Lunch doesn't exactly have a reputation for being the most important meal of the day, or even anyone's favorite meal of the day. Sixty-five percent of Americans either eat lunch at their computer or don't take a break at all, and because of this, we all know (and hate) the sad desk lunch.
In an effort to stop overlooking our midday meals, we've asked nine nutritionists to describe their lunchtime orders and we found some commonalities among them. Most of the lunches are light (perhaps to prevent post-meal sleepiness or "food coma" in the afternoon), some of them can be eaten in one hand, like wraps and pita sandwiches, and all of them are loaded with nutritious vegetables and healthy fats.
People are generally only interested in whether or not their lunch can be eaten on the go or stored well enough to still be edible by noon. But hopefully with the help of these nine nutritionists, we can remember that lunch can be healthy and delicious, too.
from_my_point_of_view via Getty ImagesKatherine Brooking eats salad greens loaded down with canned tuna, chickpeas and black beans. Her dressing: simple olive oil.
"It's a great way to get more greens into my daily diet, plus filling protein from tuna, chickpeas and beans," she wrote. "I always keep canned items in my pantry for this fast and easy lunch."
vanillaechoes via Getty ImagesAlissa Rumsey, owner of Alissa Rumsey Nutrition & Wellness, packs a plain 2 percent Greek yogurt with fresh fruit, nuts and chia seeds for lunch, as well as a snack of raw veggies dipped in hummus.
"I like this no-cook lunch as it's easy for me to eat at home or on the go," she writes. "It is high in protein from the Greek yogurt and you get plenty of healthy fats from the seeds, nuts and hummus. I add a side of veggies and fruit to round out the meal with more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants."
imagenavi via Getty ImagesRebecca Scritchfield eats tuna and avocado bowls with veggies.
"Tuna packed in olive oil has omega 3s and protein, plus creamy avocado flavors any veggies I toss into the mix," she writes.
shutterstockIn addition to salads, soups or leftovers, Christa Mantey also likes to add a green smoothie.
"I listen to my body and give it what it's feeling like," said Mantey. "If I'm cold, a hot veggie heavy soup is appealing, if I'm out to lunch with a friend or client, then salads are typically what I will order and if I'm home or have clients, leftovers or a green smoothie are just the fastest, easiest and healthiest things I can eat."
nata_vkusidey via Getty ImagesJulie Upton almost always eats a big salad of leafy greens and vegetables over some kind of cooked whole grain.
"I try to make one meal all about vegetables, as I’m not a natural veggie-lover," she writes. "I could easily go all day without eating any veggies, so I make sure my lunch always has them."
dis1704 via Getty ImagesFelicia Stoler eats a huge bowl of arugula with burrata. She alternates proteins like salmon, tuna or hardboiled eggs, and adds veggies like shredded carrots.
"I love salad," Stoler said. "It's a great way to get my veggies and added fiber, [along] with a flavored balsamic vinegar with a drop of olive oil or lemon juice for healthy fats and flavor."
Steve Cohen via Getty ImagesMarjorie Cohn eats a chicken, avocado and hummus salad with beans or lentils, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, along with a small piece of pita bread.
"I eat at work, and this is a potable, healthy lunch that I can whip up the night before," she says. "I don't analyze the nutritional value, I just know it's healthy and makes my stomach happy."
Lori Lee Miller via Getty ImagesAngela Ginn-Meadow eats leftovers or a vegetable soup and salad for lunch.
"I enjoy a hot lunch that has at least a half-plate of vegetables," she said. Bur her first choice for lunch is to simply bring leftovers from home, to save money.
Ian O'Leary via Getty ImagesVandana Sheth eats a mixed green salad topped with black beans, tomatoes, cucumber and avocado. For flavor, she adds cilantro and lime vinaigrette and then depending on where she is or how hungry she is, Sheth may wrap up the whole thing in a high-fiber wholegrain tortilla.
"[I] love it because it is colorful, flavorful, and delicious," says Sheth. "It provides a ton of veggies, vitamins and minerals, protein, fiber, and heart-healthy fats."
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