Healthy Living

Brown-Bagging It!

Packing a Low-Calorie Lunch: Brown-Bagging It!

Many people find that packing their own lunch, whether to school or work, has many benefits.  The most obvious benefit of brown-bagging it is that you can save a ton of money over the course of time.  Yep, although it doesn’t seem like seven to ten bucks a day for lunch ordered out at your workplace is much – if you spend seven dollars a day, five days a week – you’ve spent a staggering $1820 in one year.

To break that down further – over the typical twenty-year-long career (and not figuring in any inflation), you could theoretically (and easily) spend $36,400 just on lunch.  That’s money that could be better spent by contributing it to an IRA or other retirement account.  And that’s not to mention what takeout food and fast food that is normally eaten at lunch can do to your waistline.  The average fast food lunch is around 1000 calories.  (Remember, it takes 3,500 calories to make a pound).  Brown-bagging your lunch saves money and calories!

Packing Your Brown Bag Lunch

One reason that fast food is so popular (besides the fact that we have a natural tendency to love things that are bad for us), is that it is what its moniker suggests – fast.  Brown-bagging it takes some time and effort, but once you get used to it, your waistline and your wallet will thank you.  Low-calorie options for quick brown-bag lunches that you can make and take with you include:

  • Sandwiches. A turkey, chicken, or lean roast beef sandwich on whole wheat bread or reduced calorie white bread is a great and very filling sandwich that can be less than 150 calories, depending on what you put on it.  When packing a sandwich for a brown bag lunch, avoid fat meats like bologna, and fatty condiments like mayo. Opt instead for lean meats or poultry and for condiments like mustard or vinegar.
  • Fruit. Fruit is a no-brainer for a brown bag lunch.  From the classic choice (a banana or apple) to more exotic fruit choices, many fruits are perfectly portable and low-cal.
  • Snack. A fruit-roll up, low-calorie or low-fat yogurt cup, single serve baked chips, or 100 calorie pack cookies or crackers make a neat and packable snack that will not leave you feeling guilty.
  • Drink. Choose a bottle of water, bottle of 100% juice, or (if you must) a diet soda for your drink.  Avoid sugary sodas or energy drinks that will just pick you up and leave you feeling horrible an hour or so later.

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Karla Urwitz

As a full-time career oriented mother of one, I love all things travel. I was in the hospitality business for 15 years and loved it. So why not become a travel agent. So I am trying to find my balance in life through being a parent to a teenager, my love of travel, and living the best life possible. Come join me on this bumpy journey of life.

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