Saturday, November 21, 2009

Just Bag It

At lunchtime, I've been brown-bagging lunch (in a reusable bag, of course!) for most of my professional career. There's so much environmental waste with takeout food (think food container, plastic utensils wrapped in more plastic, then put in a paper bag often inside a plastic bag). Bring your own reusable silverware, plate, glass and mug to work, and prove Kermit wrong: it is easy being green.

What's equally as wasteful: our hard-earned money. Check out the AARP's Lunch Savings Calculator. If you spend, for instance, $6.50 daily for a lunch and drink, and a bagged lunch is $3, you could save $70 a month. After four years, that's nearly $4,000!

The key to bringing lunch: variety, variety, variety. For cookbooks, I head to the library, but mainly, I take to the web.

VegCooking's Two-Week Sample Vegan Menus is filled with ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
*Just in time for Thanksgving, try a Tofurky Sandwich with lettuce, tomato, and Vegenaise, pretzels, and an apple. Why should you skip turkey? Here's why.
*Why have a meat chili, when you can have a healthier and humane alternative? Try ready-made vegan chili (i.e., Boca frozen chili; Yves and Lightlife refrigerated chili; or Hormel canned chili), tortilla chips, and fresh avocado drizzled with lime juice.
*Creamy pasta salad with artichoke hearts, crusty Italian bread and fresh fruit sound like perfect picnic fare.
*No mercury in this lunch. Try a Veggie "Tuna" Salad, pita bread or crackers, and fresh-cut vegetables. Check out 10 Reasons Not to Eat Tuna.

Thanks VegCooking!

Explore out ChooseVeg's vegan lunch recipes. No vegan show on the Food Network? No problem. Watch videos for eggless egg salad, carrot soup, ratatouille, and much more. Don't forget an occasional treat: chocolate chip cookies, the perfect lunchbox edition.

Soup's on! But not at $5 for a bowl. Make an entire pot for about the same price or less. Visit out About.com's Vegetarian Soups and Vegetarian Chili Recipes.

Wraps=rip-off when you buy them at the deli. I've seen them for as high as $7. I start with a whole wheat wrap, add hummus, organic lettuce, and avocado or roasted red peppers. Ditto for salad. Who wants to pay $8 for some lettuce and toppings?

Feel like a 2nd grader again. Who doesn't love PB&J? There's even a restaurant, Peanut Butter & Co. Sandwich Shop, in New York City devoted to the timely classic. Pack your pb&J of choice (I prefer grape). Serve with carrots, potato chips, and non-dairy milk, like you get at the shop.

Now I wonder what people would say if I showed up to work with this?

2 comments:

Chessbuff said...

Back in elementary school, the Beatles were on my lunchbox, at their positions, singing somethin. That must be wortha lot of money now. I never tire of peanut butter. Even now, my packed lunch is usually peanut butter w/o jelly which makes the sandwich sloppy after a few hours in my bag. It's about $7.50 to eat out plus a dollar tip. Nice racket going on there at the diner.

Vegan Good Life said...

Peanut butter is such a wholesome and inexpensive protein source for vegans and vegetarians. In addition to sandwiches, I love PB on apples and bananas.

I couldn't agree more about the cost.