I challenged my friend Nicole (http://unidentified-female.blogspot.com/), who never makes her own lunch, to make her lunch to take to work for TWO WEEKS straight, starting on Monday, because she ends up buying lunch, and I, on the other hand, couldn’t imagine going to work without lunch. So this post is to show not just her, but everybody, how to put together a typical lunch, on a typical Wednesday. You CAN make your own lunch! But why would you want to? Well…

  • You’ll save money.
  • You can stay in during the winter while other people have to go out and forage for food on the mean streets of DC, Maryland or Virginia.
  • You’ll never have to succumb to the wiles of the vending machine.
  • You’ll never have to mysteriously “pay too much” when a bunch of your co-workers get a group order of Chinese food.
  • You’ll find an immediate use for restaurant leftovers.

You can do it!!

What you’ll need:

Ziplock snack bags and sandwich bags, Gladware or Rubbermaid plastic bowls, empty plastic bottles, bread keepers, and a lunch bag. And your favorite foods.

I use these bread keepers when I make myself a turkey sandwich at lunch. Two slices of bread in one bread keeper, turkey slices and swiss in one ziplock bag and lettuce in the other ziplock bag. Mayo in one of the tiny plastic bowls (shown in front of the ziplock boxes above). That way, when you combine all of your ingredients at lunchtime, it’s all fresh. I got these for $1 each at Target.

Today is a salad day. Here are all the fixins, dressing, cranberries, pecans, croutons, shredded cheese, sunflower seeds, and chicken (not shown). Also, I’m partial to baby spinach, which is healthy and full of iron but I’ve been using the 50/50 spring mix which has more flavor and isn’t as boring.

If you can get fruit into your bag too, it’s a bonus!

It’s always good to keep healthy snacks in the house to put one in your bag. I like the SmartFood popcorn because they’re TASTY (like Cracker Jacks) but are full of fiber and calcium! I also use Doritos, plain Utz chips, or (cream cheese and chive) Wheat Thins.

You can even take breakfast! Use one of your empty water bottles (or any empty bottle with a top that closes securely) and fill it with milk. I get these $1 bowls of cereal from Giant, Shoppers Food Warehouse or Target.

I’ve divided up the salad fixins in their little snack bags, keeping the cheese separate from the sunflower seeds, croutons, glazed pecans, and cranberries. Keep your salad’s meat in a separate bag also. The ziplock snack sized bags are perfect for such small amounts.

Also, contrary to what I previously thought, even when I make my lunch at night, my salad is just as fresh the next day as if I’d just poured it from the bag. I promise.

I also use the tiny plastic bowls for salad dressing or other liquid condiments. (I get these from the travel size/trial size section at the store, used for creams or lotions while traveling!)

Then fill your lunch bag, including water or whatever drink you prefer. It’s easy to see that regular old brown paper bags wouldn’t stand a chance. I don’t know if you notice, but I even snuck a piece of cake inside today!

And you’re ready to go! (I got this bag from Walmart for $8).

What are your lunch ideas?