Brown-bagging your lunch can save you hundreds of dollars a year, and it might even help you lose weight if you make good choices. It takes some planning, but the grocery store and your stash of leftovers can be a more cost-effective choice than the daily special in the company cafeteria.
ShopSmart, from the publisher of Consumer Reports, has ideas and tips to pack a delicious lunch you’ll look forward to eating. Here are five packables you might not think to tote:
l Breakfast for lunch
Frittatas are great served cold or warm, so pack a slice or two along with a small green salad.
l Leafless salad
A mix of chopped raw vegetables in vinaigrette, black beans, corn, diced red peppers and chopped scallions make a filling, healthful and inexpensive salad.
l Portable pasta
Try whole-grain pasta with vinaigrette and canned salmon or store-bought meatballs. For the carb-watchers, use spaghetti squash, orzo or brown rice to make a pseudo pasta salad.
l Antipasto and dips
Small bites can be satisfying, so pack mozzarella cubes wrapped in roasted red peppers, olives, deviled eggs, salami and roasted almonds. Tomato halves scooped out and filled with chili or other stuffings.
l Chip alternatives
Popcorn or healthy edamame beans are much cheaper than chips from the store or buttery popcorn from the office vending machine.