When I surveyed my group Lutz Nutrition’s Beautiful People, MOST people said they struggle with healthy lunch ideas. I think one of the issues around this is our need to categorize foods a certain way. You don’t need to only eat cereal or oatmeal at breakfast, and you don’t need to only eat sandwiches at lunch. When we get caught in these boxes, it makes it harder to break out of the norm and the habits we’ve molded for ourselves. So have stir-fry for breakfast, have eggs and greens for lunch, have breakfast for dinner! Try something new and see that you don’t have to fit in any box! This teaching is one of my values of not labeling our diets, to allow for evolution and to avoid the guilt that comes with falling off the wagon. Read [My Trade Secret: Why Labeling Your Diet is a Path to Failure]
If you don’t have healthy leftovers to bring for lunch, here’s some great ideas to make, as well as the best choices to make if you are eating out.
Winter Lentil Soup [See the recipe here]
Fresh salad with carrots, almonds, shredded beets, olive oil/lemon dressing
Roasted vegetables with butter/coconut oil [Best Roasted Vegetable Recipe]
Butter lettuce or spinach salad with canned salmon + diced cucumber
Avocado, sprouts & tomato sandwich on whole grain sprouted bread (I like Silver Hills or your local traditional bakery that does bread the right way - rye or sourdough)
Hummus, tomato, cilantro, any leftover meats on whole grain sprouted bread or whole grain wrap
Brown rice with sautéed peppers, mushroom, onion (any leftovers)
Salmon and steamed veggies
pasta salad (a recipe I love, but I omit the cheese)
Quick Greens and Bacon [How to Love Swiss Chard]
Homemade bone stock soup (or buy a cup of bone broth to-go at Brodo in Penticton)
Hard-boiled eggs chopped on a tomato and spinach salad
Couscous + cucumber/tomato salad [Best Salad in the World]
Any leftovers from a stockpot meal that's a favourite and includes lots of veggies!
Whole yogurt (I like Saugeen Country or Jerseyland Organics yogurts’) with nuts and seeds, honey or berries
Homemade dips like guacamole or hummus with brown rice cakes, organic tortilla chips, Lundberg chips or Finn Crisp crackers
Banana or apple and handful of almonds, cashews or pumpkin seeds
Banana and berry smoothie with coconut milk
I am not a chef by any means. So I talked to my favourite Chef in Kelowna, and got some beauty advice. Here’s Chef Scott's PRO Tips to make lunchtime salads more enticing…
“Use a variety of lettuce greens (romaine, spinach, and for extra liver support try beet or dandelion greens) and pack with vegetables. Use different shapes for presentation such as shredded, chopped, julienned or diced or even cute fun ones like heart shapes for those who want to try their hand. Try to include some of the following to change up your regular salad routine:
cherry tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, snow peas, sugar peas, lightly steamed asparagus, mushrooms, carrots, artichoke hearts, boiled and sliced fresh beets, chopped celery, cucumber, cilantro, radishes, avocado, sundried tomatoes or dried cranberries or raisins. For Omega 3s sprinkle your salads with hemp hearts, chopped raw almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans, or pumpkin or sunflower seeds and for added protein add chick peas, salmon, tuna, hard boiled eggs, tofu, cooked chicken or turkey, goat or feta cheese.”
and Chef Scott's pro tips for making lettuce wraps....
“I recommend using napa cabbage (suey choy) leaves for their sturdy sweetness. Best for lettuce wrap tacos and anything with warm fillings like meat or beans. Green leaf lettuce is good too as it can wrap right around filling, wrap tighter, but is prone to tearing. Butter lettuce or Boston Bibb (same thing) are good here too, but again a bit more delicate. Don't waste your time with iceberg or hearty cabbage as they will simply break. Romaine will work in a pinch, but only if leaves a broad, green not crisp, and thick leaves.
As for fillings, the sky is the limit. Try to mix texture and colour. I like some kind of meat like grilled chicken souvlaki or satay, steak strips, or ground turkey. Some sort of thick sauce is good to bind the meat to the wrap, like refried beans, guacamole, or hummus, but not necessary if you are going for a lighter wrap or your lettuce is delicate. Throw in a quick pickle or ferment for some tang, and dip it in something robust like tamari, or other salad dressing or vinaigrette. Don't worry about loading up too many veggies in their too or the wrap will burst. The lettuce is good enough roughage, but if you want to add a veg, make it super thin or grated like grated carrot or beets, sprouts, mango or avocado. Leave all the other veggies, grains, or heavy complications on the side.
One of the easier lettuce wraps is ground meat or beans with minced veg and sauce all mixed in so it's just one scoop into your lettuce wrap, pinch it, and cram it down your gullet. But in a more romantic way. Who am I kidding, lettuce wraps will always be messy, fall aparty, deliciousness, and anything but sexy.”
You can get my free restaurant guide here, my gift to you to help you make the best choices wherever you are. If you frequent fast food places, I released a list here of the ‘best’ choices to make at a drive-through my clients find themselves at a lot. [The “Healthiest” Things to Eat at Tim Hortons]
Your best choices eating out would include sushi restaurants, homemade soup shops or any vegan/vegetarian fare.
Further Resources For You
If it’s not the foods that are the problem, but the actual prep thats’ causing distress, this post may help you [The Fastest Way to Food Prep]
(Psssst…… Struggling to eat the way you know you want to? I help women cleanse the diet mentality and find peace in eating again, get back to basics and nourishment making food simple again through psychology, not counting calories. Let’s chat!)