So we're into the swing of the first week of school around here, and not only are we reacquainting ourselves with a regular schedule, we're packing lunches again. And it's not just my kids who are challenged to come up with lunch ideas. After years as a work at home mom, I am doing a graduate degree and have to do field work, which means I am working in an office regularly for the first time in several years. The food choices near my office are limited and so is my budget, which means brown-bagging it most days.
Luckily, the choices for carrying have expanded greatly since the last time I was packing lunch! I love leftovers, of course...the benefit to being the main cook is that I also get first claim on anything particularly delicious. And you can even find insulated lunchboxes now that don't look like something you stole from your kid! I have a sassy orange-and-pink plaid model and several water bottles and insulated cups for coffee and veggie smoothies.
I'm also fascinated with the idea of bento lunches. I am the kind of eater who would rather have little bits of several things than one big serving of something, no matter how delicious. Some of the examples of bento you can find online are beautiful but quite frankly entirely too much effort (I am not cutting clever little shapes out of vegetables for a regular everyday desk lunch!) while some bento lunches (like the ones at the link) sound fun to eat, require a reasonable amount of effort, and would be delicious.
I also love salads for lunch, but they don't always travel well. I'm using this awesome little salad container which keeps the salad, dressing, and fixings separate until you combine them; I found mine (pictured) at Old Navy of all places, but you can find similar things all over.
What are your brown-bagging must-haves?
Image via sistemaplastics.com