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Out to Lunch

Brown paper package isolated on a white backgroundWe all know how calorically dangerous eating out can be, and especially when it comes to lunch, eating out regularly can cost you a pretty penny. That’s why I try to eat lunch in as much as I can. But I’ll be honest, unless you’re creative or always have leftovers that you can nosh on for lunch, packing one can get pretty, er, stale. A girl can only eat so many PB&J sandwiches! So that’s why today’s Nosh is all about making brown-bagging it just as tasty and fun as eating out for lunch, but with far fewer costs and calories!

FullbitesBag_BBQ1_HRFullBites

Over the last few months, I’ve been doing the five mini-meals-a-day thing. At first it felt like I was eating all the time and more than usual, and I was. I made the mistake of barely reducing my breakfast and lunch sizes, so I really was eating more! These days, I’m wiser, and have taken what was my usual big lunch and divided it into two mini-meals. It works great; I highly recommend it to keep your metabolism revving and your energy up.For a perfect pre-lunch mini meal, I’ve been eatingthese FullBites, which are made by the same people who make the previously reviewed FullBar. I’ll have a package of the Bold Cheddar flavor (my fave of all the kinds offered) with a big apple, and it’ll tide me over for a couple hours.

Technically, the high-fiber, high-protein (5 grams, 8 grams, respectively) FullBites are supposed to be eaten 30 minutes before a meal to reduce how much you eat at the next meal, but at 160 calories a bag, it adds up quickly when you’re eating six mini-meals a day. The snacks also come in Savory BBQ and Sour Cream & Onion, and they retail for $16.99 for a six-pack carton. It’s pricey, but if it’s that or the vending machine or if you have an unhealthy relationship with Cheetos, I say spend the extra buck.

DrM_Black_Bean

McDougall’s Right Foods Ready-to-Serve Chunky Soups

I love soup, especially this time of year. And soup is the perfect thing to take to work for that healthy lunch in. Think about it: It’s easy to transport, you can get tons of veggies in it, it’s warm, and there are TONS of varieties to choose from. In the past, I’ve been a reduced-sodium Progresso or Campbell’s girl, but it was well time that I branched out from the norm and gave Dr. McDougall’s a try. I tasted every darn variety of the company’s Ready-to-Serve Chunky Soups and was quite pleased. They’re natural, gluten-free, vegetarian friendly, not too salty, full of good-for-you veggies and/or beans, and they’re all pretty low cal (most are about 100-150 calories per serving). My husband wished they had more “stuff” and less broth, but I loved ’em! And was kind of happy that he wasn’t a huge fan because it meant more soup lunches for me!

Oh, and you don’t need a can opener to get to the goodness! The soup comes in a big recyclable carton. You can easily get two big bowls of soup from one container (although I’ve been known to eat darn the whole box for lunch!). These puppies aren’t cheap at $3.29 a piece, but that’s still way cheaper than a lunch out, even at McDoodles.

aladdin bowlAladdin Artist Series

So now that you have some new ideas of what to pack for lunch, you may wonder how the heck you get them from your fridge to the work fridge without spillage? Letme introduce you to a company called Aladdin. Its Artist Series features bowls and mugs that are designedwith locking lids for transportability.

The series features six different designs by hip, emerging artists, so you can be both functional and stylish. The lunch wear is also 100 percent recycled and stinkin’ cute. I’m particularly fond of this little birdie one. It’s like having spring every day, even in November!

And if you have to eat out for lunch, check out our fast-food salad guide and other tips for dining away from home (or your desk). —Jenn

Disclosure: All products were provided by their respective manufacturer, but in no way is this post or our review of products sponsored, influenced or paid for by any company. We tell it like it is!

FTC disclosure: We often receive products from companies to review. All thoughts and opinions are always entirely our own. Unless otherwise stated, we have received no compensation for our review and the content is purely editorial. Affiliate links may be included. If you purchase something through one of those links we may receive a small commission. Thanks for your support!

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4 Comments
  1. Great post Jenn. This is something that was always hard for me when I started on my weight loss journey, but now I eat five times a day (with a little snack after dinner which I don’t count.) I have my breakfast, a mid-morning snack, lunch, a mid-afternoon snack and dinner. It helps SO MUCH!! I usually make my snacks fruit, which also helps get my servings in, but I think it is important.

    I will have to give the above options a whirl. Thanks for the tip!!!

    – Adam @ http://www.turnupmyworkout.com

  2. Wow, that bowl is adorable! I pack a lunch every day, so it’d be perfect for me. As for healthy smallish meals, I like having some Greek yogurt with honey, almonds, and flax as a snack. An apple and peanut butter or cheddar cheese is filling enough, too. Both work equally as well to stop me from silencing my hunger with a Snickers!

  3. Vicki says:

    Planning/packing lunches is an effort, everything to do with weight maintenance/loss is, but it a worthy effort in terms of the control you gain and bucks you save.

    Bring a bowl for the office and stick a can opener into your desk drawer or credenza, then the cans of soup are no problem. For me lunch had better be good else I hit the candy jar or vending machines…Tip: one can of lentil soup, a handful of baby spinach, and tiny bit of turkey breast makes for very hearty lunch.

  4. Deb says:

    Convenience is a big priority for me, but so is trying to eat well…sometimes hard to have both! I’ve found a ready to drink protein shake that is a meal replacement or snack – high in protein/calcium & very filling. I highly recommend! It was created by an MD in New York. http://www.janaklauermd.com/weightlossproductsdietproteinshakeswithOmega3.aspx