Pack a sack to save money and eat healthy

Brown-bag lunches are a healthy alternative to purchasing lunch on a daily basis. Keep your bag lunch safe to eat.

Do you bring lunch or snacks to work to eat at your desk or in the lunch room? Bringing food from home to work can save you money and many times, is healthier than running to the nearest fast-food restaurant or going out for lunch.

Michigan State University Extension suggests, when you pack your lunch/snack, keep food safety in mind. A cold pack and an insulated bag will help to keep your munchies cold and safe to eat. Even if there is a refrigerator at work, it’s still a good idea to throw an ice pack in with your food to keep it safe during transit.

Keep your eating environment clean too. If you will be eating at your desk, wash the surface of your desk often. If you have a lunch room or break area, do your part to keep it clean too. Work refrigerators can be a place that accumulates forgotten food items that get pushed to the back of the fridge. A good rule is to empty out all foods left in the refrigerator at the end of the week, except for condiments such as salad dressing and ketchup. Collaborate with your colleagues to take turns washing the inside on a regular basis and keep it sparkling clean. Keep lunch tables clean too.

Sandwiches are a staple for sack lunches, but leftovers from last night’s dinner can be heated in a microwave and provide an inexpensive, tasty lunch. Keeping salad ingredients cut and ready to go in your home refrigerator can make it very easy to assemble a salad quickly in the morning, or right after eating your evening meal so it’s packed and ready to go in the morning. Cooked, grilled chicken that is cut up and ready to go in the refrigerator makes a great addition to a salad. Or the next time you have extra cooked chicken, cut it up and freeze it in small quantities – just the right size for your lunch salad.

Other lunch and snack ideas are: Yogurt, cut-up fruit and granola, egg salad with crunchy vegetables on the side, or fruit and a whole grain muffin. Roasted soy nuts or a piece of fresh fruit can make a crunchy snack.

Bring some of your tap water in an insulated and clean cup to save on trips to the soda machine. Drinking six to eight cups of water a day will keep you hydrated and contribute zero calories to your day’s intake.

Bringing your lunch and snacks from home can take an extra few minutes to prepare, but the results of an inexpensive, nutritious lunch is well worth the effort.

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