Brown Bag Inspiration

So, my first day of school didn’t quite go as planned.


I wanted to make a smoothie for breakfast, but found my mom sleeping on the couch in the living room, which is right beside the kitchen. I thought it might be in my best interest to not use the blender and wake her up before 6 am. So a toasted English muffin with pb & j, plus some Happy Planet Extreme Green juice had to suffice.


The granola bars that I baked the night before tasted awesome…but they were too moist, and would not have survived transport to school.


Sure, they look like they cut all nice, but looks can be deceiving. Fortunately, I can easily tweak the recipe to fix the moisture problem. Once I do, I will share it with you 🙂


I had wanted to pack interesting, diverse, non sandwich based lunches this semester. But this is what I took today.


Whole wheat kaiser with turkey, ham, zucchini relish, mayo, mustard, spinach, red onion, and havarti; carrots; gala apple; peanut butter. The bag of “Intense Pickle” Doritos was a sample being handed out on campus that my friend grabbed. We each ate a few, decided they were weird, and tossed the rest.


Not that there is anything wrong with sandwiches. I love a good sandwich. But I seem to get stuck in the sandwich rut when I have to pack lunches before the sun is up. It’s easy and convenient. But it sure can get boring. So I’m making it my mission this year to not only bring my lunch to school virtually every day, but to get out of the sandwich rut and find some brown bag inspiration!


This evening I pulled out some cookbooks to browse for ideas.


Then I remember some things I saw in recent magazines. Like this avocado, scrambled egg, and quinoa bowl from Alive Magazine. I would maybe sub in a scrambled tofu for the egg (since I don’t like eggs, and it would be more food safe).


And actually, I saw Desiree tweet about an eerily similar lunch today – spicy carrots, scrambled tofu, and quinoa. Might have to steal that idea as well!


I’ve also been coveting pretty much every recipe in the current issue of Eating Well. I’m thinking some of these hearty, healthy green soups might make for a nice lunch on a cool fall day.


And how fun would these popcorn balls be as a replacement for granola bars?


I even pulled out the fall issue of Eating Well from last year to see if anything caught my eye. Wouldn’t you know – another quinoa recipe!


Sesame-Honey Tempeh Quinoa Bowl…how good does that sound?!


I’m also thinking I should look into salads that will stand up to extended periods of time outside of a fridge – perhaps cabbage slaws or massaged kale salads. Oh, and making rice paper rolls/spring rolls instead of sandwiches or wraps. I just want to keep lunch time interesting, and avoid the whole “my packed lunch is boring and unsatisfying, I’m going to buy something instead”. Gotta stay budget conscious!

I would love to hear some of your ideas on how to keep your brown bag lunch inspired. Share your tips, ideas, and recipe links – let’s make this a great resource for everyone! 


PS – My day wasn’t all bad. I’m actually really excited about all of the classes I’m taking this semester so far, and love my instructors. Here’s hoping those feelings continue on through December 😉

Tags: , , , ,

Categories: Brown Bag, Lunch, School


Stay updated via RSS, Twitter, and Facebook!

6 Comments on “Brown Bag Inspiration”

  1. September 9, 2011 at 8:04 am #

    You could probably take a de constructed salad and just put it all together when you’re ready. Crepes rolled up with fun fillings could be good, too! And don’t forget your Thermos for leftover goodies!! I’m off to check out that quinoa recipe link!

    PS; let me know what you thought of that granola recipe I linked too! 🙂

    • September 12, 2011 at 12:14 am #

      My issue with regular green salads is that I end up having to haul around so many little containers just to put it together when I want to eat it. I have space limitations in my bag, and don’t really like to carry around extra weight either. Like the crepes idea for wraps too!

  2. September 9, 2011 at 9:53 am #

    only Eating Well mag would feature a page dedicated to delicious popcorn balls haha, totally thinking it might be the new trend. boy does that remind me of school bake sales tho when parents would make those big popcorn balls (caramel usually) to sell hehe.

    oh Alive magazine! eek my favourite (not just because its free) 😛

    definitely going to jump all over these bars you made when you post the recipe 🙂 Pumpkin seeds and and granola bars harmonize 🙂

    xoxo ❤

    • September 12, 2011 at 12:12 am #

      I so need to find time to make popcorn balls. They just look so awesome, and I think they would be a great way to mix up take and go snacks.

      And I’m so with you on Alive magazine. So much great info, and it’s free! I always snag the new copy right away at work.

  3. September 10, 2011 at 12:21 pm #

    Ooooh, those popcorn balls look delicious. I’m thinking I need to whip up some kind of granola bar/ball for quick healthy snacks for the week.

  4. September 16, 2011 at 7:56 am #

    my school snacks are always the same: crudite, yogurt, STRING CHEESE, wraps, fruit, protein bars, etc. I think your lunch looks great!! i think as long as your switching up the sammy ingredients, it wont get boring! wraps vs. sammy…………maybe even cold pasta! 🙂

    love those granola bars!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: