Finishing up the Brown Bag Challenge

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 on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #brownbag.

I made it to the end of the brown bag challenge, and I’m glad I was able to participate.  Lunch at our house is sometimes an afterthought, and we end up saying to ourselves around 1, “Oh yeah, I guess we should eat some lunch”.  The challenge made me put some extra thought in to lunchtime, which I think is a good thing.  Just as before the challenge, I will probably continue to eat a homemade lunch most of the time, even after I (hopefully sometime soon) get a job.  But I was able to come up with some new ideas and tricks, so that lunch doesn’t always end up being the forgotten meal of the day.

We got our second CSA box last Friday, and that largely influenced what we had for lunch this week.  I love getting the CSA box because it also serves as an inspiration to try new foods and recipes.  We got several yams in this box, so I made us sweet potato fries to go with lunch – these were a great hit.  We also got salad greens and lots of lovely fruit, which went into salads several days.  So here’s the break down.


1/2 a tofu-pesto sandwich, sweet potato fries, and one of my favorite salads, with sliced pear from our CSA box, dried cranberries, walnuts, goat cheese, and raspberry vinaigrette.  Turns out homemade sweet potato fries are easy, fast, and delicious.  Just peel and slice, then pan fry for about 10 minutes with a little oil.  When they were soft and browned on both sides I put them on a paper towel lined plate and sprinkled them with some salt and a little brown sugar.  Definitely worth a try.


Left over lentil and barley soup, plus some more salad as an early afternoon snack.  I got these little glass canning jars to make strawberry jam a few years ago, but they are also awesome for brown bag lunches.  They are just the right size for salad dressing or hummus.  Sometimes I’ll also fill them with a little seasoned olive oil to dip bread in, or a mixture of peanut butter and nutella to dip apple slices in.  They’re small, so it makes portion control super easy.

We got a few sweet bell peppers in our CSA box, so I stuffed them with couscous and chopped veggies for dinner on Tuesday, and the leftovers were lunch on Wednesday.

I tried to make us pizza on Wednesday night, but my dough didn’t rise!  So we went out for Thai food.  So I got to eat left over pineapple curry with steamed tofu for lunch on Thursday, yum!


My pizza dough had still refused to rise, even after a few extra hours on the counter and overnight in the fridge, so Thursday night I rolled it out and turned it in to calzones.  Definitely a good compromise between me and the unmotivated pizza dough.  The dough made 4 calzones, so we ate the last two for lunch on Friday, with the last of the sweet potatoes and some pizza sauce for dipping.

Although the official challenge is over, I think I will try to keep up a weekly lunch post, because it helps motivate me to keep lunches interesting.  Exciting lunch suggestions are welcome in the comments!

Posts from last week

Chez Us: Lentil Salad

Essentials of Nutrition: Brown-Bag Challenge, Break Room Not Required

The Undercover Cook: Buffalo Chicken-Stuffed Baked Potatoes

This Imperfect Plot: Week 4 (and a BBC side effect: weight loss)

Confessions of a Curious Cuisiniere: What Does Your Sandwich Say About You?

I Brown Bag: Brown-Bag Challenge, Day-by-Day

The FN Dish: Using Leftovers to Create a Brown-Bag Lunch

Carmen Fitness: Brown-Bag Challenge, Going Strong

Family Fresh Cooking: Top Ten Best Lunch-Packing Tips

Canadian Mother Musings: Caught NOT Brown-Bagging It

BoysNBerry: Sandwiches . . . and a Not-so-Great Frozen Burrito

Healthy Plates: Vegetable Beef Soup

Healthy Kitschy Vegan: Peace

Ali Girl Cooks: Brown-Bag Shake-Up

All Things Splendid: Ch-Ch-Ch-Chili

City Life Eats: Day 16 and a Recap of This Week’s Lunches

Grecian Kitchen: Brown-Bag Challenge

Cooking Channel: Monkeying Around Lunch Box

Reve Noir: Brown-Bag Challenge Day 9, Repeat Again

The Garden Ephemerist: Brown Bagged

Adventures in Every Day: Brown-Bag Recap

Eating Omily: My Lunch Story

Nutritious Daily: Easy, Peasy Pasta

Chick Bike: Brown-Bag Challenge Days 15 & 16

Glory Foods: Hot or Cold Lunch, That is the Question

Saving Kathy: My Brown-Bag Challenge, Harder Than I Thought

Brown Girl, Brown Bag: Day 10, Nuptials and Curry Chicken


2 thoughts on “Finishing up the Brown Bag Challenge

  1. Pingback: The Brown-Bag Challenge is Over, Are You Still Packing Your Lunch? | Healthy Eats – Food Network Healthy Living Blog

  2. Pingback: The Brown-Bag Challenge is Over, Are You Still Packing Your Lunch? | 2Well

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