05 March 2010

What do you eat for lunch?

As I've mentioned previously, I'm back to healthy eating. Around these parts, "healthy eating" does not mean that any particular food is forbidden per se, but that I try to be moderate and balanced, and to eat the number of calories I can to lose two pounds a week. The funny thing is that I actually really like to eat healthy food--I just eat about four times the amount that a human should. This girl's got an appetite!

Healthy eating is hardest for me at lunchtime (and on vacation, but I have just had to decide that vacation doesn't count). I have neither a refrigerator nor a microwave in my classroom, so I'm limited in what I can prepare at school. Plus, my school has a Papa John's pizza line, the bane of my existence (especially for someone who was a Ninja Turtle in a past life). That damned line tortures me. WHY MUST THE GREASY PIZZA TASTE SO GOOD??? (About 500 calories in one slice--and not even 500 calories of good for me stuff.)

So I try to resist. Sometimes I fail. I've failed twice this week.

Also, my planning period is from 11:30-1:30, which means that, if I want to, I can easily hop in my car and head to Wendy's, and then hog down some fast food. A delicious Spicy Chicken Sandwich (About 400 calories for the sandwich, or 900 calories if I opt for the combo meal)or two delicious Spicy Chicken Go Wraps (640 calories for two). I wish I didn't love them so.

Obviously these two choices are shitty because of the high calories and the high sodium and the fact that I just threw down $7 for a sandwich and some crappy fries. (I could make a whole pot of carbonara for $7!)

So I need to eat better when I'm at school. An ideal lunch needs to be: tasty, low sodium, high protein, high fiber, under 500 calories, and something I won't tire of too quickly. (And even if I had a freezer/refrigerator I wouldn't go near Lean Cuisine-type meals. Every time I've eaten one of those I've been disappointed, and remained hungry.) Here's what I've got.

1. Banana and granola bars. Yeah, it's good for me and all, but it's. . .LAME! I hate the days where this is what I eat, and when I come home from school I usually find myself diving face first into a box of cheddar jack Cheez-Its.

2. Peanut butter and jelly. Not too bad, pretty filling. But super high in sodium, and a lot of calories for a silly sandwich. Hell, for that many calories and that much sodium I might as well be eating a Spicy Chicken Sandwich.

3. Spinach Salad. Spinach, dried cranberries, almonds, sometimes feta. Pretty good, not too much time for preparation. I like it when I'm eating it, but I hate the thought of eating it. Plus, if I put in the feta the salad is like 520 calories, and it just doesn't seem worth that.

Here are my two newest ideas:
4. Cheese and crackers. High in calories, but f'ing delicious. Plus, if I'm taking it to school I will have already portioned it, so I won't inhale an entire block of cheddar in a matter of minutes. But this isn't the healthiest of meals, and I'll probably be starving when I get home.

4. Hummus and veggies. Since I have a great hummus recipe, I can make craploads of it for cheap. Hummus is a little high in calories, but also loaded with good stuff. I had this for lunch today and, even though I only consumed about 300 calories, was surprisingly full. I'm thinking this one could be a winner because it'd be easy to make hummus on Sundays and then portion it out for the week. And if I'm feeling particularly frisky I can even throw in some delicious crackers.

So, what do you eat for lunch? I'm looking for ideas here!


  1. Generally - or has been the recent trend with my new job - I skip lunch. So, as a person who doesn't really eat breakfasts - assuming a soda doesn't count - I really only eat dinner.

    Well, I guess I have small snacks throughout the day (read: chocolate candy meant for office guests), and only eat one full-sized meal.

  2. I usually bring leftovers for lunch and heat them in the microwave, so that probably doesn't help you much. I also usually eat a piece of fruit and some cut up veggies with whatever leftovers I bring for lunch. And I bring some almonds as a snack for later. But full disclosure - I've been hitting the candy we have out at work pretty hard lately. It's been stressful in the office.

    You could make wraps or sandwiches the night before. Or a salad with some cut up chicken and a little parmesan cheese. If you had a nice thermos, maybe homemade soup would stay warm until lunch?

    Also, Real Simple usually has one recipe for a brown bag lunch in that saving money section.

  3. Good tips! Thanks, guys. I get in such a rut with lunch at school. Carly, I'll have to check out that part of Real Simple. Drew, you are a model of self control



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