I have always liked taking homemade, healthy brown bag lunches to work. I enjoy the flexibility that comes with bringing lunch from home. Eating out every once in a while is okay, but the choices are usually the same, and that means fast food most of the time. A lunch made at home can be much more nutritious, and you can include whatever you want. The possibilities are endless when you think about it.
The main ingredient in my sack lunches from home is usually a sandwich. Anyone over thirty years old who thinks of a brown bag lunch as peanut butter and jelly or bologna with cheese needs to know that there are many more choices. Just for the record I abhor bologna. I didn’t like it much when I was a kid, and I like it even less now.
Brown bag lunch sandwiches have come a long way since I was a kid. We have a lot more choices of what to throw between two slices of bread. Presently, you can have your pick between a vegetarian sandwich or one containing any number of lunchmeats. So, let’s find out what we can look forward to in a modern brown bag lunch sandwich.
First of all, two slices of white bread are not required anymore. Don’t feel pressured to switch if you really like white bread or wheat bread. Tradition is not a bad thing. But, for those who are more adventurous when it comes to eating lunch, here are some suggestions.
Wrap sandwiches have stolen the show. A wrap is basically a flour tortilla. They come in many flavors: tomato, spinach, herb, and wheat. Wraps are sturdy enough that sauces can be added without spillage or sogginess like regular bread. Also, wraps can stand up to a lot of ingredients being added.
You can feel comfortable taking a chicken salad sandwich in a whole wheat wrap. It is nutritious and easy to handle.
On the heels of the wrap sandwich are the pita sandwiches. Pita pockets won over the crowd several years back and have recently made a reappearance. Pita pocket sandwiches offer an alternative to bread. Give that same old turkey sandwich a kick with lettuce, mayonnaise, and tomato stuffed in a pita pocket.
Other bread sources can also be substituted for regular bread: hoagie rolls, artisan bread, ciabatta bread, and rolls. For the carb-conscious using a slice of romaine lettuce in the place of bread provides fewer calories. Adding mayo and other sauces makes up for the lack of flavor in the lettuce.
Sandwiches don’t have to be ordinary anymore. Create a new look to the main course of lunch time by choosing from a variety of bread, meats, and additional items. The possibilities are endless and no two days a week have to be the same when it comes to lunch.
Here are some suggestions for new brown bag sandwiches.
Hoisin-mango chicken sandwich
Take two slices of whole wheat or pumperknickel bread. I like my sandwiches made with whole wheat bread. Whole wheat bread has all the nutrients of the wheat intact. During the processing of white bread, it ends up losing a ton of fiber and other essentials. Even when white bread is enriched, the refining of the flour drains the food of the most nutritious parts of the grain.
Spread some hoisin sauce on the bread, which will give this sandwich a little heat and an Asian twist.
Thinly slice roasted chicken after removing the skin or take some roast chicken lunch meat and place on bread. I prefer to use one of the roasted chickens sold at Costco for added convenience. Chicken is an excellent source of protein and contains generous amounts of Niacin, Vitamin B6, Phosphorous, and Selenium.
Peel and slice a mango, add a few slices of mango. Mangoes may very well be the king of all fruits. They fight cancer, alkalize the body, aid in weight loss, regulate diabetes and help digestion. See more at Health Impact News The Mango adds a sweet, juicy flavor.
Put on some red onion which may reduce blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol
Turkey is a tasty and lean source of protein. You also could substitute roast chicken in this wrap recipe.
Take 1 whole-wheat wrap, add 3 slices deli turkey or roast chicken, about 2 tablespoons hummus, a little goat cheese and a handful of baby spinach. Now you’re ready to go, and you can look forward to eating lunch.
Grilled Cheese With Tomato and Turkey
This healthy version of a grilled cheese sandwich has no butter and adds in turkey for extra protein!
2 slices whole-wheat bread, 3 slices deli turkey, 1 slice provolone cheese. Use 1 small spritz of olive oil spray to grease the pan panini press!
No more cravings for greasy pizza thanks to this burger that’s also filled with protein.
1 whole-wheat bun, 1 veggie burger patty, freshly grated cheddar and mozzarella cheese, 2 tablespoons marinara sauce.
Egg, Tomato, and Avocado Sandwich
This sandwich is a great vegetarian alternative to the traditional bacon, egg, and cheese. And delicious any time of day.
Turkey bacon (I like Oscar Mayer brand) is a leaner than regular bacon but is still full of crispy deliciousness! To get turkey bacon crisp, I cook it in a dry skillet over a low to medium flame
2 slices whole-wheat bread, 3 slices turkey bacon, 2 slices tomato, 1 leaf of lettuce.
I saw the next recipe on Buzzfeed while researching this post and I’ve got to try it out.
Raw Collard Wraps With Turkey Meatballs, Avocado, and Dijon
Ingredients 3 large raw collard green leaves, washed, dried and stems removed, 3 turkey or beef meatballs or any meat you have left over from dinner, 1/4 avocado, thinly sliced, 1 large beefsteak tomato, thinly sliced, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Flatten and place a raw collard green leaf on a cutting board. Top each one with a turkey meatball or whatever meat you’re using. If you’re using meatballs mash each one with a fork until it’s about ¼-inch thick. If you are using a more solid piece of meat cut it into tiny pieces and then top each mashed meatball or chopped meat with equal amounts of avocado, tomato, and mustard. Roll up each leaf and transfer to a plate to serve.
Now that you have a few healthy brown bag lunches to take to work, don’t be afraid to experiment. What you want is flavor and something exciting and nutritious to eat. When you fix lunch at home, that’s exactly what you can get. Have a terrific week. God be with you until we meet again.
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