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Food Network’s Brown-Bag Challenge – Week 1

Week 1 of the Food Network’s Healthy Eats’ Brown-Bag Challenge, was short — only Thursday and Friday — but, I’m looking forward to this longer week of take-to-work lunches. As I mentioned on the first day of the challenge, being a broke vegetarian journalist, with a gluten sensitivity who leans toward eating vegan, I typically take my lunch with me to work anyway, so when I saw this challenge, I thought it would be perfect.

Having a bag you like to carry your take-to-work lunch in is a must.

One of the most important challenges of bringing my lunch with me to work is keeping it cold. I leave my house at before 7 a.m. and typically don’t get to work till between 8:30 and 9 a.m.

While shopping in T.J. Maxx about a month ago, I found a Fit & Fresh Downtown Insulated Designer Lunch Kit, Cocoa, 9x6x8 Inches. Mine looks slightly different, but it’s large enough to fit breakfast and lunches, as well as snacks in it. It almost looks like a small purse.

Last week I made Artichoke Brown Rice with Olives and Sun Dried Tomatoes that I stretched throughout most of the week. Rice for lunch? Why not a salad or something light? I usually don’t get home from work till after 8 p.m. and by the time I start cooking and such, it’s well after 9 or 9:30 p.m. So instead of eating a heavy dinner at that time, I usually eat something dinner-like in the afternoon and something lighter, or lunch-like at night.

When I have something like the rice, I will either portion into containers at the start of the week and then bring them with me on Monday so they are already in the fridge at work, or I’ll put it all in a large zipper bag and then portion it out each day at work. It really depends how much room I have in the bag and what containers I have available at the moment.

So, here’s what had during the first week:

Thursday, Sept. 1:
Artichoke Brown Rice with Olives and Sun Dried Tomatoes
Dish if fresh veggies sprinkled with sea salt

Friday, Sept. 2: 
Peanut butter and jelly on Udi’s Gluten Free White Sandwich Bread
Cherry tomatoes
Cranberry juice with club soda

My plan was to make a pasta dish Thursday night to bring with me for lunch Friday, but things don’t always work out the way you plan. So, I grabbed two pieces of my gluten-free bread in the morning and made a PB&J sandwich at work. I’m very lucky that where I’m currently working, we have toasters, so I toasted the bread and then spread on the PB and jelly.

This week

I picked a bunch of fresh veggies from the garden Saturday morning, so I made some fresh-from-the-garden dishes for dinners that I could also take with me for lunch this week. Last night I made Eggplant Rollatini, and already put the leftovers in a container that could easily make its way into my lunch bag if no one eats it first.

This afternoon, I’m hoping to try making Ratatouille Risotto, which will also make a great lunch-at-your-desk meal.

Can’t wait to see what everyone else is eating, cooking and making as part of this challenge! I’m also curious about where people eat their lunch. I eat at my desk, because of the nature of my job. Where do you eat your lunch?

Brown Bag ChallengeWe’re teaming up with fellow food bloggers to host a Brown-Bag Challenge, a month-long initiative to eat consciously and save money by packing a lunch each weekday instead of eating out. Join us here and share what you’re eating with FN Healthy Eats on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #brownbag.

One thought on “Food Network’s Brown-Bag Challenge – Week 1

  1. I also eat at my desk usually though I hate it (people always seem to interrupt you, regardless of whether or not you are clearly ON BREAK!). Anyway, this is a great challenge and I loooooove that lunch tote–so cute!

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