Breakfast may be the forgotten meal, but lunch is rapidly becoming the empty meal of the day. Too many times we skip breakfast only to be so famished by lunchtime, we end up pigging out on unhealthy, empty calories that do nothing to nourish our brains or our bodies.
Skipping lunch as part of a quick weight-loss scheme or because we are just too busy to take a break always backfires in the long run. When we skip lunch, we end up eating more calories at the end of the day by grabbing high-calorie snacks before dinner just to stave off a low blood sugar attack or a hunger headache. Worst case scenario? We end up overeating the rest of the evening, and it’s not usually on broccoli.
What should you eat at lunch?
The all-important midday meal needs to keep you alert, give you enough fuel to last until dinnertime, and add to your total nutrient quotient for the day. Eat at least one-third of your daily calories at lunch.
Most of us aren’t getting enough of those high-antioxidant, disease-reducing fruits and veggies, and lunch is one of the best times to add them to your day. Throw in some beans, another plant-based superstar, and you win the healthy eating award.
Whether it’s a lunch at home or at the office, homemade lunches really make sense. You can pack healthier choices that are easier on the pocketbook. Have lunch supplies handy and grocery shop with lunches in mind to make lunch-packing decisions less stressful each morning.
Try these delicious recipes, and make your midday meal more memorable.
Recipes from Ultimate foods for Ultimate Health … and don’t forget the chocolate! (Whitecap, 2007).
What the heck is tahini?
tahini is sesame seed paste. You can find it in the ethnic section of your supermarket or at any natural health store. it will last up to 6 months in the fridge, but once you’ve made this recipe, it won’t be kicking around the back of your fridge that long.
Lunch packing tips
- Remember the golden food-safety rule: keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.
- If you can’t store your lunch in the fridge, make sure that you pack a cold source in your thermal lunch bag.
- Pack hot foods in a thermos or in microwaveable dishes for reheating at the office.
- When using a thermos, pour hot water into the thermos while the food is being reheated, pour out the hot water, and then add the reheated food. this way the food will stay hot longer.
- Be environmentally friendly: pack your own cutlery, and use reusable containers and biodegradable wrapping.
Quick and easy lunch ideas
- a large mixed green salad sprinkled with chickpeas and 1 tbsp (15 ml) salad dressing (put salad dressing in a separate container to avoid a soggy salad)
- a whole grain pita or tortilla stuffed with refried beans, baby spinach, your favourite veggies, and hot peppers
- a broccoli stir-fry with edamame and low-sodium soy sauce
- equal amounts of low-fat plain yogourt mixed with Caesar salad dressing, served with crudités (add 1/4 cup [60 ml] nuts as a protein source)
- French vanilla low-fat yogourt with mixed fruit and sprinkled with cinnamon (add 1/4 cup [60 ml] pumpkin seeds as a protein source)
- leftovers from last night’s dinner lunch