How To Turn A Bag Lunch Into A BRAG Lunch

How To Turn A Bag Lunch Into A  B R A G  Lunch

5 Recipes To Meal Plan Your Week


Bethany Rae, September 12, 2019


Labor Day has come and gone and lunches have already lost their luster. We get it. And we’re here to help. Whether it’s what to put in your kiddo’s backpack or how to perfect the workplace lunch, we’ve got you covered.

Remember those sad, brown paper bags of yesteryear? If you haven’t already, now is the time to retire them to your craft closet (click here for project ideas). Epicurious wants you to know about the Zojirushi Ms Bento ($37), citing features like microwave durability and its nonstick interior (helpful when it comes to cleaning). If you’re looking for the best container for bringing a hot lunch, the Ms Bento is for you. Getting into grain bowls? Epicurious says the W&P Ceramic Porter Bowl ($40) is perfect. This sturdy, stylish bowl is ideal for salads or rice and veggies. In addition, W&P has partnered with Edible Schoolyard NYC and a portion of proceeds from the Porter Bowl are donated to ESYNYC (read the company’s mission statement here). Black+Blum’s stainless steel lunchbox ($35) makes the list as the most versatile, moving freely between the freezer and the oven; Plus a tight lid, with vacuum valve, ensures the container remains leak-proof. If you need to be mindful of your pocketbook, Rubbermaid offers their Brilliance line, a series of reliable containers with plenty of add-ons to make them feel like they were customized for your needs. Good Housekeeping is excited about YUMBOX’s Bento Lunch Box which helps encourage variety and comes in fun colors. When tested, GH reported PackIt’s Freezable Lunch Bag ($20) was the only bag that stayed below 40 degrees (a safety benchmark) for over 5 ½ hours. You’ll love the cost and peace of mind and kids will dig the array of designs. Looking to dive deep? Visit Stasher’s website—a company devoted to making microwave and dishwasher safe, reusable storage bags and baggies.

So you’ve got the gear, now it’s time to fill those clever containers with good food. Red Tricycle features 32 Lunch Ideas They Will Actually Eat, a fun-filled kid-friendly list including tortilla pizzas, ham and cheddar pinwheels, and corndog muffins. Or pop over to Kristine’s Kitchen for 10 Healthy School Lunches for Kids, which offers playful recipes and even takes common allergies into consideration. Think Inside the Box—an article from Parents Magazine—is all about nutritious bento ideas; And you’ll love these colorful bento meals,  from Happiness is Homemade, that turn flavorful food into charming works of art.


We know adults have to eat too, so here are some of our favorite meal prep recipes, courtesy of one of our in-house chefs, Shocara:


Steel Cut Oats

On-the-go oat cups can easily be prepared ahead of time. Once chilled, customize by thinning with your choice of milk (almond and oat work great here) and top with sautéed fruit (try pears or apples). Add cinnamon, honey, and nuts for a delicious breakfast or afternoon snack. {Easy to make vegan}

  • 2 cups steel cut oats
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups milk
  • Pinch of salt

Prepare oats by boiling (stirring frequently). Extra Credit: Use your rice cooker for maximum ease!

Avocado Chicken Salad

It’s the last of the warm weather days here in Chicagoland; Enjoy them by treating yourself to a light chicken salad served with crispy tortilla chips.

  • 1 grilled chicken breast, diced
  • 1/2 avocado, diced
  • 1/3 cup roasted corn
  • 2 oz sliced green onion
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • 1 tbs chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 ground cumin

Combine all ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips. Extra Credit: Use leftover chicken from last night’s supper!

Roasted Tomato Soup

Chilly autumn days call for a cup of soup. Pair with a hard cheese and crackers for the perfect lunch.

  • 1 pound ripe beefsteak tomatoes
  • 1 cup yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3-5 leaves fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • Olive oil as needed

Toss tomatoes, onion, and garlic in a light drizzle of olive oil and roast in a 400 degree oven until they appear tender and slightly charred around the edges. Use immersion blender, standard blender (careful!), or food processer to blend with broth until you’ve reached the desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with freshly torn basil. Extra Credit: Use up those end-of-season tomatoes from your garden!

Tuna Salad with Lemon and Dill

  • 2 5oz cans of tuna, drained
  • 1 tbs fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, minced
  • Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 3 oz mayo or Greek yogurt

Stir all ingredients together and season with salt and pepper. Extra Credit: Serve in that new bento box, alongside crackers, carrot sticks, and a hard-boiled egg!

“Everything” Seasoned Avocado Toast

All aboard the everything seasoning train! Currently all the rage, this popular seasoning is absolutely delicious here. Eat this toast for breakfast or as a midday boring-sandwich replacement. Also makes the perfect partner to a grilled salmon filet.

  • 1 slice toast or lavash of your choice
  • 1/3 of an avocado, mashed
  • 2 slices tomato
  • 1/2 cup arugula
  • 1 lemon wedge
  • Everything seasoning

Gently spread mashed avocado over toast and top with tomato slices and arugula. Season with freshly squeezed lemon and seasoning (to taste).  Extra Credit: make your own Everything Bagel Seasoning!


Feeding the whole office? Northern Fork has endless catering options including individually boxed lunches. Peruse our lunch menu here.

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