipe at Emilie Eats.
3. Spicy Shrimp and Avocado Lettuce Wraps
Looking to keep your meals lower carb? This spicy shrimp wrap packs a ton of flavor into a super healthy package. Plus, the healthy fats and fiber of avocado will keep you full until dinner. Get your shrimp fix at The Garlic Diaries.
4. Greek Chicken Bowl
We love bringing bowls for lunch, because they’re so versatile. This Mediterranean flavored bowl packs together some of our favorite Greek flavors into one convenient bowl. And if you prefer different flavor combos, they’re so easy to swap out. Check out this tasty option at Eazy Peazy Mealz.
5. Grilled Zucchini Hummus Wrap
When you’re looking for filling vegan lunches, sometimes things get a little monotonous. But don’t discount the power of the grill. A little sear on some zucchini, and it tastes like an entirely different vegetable. Get your grill on from Maebells.
6. Sushi Roll Bowl
Get the flavor of sushi without having to learn how to roll your own. Because we’ve tried it, and there’s a reason why the pros do it. And it can easily be made vegan by leaving out the seafood. Get the recipe from the very aptly named Wonky Wonderful.
7. Buffalo Chicken Mason Jar Salad
Not only are mason jar salads beautiful to look at, they’re also very functional. Layer the heartier veggies on the bottom with the dressing, and the lettuce on top. When you tip it over, everything will be dressed, but the lettuce won’t be soggy! This buffalo chicken combo makes a perfect spicy, cool lunch option. Get the recipe from Organize Yourself Skinny.
8. Garlic and Goat Cheese BLT
One way to update your lunch options is to update your favorite sandwich. Because there’s an art to it. This stunning update to the BLT adds some healthy avocado and tangy goat cheese, while keeping the crispy bacon and bread combo that we love. Get the recipe from The Kitchn.
9. Spicy Tuna Wrap
Another sushi alternative is this delectable spicy tuna wrap. It’s got all the pieces you love, but in a much more brown-bag-lunch friendly package. Get the recipe at Eating Well.
10. Homemade Hot Pockets
Yep, that’s right. The classic I-don’t-have-enough-time-to-think-about-lunch food can be updated to be better for you and way more delicious! Using pre-packaged dough and organic ingredients, you don’t have to feel bad packing this classic in your lunchbox. Find the details on how to make a homemade Hot Pocket on Say Yes.
11. Salmon Lox Quesadilla
If you want to bring a little brunch for lunch, try this delicious fusion option. The guys of El Nosh put together this recipe for a delicious salmon quesadilla that sounds both cheesy and fresh. Find their recipe at Popsugar.
And if you despise the whole “brown bag” part of the brown-bagged lunch, we’ve got your covered there, too! You can find a list of some of the cutest grown-up lunch boxes around here. Go forth and bring your lunch!