More and more workers are bagging lunch, the Wall Street Journal tells us. Brown-bagging it, that is. Sales of lunch bags and coolers from rose 39 percent in June over the same period in 2007, the paper reports, and as menu prices increase, restaurant regulars are sticking to their desks.

Need inspiration for some penny-pinching sack lunches to bring to work? Amy Sherman over at Glam Dish has you covered. Her “5 Tips for Budget Friendly Healthy Bag Lunches” offers suggestions adapted from the City Cook, such as packing a “sturdy” salad of cherry tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and little balls of mozzarella (bocconcini). “Assemble the salad in the morning, adding a pinch of salt and drizzle of olive oil, and the salted tomatoes will throw off enough acidic juice to make a perfect dressing.” Or how about that standby, the pita sandwich? Skip the wet ingredients, or pack them separately, and the pita is a balanced and easy winner.

More inspiration can be found in this CHOW column, “Pack and Go,” which includes recipes for a tempting Smoked Chili and a sandwich employing slices from Bourbon-Marinated Flank Steak, a call to leftovers if I’ve ever heard one. A Grinder from last year rustles up still more sack lunch ideas.

Any other brainstorms? Please chime in.

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