Nutrition Experts

Question:
What are some low-cost brown-bag lunches that are quick, healthy and taste great?
Answer:
Brown-bagging is a smart idea! Bringing your lunch instead of buying it is easier on the budget and lets you call the shots on the healthfulness of your midday meal.

Try these tips for assembling low-cost, nutrition-packed lunches you'll look forward to:
  1. Shop the sales. Check the weekly store ad for bargains on lunch items like sliced turkey, lean roast beef, reduced-fat cheese, whole-grain bread, fat-free yogurt cups, and single-serving containers of fat-free milk and 100% juice. Look for coupons for these items, too.

  2. Buy in season. Choose seasonal fruits and veggies as part of your lunch. You'll pay a lower price and get the best flavor, too.

  3. Pack some "planned overs." Last night's dinner can be tomorrow's terrific lunch. Some good options are cold roast chicken or veggie pizza, a lean meatloaf sandwich on whole-grain bread, or a thermos of hot vegetable soup or bean-filled chili.

  4. Bag your own. Lunch-size packages of cheese, chips, crackers, raisins or cookies are convenient, but costly. Instead, buy bigger packages, which usually cost less per ounce. Take a few minutes on Sunday night to put a week's worth of single servings into resealable plastic bags. You'll control portion sizes, too.

  5. Remember an old friend. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich is quick, nutritious and penny-wise. Make it on whole-wheat bread and round it out with an apple and fat-free milk.

  6. Pack a snack, too. Toss an extra fruit, some reduced-fat cheese cubes, a fat-free yogurt cup or a few whole-grain crackers in your bag for an afternoon snack. You'll boost nutrition and avoid the vending machine, which saves you lots of change.
Nutritionist Experts
Our Nutrition Experts are registered dietitians who hold master’s degrees and are members of the American Dietetic Association and several specialty nutrition groups. They combine over 40 years experience in food and nutrition science, communications and counseling, the culinary arts and the development of nutrition education materials. They are quoted frequently in the national media and have written about nutrition for many major magazines, newspapers, and newsletters.