MyPlate2Yours

Lynn Dugan

Registered Dietitian / Chef
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  • Lynn Dugan

Brown Bag Lunches

Updated: Aug 20, 2019



There are many things I enjoy about back-to-school, the most being that routine is finally restored in our family. What I don’t typically enjoy, however, is making lunches for school. Here are some tips to make brown bag lunches easier, tastier, and more nutritious:

  • Plan ahead. With planning, you won’t be burdened by the decision of what to make for lunch during an already hectic morning.

  • Stock staples. Another benefit of planning ahead will be that lunch ingredients are available when you need them.

  • Vary the ingredients. Whole grains can be enjoyed as crackers, pitas, rice, tortillas, and flatbread. Color and nutrition can be added with different fruits (peaches, cherries, apples, pears, clementines) and veggies (mini carrots, cucumber slices, sugar snap peas, bell pepper slices, cherry tomatoes).

  • Boost the flavor. Try pesto, avocado or a light ranch dressing instead of mayo on a sandwich or wrap. Use sharp cheeses like cheddar, swiss, feta, and asiago to enhance a typical sandwich with taste and nutrition.

  • Follow the basic USDA Myplate meal. Include a lean protein, whole grain, fruit, vegetable and dairy serving.

Here is a week’s worth of nutritious brown bag lunches:

#1 Hummus on a whole grain pita with shredded carrots (try this one! ); Trail mix of popcorn, dried cranberries and almonds

#2 Turkey and Provolone cheese on whole grain bread lightly spread with pesto; pretzels and orange slices

#3 Refried beans (fat-free) & shredded Colby Jack cheese melted on whole wheat tortilla (try this!) with side of salsa, baked chips, apple

#4 Honey whole wheat bagel with nut butter (almond, peanut, soy) & honey, grapes, 4oz yogurt cup

#5 Hardboiled egg with whole grain crackers (Triscuits, Wheat Thins), sugar snap peas with light ranch dressing, low fat mozzarella cheese stick


Let’s approach our brown bag eating with the wisdom of Amos Bronson Alcott, American philosopher and reformer (1799-1888): “The less routine, the more life”.

This rings true for eating because a greater variety in our diet affords us the opportunity to glean nutritional benefits from more foods. Thanks, Amos!


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