Lunch is my favorite meal of the day. I’m not quite sure why, but whatever it is, I love it.
There was a stretch of time, probably between the ages of 12 and 20, when “lunch” meant a very repetitive meal. Lunch during this time was almost ALWAYS a turkey sandwich on wheat bread with a little mustard (if I was feeling really dangerous, I would combine a little low fat mayo and the mustard. Totally wild, right?)
After awhile, I got sick of deli meat but I was at a loss for new ideas. You know when you’ve been stuck in a rut for so long that you have no idea what to do once you get out of it? Yeah, kind of like that.
Once I realized that lunch didn’t have to be a turkey sandwich (or any kind of sandwich for that matter!), I realized the possibilities were actually endless. I also realized that my ideal lunch, like any of my other meals, would be made up of a few simple components:
- Lean protein (chicken, fish, turkey, beans, lentils, tofu, nut butter, eggs, yogurt, cottage cheese)
- Carbs (wheat bread, wheat tortillas, whole grain cereal or oats, pasta)
- Veggies and/or fruits (endless options: spinach, peppers, carrots, cucumbers, apples, oranges, grapes)
- Healthy fats (cheese, nut butter, hummus, guacamole)
Some of my (now favorite) lunches came out of experimenting with these ingredients and seeing what I came up with. And some of what I came up with was easier (and cheaper! and healthier!) than my old turkey standby. Here are some of my newest standbys:
- Black bean burgers (or, even easier, black beans mixed with salsa and jalapenos) grilled on a tortilla with some cheddar cheese
- Chickpea patty sandwiches
- Prepackaged (or homemade) falafel with hummus on a wheat pita
- Nut butter and banana (or apple) sandwich
- Hugh Jass Salads loaded with greens, veggies, beans or chicken, etc.
- Smoothies (made with Greek yogurt, bananas, berries, spinach, and topped with Kashi cereal)
- Flatbread pizzas (with a variety of toppings: grilled chicken, veggies, cheese, etc)
- Whole wheat pasta salad with protein (chicken, chickpeas, tofu), veggies (spinach, broccoli, tomatoes), and cheese (mozzarella, feta)
Since I’ve realized how many options I have, I rarely reach for a turkey sandwich at lunchtime. Not only has this kept boredom at bay, but I’m pretty sure several of these guys are happy with my decision, too.
Wonk wonk ; )
What are your favorite lunch staples? Anything that I need to try?