Too many people feel brown bagging lunch represents some sort of defeat, thinking it shows they can’t afford to go out or they lack enough time to step away for a midday break. First of all, that packing your own meal saves time and money are among the reasons you should do it. You can also add health benefits to the list of pros.
The only downside we see is the potential for taste to fall flat. The problem is most bagged lunches come together in less than 10 minutes the night before. If you want your lunch to taste great, you have to plan for it. With these six simple strategies, brown bagging will feel more like a feast.
1. Cook with leftovers in mind
What’s better than a sandwich made with roast beef from the deli department? A sandwich made with roast beef crusted with garlic and herbs you cooked over the weekend. The same goes for chicken, pork, or just about any other protein. You can even use cold stews and braises as fillings for burritos. For more ideas on meals you can morph into something else, check out some ideas from Real Simple.
The key to using leftovers in these delicious ways is to plan for it from the start. If you know you and your family will eat the entire roast chicken in one night, make two, then pick the second bird’s carcass after dinner. This tip is also great for anytime you’re making salsa or another type of cold sauce because you can usually double a the recipes without adding much more prep time.
If that sounds like too much planning, simply try making more meals that taste great without any repurposing. The Kitchn shared some great recipes for meals you’ll happily eat for lunch the next day.