Thursday, September 3, 2009

Lunch with Me

So many days I find myself cooking for one. My kids are eating macaroni and cheese (which I am simply the chef of, not the partaker), or jelly sandwiches, or McDonald's. And I am left standing in the kitchen saying, "Now what?" It wouldn't be lying to say that lunch is one of my least favorite meals of the day. It always has been. I don't really even know why. Pictured above is a typical lunchtime menu for me. (Notice the cupcake is front and center.) There was a time long ago that this would not have filled me up and I would have been looking for a bag of chips to fill the hole after lunch. That's how I gained twenty five extra pounds. (I'm just putting that out there. No shame, it's what happens when you love and hate food at the same time.) Now I have embraced the more filling parts of lunch, namely adding nuts and extra veggies to my salad and eating a cupcake a day. Okay, not every day. But most days. I just made that sound like cupcakes are healthier than chips. You make your own choices, dear reader. I just make suggestions.

Usually if I am making a recipe for dinner with hamburger, I will just pull out a handful and pan-fry myself a hamburger with some of it at lunch, since it's defrosted already. I always buy the extra super lean, it's like 96/4 or 93/7. This way I feel like I'm eating protein instead of fat. I always add cheese. This is my rule. You don't get to have bread to put seasonings and stuff on, so just add that cheese and call it good. If you love ketchup, mustard, pickles, whatever, put it on there and eat it with your knife and fork. It's way less embarrassing to do this at home than at a public restaurant, by the way. Then I chop up a salad to go with it. This one is spinach, mushroom, mandarin orange, almond, and poppy seed dressing. Use just a teaspoon of dressing to keep the fat down and feel less guilty about your dessert. Then pull out one of your individually frozen treats and enjoy. This lunch can be varied in many different ways: use chicken or fish instead of hamburger, use romaine lettuce instead of spinach and add avocado and salsa. Whatever your individual tastes are, dress it up. It's protein and a salad with a small dessert. Basically, pretend you are on the Zone diet but you can eat sweets. Leave a comment: what are your favorite lunchtime basics?

Happy eating!


  1. oh YUM! I love your cupcake theory. :-)

    I'm a big fan of salads myself. It's always fun to come up with new combinations. The past few months I've been doing a lot of different beans for protein when I don't have chicken/tuna/steak. I'll also throw leftover veggies from the previous night's dinner. Cooked broccoli and carrots? Sure!

    Still looking for a good, healthy low-cal/fat dressing. I usually just stick with a tsp of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It does the job.

  2. My lunchtime basics? Usually one of two things: a big salad with a minimum of 5 veggies plus fresh herbs, a protein (I mix it up - chicken, steak, tuna, tofu), simply topped with balsamic vinegar. OR - wait for it: a wrap made of the exact same thing! hahaha. I am SUCH a creature of habit!

  3. I've started taking sandwich meat, cucumbers and a hard boiled egg to snack on with Nut-thins. It combines all my favorite parts of sandwitches and salads. I also keep Thai Kitchen Soups in my desk for emergencies. I had trouble with lunches before going GF but now have to put a lot more thought in to what I eat... no more quick trips to the take out!


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