With the emphasis on sustainability and being eco-friendly, brown bagged lunches are becoming more and more common. It’s a regular occurrence to see people on their way to work carrying their lunches in designer lunch bags, recycled plastic bags or brown paper bags. While the brown bag phenomenon may be new to some, it’s the lunch du jour of The National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS), the home of the proud-to-be-geek blog TalkNerdy2Me. This week we’re more focused than ever on packing our lunches thanks to the Small Kitchen College Brown Bag Challenge.

On a typical day at NSCS, nearly half of the employees, including summer and postgraduate interns, bring their lunches. If you take a peek inside the fridge, you will find an assortment of lunch-carrying containers; there are some rather snazzy lunchboxes from Built and a Vera Bradley lunch box, Tupperware, and the requisite plastic or Ziploc bags that can be reused and keep the contents of bags and purses leak-free. The lunches inside those containers are nearly as varied as the containers themselves with different varieties of yogurt (though it seems most prefer greek yogurt – yay protein!), fruit, salads, microwaveable meals, and dinner leftovers. However, after taking a poll of the office, it seems as if the lunch of choice is the sandwich.

I know what you’re thinking – a sandwich? How boring, right? Sure, there are standard peanut butter and jelly sammies in the office, but a lot of the sandwiches feature ingredients that make them much more exciting than your average PBJ or turkey on white. Jazzy spreads like tzatziki, hummus, and pimento cheese are staples on some, while others use cheeses like pepper jack, sharp cheddar or feta to give their lunches an added kick. Others embrace the availability of fresh summer vegetables at local farmers markets and bring in colorful creations made with avocado, carrots, lettuces and an array of other veggies in every hue.

So if you’re on a limited budget and want to save money or just want to brown bag like all the other cool kids (and the chic geeks at TalkNerdy2Me), rummage through your fridge, cabinets, and local market to find ingredients to make your very own, not so ho-hum sandwich. Your stomach will thank you.

This post was written for our friends over at Small Kitchen College. This week they are hosting Brown Baggin’ Around the Web and we just had to participate! Be sure to check out their Brown Bag Challenge to get tips, recipes and  a chance to win prizes from BuiltNY!

Janna Draine is a recent graduate of Howard University and, when she isn’t reading, is interning in the national NSCS office (if you’ve ever called with a question, she’s probably answered it!).  In addition to reading, she enjoys watching movies, going to concerts, cookies, running, and talking to anyone who will listen.  If you want to talk books or anything else, you can follow Janna on Twitter @thedrainer.