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July 25, 2011

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?


10 Comments leave one →
  1. July 25, 2011 5:58 pm

    I def. get in a lunch “crunch” sometimes too…I make my lunch at night before bed and sometimes I just don’t want to make anything…..a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is my childhood go-to recently. My favorite lunch is leftovers from dinner the night before, mini pizzas on english muffins or pitas grilled in the toaster oven, bean/avocado tacos (i bring all of the separate ingredients), pasta salads or rice bowls

    • July 25, 2011 6:06 pm

      I also make my lunches the night before to save myself time in the morning. And yup, I often fall back on PB&J (and I shouldn’t even say I “fall back” on them—-I love them!)

  2. July 25, 2011 6:33 pm

    I love any grain+veggie+protein combo for lunch – I’ve made salads like quinoa with peppers and cream cheese or brown rice with kidney beans and broccoli – anything I can whip up the night before and toss in some tupperware is game!

  3. sarahsmodernbites permalink
    July 25, 2011 8:31 pm

    Funny how lunch time meals are so pigeon holed huh!? I mean what not have eggs for dinner and sandwiches for breakfast. It’s all about thinking outside the box while staying in balance. Thanks for the reminder 🙂

    • July 25, 2011 8:39 pm

      Breakfast for dinner is the BEST. You’re totally right—the next step in my evolution will be eating savory foods for breakfast. That will really break me out of my shell!

  4. July 26, 2011 10:25 am

    I generally bring in leftovers from the night before and/or something I’ve thrown together for lunch – it’s usually the most random meal of the day for me! I really like beans + salad or chili or a few random things that I eat throughout the afternoon instead of a big lunch at noon. I get too tired otherwise! I think lunch + siesta time should really become Americanized 🙂

    • July 26, 2011 10:38 am

      I’m the same way! A huge lunch makes me feel sleepy, which is a downer in the middle of my teaching day. The kids walk all over me after lunch ; )

  5. July 26, 2011 11:37 am

    i typically have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a salad. i make my lunches before hand and find it easy to refrigerate them so i can just conveniently pull them out when i need them. but days i am off i like experimenting with smoothies and oats and cottage cheese. finding time to experiment with new things is hard. but when i know i have a block of time coming up i try new things. i definitely do not beat myself up though for having the same thing each day. sometimes it is better just to pack a lunch, be prepared, and eat something you know then to have to buy an unhealthy lunch out at work. so for me at this point in my life this works. but maybe when i have more free time on my hands i will try some of these yummy ideas you suggest! thanks for sharing..

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