15 Healthy Brown Bag Lunches

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Brown bagging it to work every day can get challenging when trying to be creative, make healthy choices, and add some spice to the daily work lunch. Here are some healthy lunch choices, some can be made the night before to save time in the morning when you are trying to get the kids and yourself out the door!

  1. Wraps made with whole wheat tortillas, containing either lean cold cuts or lowfat cream cheese topped with veggie slices. Even the classic PB and J (peanut butter and jelly) is healthier in a wheat wrap.
  2. Single portion-sized cups of unsweetened apple sauce or fruit without added sugar.
  3. Trail mix made with cereals, nuts, pretzels, dried fruit or raisins, and a few chocolate morsels.
  4. Low fat cheese spread on whole wheat crackers.
  5. Individual serving-sized packages of low fat yogurt, cottage cheese, or yogurt smoothies.
  6. Baby carrots, celery sticks, or apple slices with dips made from yogurt or low fat sour cream.
  7. Mini-burritos made with rice and black beans or refried beans in a tortilla with tomato salsa. These can be heated or eaten cold.
  1. Baked chips or pretzels are a better choice than high-fat potato chips or cheese snacks.
  2. Drinks made from water with a splash of cranberry, peach, grape, or other fruit juice are healthier than sodas. Excess consumption of pure sugar-laden juices can increase the risk of obesity.
  3. Whole grain bagels topped with cream cheese-vegetable spread.
  4. Air-popped popcorn flavored with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.
  5. Low fat cheese cubes and seedless grapes make a delicious side dish for sandwiches or wraps.
  6. Cold strips of grilled chicken with honey mustard dip.
  7. Dried cranberries or cherries are a sweet alternative to raisins.
  8. Quesadilla slices made with cheese and chicken or vegetables.

For more healthy nutrition tips, visit our Nutrition Center.


According to the USDA, there is no difference between a “portion” and a “serving.” See Answer

Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care


"Healthy diet in adults"


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