You will not only have more control over what you're eating, you may have extra time to take a walk or hit the gym instead of spending your lunch hour standing in line or sitting in a restaurant.
Here are some recipes from the book to try.
Hummus Salad Wrap
This is a very nutritious combination of hummus on a whole-wheat tortilla wrap layered with cheese, tomato and lettuce. It meets 24 per cent of your protein needs for the day.
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cost (per serving) $1; restaurant price $5
50 ml (1/4 cup) hummus (recipe follows)
2 large whole-wheat or flour tortillas (you can also use bread)
1 tomato, thinly sliced
2 thin slices Swiss cheese
2 lettuce leaves, cut up
Spread hummus over entire tortilla. Add tomato, cheese and lettuce. Tightly roll tortilla and skewer it with a toothpick, if desired.
Makes 2 servings.
Nutrition information per serving: 263 calories; 13 g protein; 13 g total fat (6 g saturated fat); 25 mg cholesterol; 24 g carbohydrate; 4 g fibre; 371 mg sodium.
Hummus is easy to prepare and is a nutritious addition to a healthy lunch. If you have the time to make your own hummus, you can see how easy it is and how much you save from buying it already made. You can also eat it with crackers or with cut-up vegetables.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cost (per serving) $0.50; restaurant price $2.50
1 can (425 g/15 oz) chickpeas, drained (reserve liquid)
1 garlic clove, cut up
5 ml (1 tsp) salt
2 ml (1/2 tsp) pepper
15 ml (1 tbsp) olive oil
10 ml (2 tsp) ground cumin
In a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients. Blend on low speed. Add some of the reserved liquid if you want thinner hummus.
Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition information per serving: 125 calories; 5 g protein; 4 g total fat (6 g saturated fat); 0 mg cholesterol; 17 g carbohydrate; 5 g fibre; 900 mg sodium.
Black Bean and Corn Salad
Beans and corn are excellent sources of protein. This dish is easy to prepare and is great as leftovers. It can be used as a main lunch salad or several side salads during the week.
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cost (per serving) $1; restaurant price $6
1 can (398 ml/14 oz) black beans
250 ml (1 cup) frozen corn
1 small red pepper, chopped (optional)
1/2 red onion, chopped
30 ml (2 tbsp) olive oil
3 large lettuce leaves
Salt and pepper, to taste
In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients. Let stand for at least 15 minutes before eating to allow corn to thaw and flavours to combine. Toss salad and serve over lettuce leaves.
Makes 5 servings.
Nutrition information per serving: 149 calories; 5 g protein; 6 g total fat (0.09 g saturated fat); 0 mg cholesterol; 20 g carbohydrate; 5 g fibre; 233 mg sodium.
Source: "What Are You Doing for Lunch? A Friendly Guide to Brown Bagging as a Better Way to Lunch" by Mona Meighan (Book Publishers Network, 2012).