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Battle Brown Bag Boredom


Published: 06/21/2012

by Roslyn Ralph

Taking your lunch to work makes both dietary and economic sense. By taking a healthy lunch with you, you control the

ingredients and ensure that you’re maintaining a well-balanced diet. Plus, the cost of a lunch out can range from $5-$10 a day.

Over time, that can really add up. There are a few simple things you can try that can make the tried and true a little

less tired and put some punch into lunch.

Sandwich Fillings

Be creative. Try adding some wasabi to the mayo when you make the tuna salad to give it some zing. Add chopped black olives, a bit of diced tomato, chopped garlic and some anchovy paste to tuna and you have a salad niçoise filling. Throw a dash of curry powder into the hardboiled egg mixture, along with some slivered green onions and diced red pepper. Mix chopped dried cranberries or cherries in with low-fat cream cheese and toss in a few chopped walnuts for a great flavour combination with some added crunch.


By now we all know that making whole grain breads, pitas and wraps part of your diet is a healthy choice. It is nice to mix it up

a little, though, so that you don’t get bored with the ‘same old-same old’. Try breadnut breads, ciabatta buns and foccacia, or rye, sourdough and pumpernickel breads. Any of these choices can make that favourite filling taste new and delicious.


Packing a salad at lunch will help achieve the recommended five to 10 servings of vegetables and

fruit per day. Add some interest to plain greens by tossing in some tomatoes and a bit of feta cheese

and turning it into a Greek salad. Punch up the familiar coleslaw by adding in some grated apples or fennel.

Adding beans to green salads increases flavour and fibre.


If last night’s dinner included a soup, think about taking the leftovers to work for lunch the next day. If you want to freshen

the flavour, add some chopped fresh parsley and toss on a handful of croutons. Make a vegetable soup more filling by

adding in some beans or cooked pasta.

Get packing

Upgrade from the brown bag and invest in a good-quality lunch box. There are numerous styles and sizes to choose from.

Find one that is large enough to hold a wholesome light meal but isn’t too big to make it awkward to carry. Buy some small

containers for getting your lunch to work without spills or leaks. Make sure they are durable and washable. If you do take soup

from time to time, a good vacuum bottle is necessary. It will prevent leaks and keep hot foods hot and cold ones cold.

In the office, keep a few lunch essentials in your desk or file cabinet. Have a set of cutlery and a plate or bowl so you don’t

have to eat out of the container you brought from home. A few napkins and some hand wipes are a good idea as well.

We don’t recommend eating at your desk. Lunch should be a time to chat with colleagues in the lunch area, or on nice days,

to get outside and dine alfresco. Take a stroll and recharge your batteries for the afternoon ahead.

Finding the time

Creative brown bagging takes a little planning. It’s best to take a few minutes and put lunch together the night before. Pack

drinks, fruit and veggies. Avoid soggy sandwiches by preparing the filling at night and then making the sandwich in

the morning. It’s also easier when you’re making lunches for the family to get everyone involved in creating their own.

Now that you’re inspired to take your brown bag lunch to new heights, here’s a simple recipe to get you started. It’s


Lunch Box: Creative Recipes for

Everyday Lunches

, a new book by

Canadian dieticians Marie Breton and

Isabelle Emond

Mint Carrot Salad


3 Tbsp light mayonnaise

3 Tbsp plain yoghurt

1 tsp hot mustard

1 Tbsp chopped fresh mint or 1 tsp dried mint

3 cups grated carrots


Mix first four ingredients in a bowl and

then fold in the carrots. Add salt and pepper

to taste. Serves 4.



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