The morning countdown to lunch finally ends, and you and your colleagues head out to lunch for burgers, sandwiches, burritos, falafel, or loaded rice bowls. They’re delicious, and it’s a glorious break from the morning’s work.
But then back at your desk a stupor sets in. The afternoon stretches long ahead of you, and your eyelids threaten to collapse onto your cheeks. Coffee, green tea, or strong willpower may help, but sometimes the best way to avoid afternoon snoozes is to skip the heavy, carb-centric lunches to begin with. For just that reason, I’ve pulled together brown bag favorites that’ll inspire you to keep lunch light and afternoons productive.
**11 Low-Carb Brown Bag Lunches**
1. Herby Avocado Hummus. Scoop this nutrient- and protein-packed dip onto carrots, crackers, cucumbers, celery, or whichever crunchy dipper is your fave.
2. Arugula & Radicchio Salad with Pomegranate, Pecans, and Pecorino. Cheese and pecans add protein to my favorite mix of lettuces–arugula plus radicchio. Pretty pomegranate makes the salad exciting. Pack the dressing separately.
3. Creamy Habanero and Tomato Soup. A splash of cream cools down a classic tomato soup punched up with spicy habaneros and smoky chipotle in adobo.
4. Baked Tofu with White Wine, Mustard, and Dill. This tofu gets its flavor from a mustard-y mix of olive oil, lemon, and dill. Pack a few slices of tofu on top of fresh greens or beside cut-up carrots and celery sticks.
5. Miso-Roasted Asparagus. As spring finally gets here, make lunch out of its offerings. Roasting spears of asparagus with a miso marinade turns them rich and filling. Slice a hardboiled egg on top to make lunch complete.
6. Devilish Eggs with Lime and Sriracha. These unexpectedly spicy deviled eggs would also make a meal out of that miso-roasted asparagus. Otherwise, pack a few and snack on them, picnic-style, at your desk.
7. Chicken, Avocado, and Hearts of Palm Chop Chop Salad. A lettuce-free salad rich with avocado, tangy dressing, and hearts of palm, this cool, filling chopped affair will be the envy of nearby coworkers.
8. Cacik. A delicacy eaten during hot summers in Turkey, this yogurt and vegetable dish is half salad, half soup. Add garlic to your taste, or depending on how many colleagues you’ll exhale on this afternoon.
9. Grilled Ratatouille. Summer’s vegetables come together in a cooked salad topped with fresh herbs. But even before summer, you can often find decent zucchini and eggplant at the store. For more protein, chop up your favorite cheese and add it to your lunchbox.
10. Small Kitchen Cobb Salad with Carrot-Tarragon Vinaigrette. Cobb salads contain all the good stuff–sometimes so much they might seem to undermine eating a salad at all. But really, what better vessel than greens to convey bacon, chicken, avocado, and egg to your mouth?
11. Romaine and Radicchio Salad with Shaved Fennel and Canlis Dressing. Plenty of Parmesan give this salad not just umami but also heft. It’s a perfect vessel for whatever extra protein you prefer–poached chicken, canned tuna, or, if you’re lucky, leftover steak.