Give the planet and your pocketbook a week off with these 5 brown bag ideas.
Spring is a time when I’m already predisposed to upping my frugalness quotient. I always try to recommit myself to making the most of every opportunity, food wise, funds wise and eco-wise. So I thought it might be a good idea to try out some new lunch strategies.
Cutting a few dollars off my weekly food budget seems like as good idea. And small changes can make a big difference in many ways, especially where the environment is concerned. So why not commit yourself to trying out some of these eco-lunch ideas. Give your pocket and the earth a rest.
5 Simple Lunch Strategies
The Brown Bag – I know, you’ve heard this idea before, but it’s a good one. Remember when you were a kid and taking your lunch was something fun? My mom always sent me out into the world with a cheese sandwich, carrot and celery sticks, ginger snaps and a frozen coke. I think she is brilliant. And progressive, too. She froze a coke in the can the night before and wrapped it in foil the next morning. It kept my sandwich and veggies cold, and would be perfectly thawed and slushy by lunch time.
If you adopt this strategy today, you can also wrap your sandwich and veggies in paper or foil, so all of the lunch you bring is either consumed or recyclable.
Skip The Frozen Entree – I do not like the idea of eating a bunch of chemicals that have been frozen for who knows how long. And according to a recent study, you can’t even be sure that the lean meal you’re eating is actually lean. But portability is the real problem here. Frozen dinners must be kept cold. Portable ice packs are full of harmful chemicals. They sometimes leak. They’re not recyclable. So if you must carry a frozen dinner, wrap it in foil, but don’t leave it out of the freezer for more than 30 minutes or so. It will start to thaw and you risk bacteria growth. But consider all the package waste that goes with that frozen dinner. Lots of unrecyclable packaging gets thrown away every time you eat one.
Get fresh at lunch – Why not walk to a local farmer’s market and pick up something fresh to eat at your desk. Fresh fruit, portable veggies like carrots (not the baby kind wrapped in plastic, but real, honest to goodness carrots) and celery, even broccoli and peppers. You know you don’t have to peel them before you eat them, right? Just be sure to wash them well and enjoy. Bring your own “green” cloth grocery bag and you’ll look stylish and eco-friendly while you shop for your lunch. Plus you get some fresh air and a little exercise. You can clear your mind and give your co-workers a break from your constant updating of your Facebook status.
Peanut Butter To The Rescue – Keep peanut butter in your desk drawer. Bring or buy some bread, crackers or bagels to keep in your desk drawer with it and you literally have lunch at your fingertips. Add a piece of fruit and some veggie sticks – PB makes a great lunch, it’s packed with protein and good carbs. And think of how many meals you can get from one jar. It costs pennies per serving.
Just say no - to 100 calorie snack packs, that is. – They look tempting, I know, especially if you're watching your weight. But think of all the waste. Those types of convenience foods use so much more packaging as the same item bought in bulk. So buy bulk and portion servings out for yourself. Store each serving in reusable containers, not plastic single-serve bags. You can take the containers to work with you and store them in your desk within easy reach. When they’re empty, take them home and start over.
It’s always good to think about what you're consuming and why you’re doing it. A little planning on your part will save money and help save the planet, too.