Brown Bag Makeovers

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Cutting out fast-food lunches can be difficult in the beginning, but after a few weeks you'll be sold. Your wallet may even get fatter while your waistline gets smaller!

In order to "make over" your brown-bag lunch, you are going to need a few things. You will need some plastic containers and zip-lock sandwich bags to get started.

When you are making supper, always keep the next day's lunch in mind. If you double the recipe, then you will have enough to have dinner and four lunches for the week. For instance, if you make spaghetti over the weekend, then make a double recipe. Mix the extra spaghetti noodles with the sauce and freeze in the size of containers that are suitable for your lunch. If you have extra garlic bread, freeze it in individual bags.

Meatloaf makes a great brown-bag leftover, whether in a sandwich or alone. When you grill out, never grill for just one meal. Always put a couple of extra chicken breasts, steaks or chops on the grill to include in your freezer for lunch -- slicing up lean meat on a salad makes a great meal. Always package food in the lunch containers to save yourself time.

Homemade soup or chili makes a nice lunch on a cold day. Take it in a thermos or plan to use the microwave. When making lunches to freeze, remember that potatoes don't freeze well -- you will be disappointed at lunch.

If you continue to double your recipes each night, you will have quite a variety to choose from each day.

At the beginning of the week, make coleslaw and potato salad and package it in your containers for lunches. These will keep for about a week in the refrigerator and make a great side for grilled meats. Egg salad and tuna salad also make nice, quick lunches that are great on bread, crackers or in a salad. Make it ahead of time and put it in the fridge for up to four days.

Try to think of the food pyramid when fixing lunch. Include cheese cubes, yogurt or string cheese. Or prepare some instant pudding and package in individual servings to sneak in a delicious serving of calcium.

Cut up carrots or grab a bag of baby carrots to keep in the refrigerator. Bag them on the weekend so that there is a bag for each day. Package some celery sticks and cucumbers as well for variety. Package salad dressing for dipping in small containers ahead of time.