There are many reasons why bringing your lunch to work is a good idea. The first is financial: lunch in NYC is expensive. Even a salad at Just Salad or Chop't can cost $10 if you like toppings. The second reason to bring your lunch is, it's better for you. If you are in control of the food you eat, and what goes into the preparation of that food, you're more likely to pay attention to calories and healthy ingredients.
But March 10 is also National Pack Your Lunch Day, a somewhat arbitrary "holiday," we admit, but one that is certainly worthy of adherence, in our opinion!
Here are some easy ways to bring your lunch to work with you, on March 10 or any other day of the year.
Whatever you make for dinner, just plan to make enough for a second serving the following day. When making a big one-pot meal, like chili, baked ziti or any kind of casserole, this is very easy.
Get the recipe for Turkey Chipotle Chili(Credit: Georgia Kral)
Make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich
A sandwich made at home and wrapped in wax-paper, plastic or tin-foil is as classic as you can get. And while a fancy sandwich with pulled pork, leftover roasted chicken or even deli meats may be ultimately more appealing, nothing is easier than a PB&J. Our two cents: use jam or preserves instead of jelly, or at least a jelly without added sugar and all-natural peanut butter without all the preservatives or additives added to common peanut butter. For added food value, choose almond butter.(Credit: Flickr/ Matias-Garabedian)
Whip up some grains and veggies
This is a fairly simple lunch idea that you can riff off of with whatever you have in your pantry. We like making a grain, whether it's couscous, rice, farro or even pasta and then roasting or sauteeing a whole bunch of vegetables. Just mix the two together and add a little Parmesan or feta cheese, and you've got a delicious, hearty and healthy lunch that will last for days in the fridge. And if one night that week you make chicken, pork chops, steak or anything, really, make a little extra and add it to your grains and vegetables for the next day's lunch.(Credit: Flickr/ Luca Nebuloni)
Cook a variety of dishes on Sunday
Cooking a big batch of something yummy on a Sunday can provide meals for the whole week. While this does take some time, you don't have to worry about meals until the following weekend. The key is making a variety of different dishes. Baked or slow-cooked beans with spices and garlic, roasted vegetables with rosemary and red pepper puree will complement any simple cut of meat, and also makes a flavorful lunch all on its own. All of these dishes act as bases in a meal, ready to be built off of. If you have hummus, add a dollop. Hot sauce transforms beans from basic to anything but. Do you have tortillas laying around? Bring those to work too and make simple tacos. Use your imagination!
Mark Bittman of the New York Times has many more easy-to-follow tips on how to prepare lunch foods for the week.(Credit: Georgia Kral)