Friday, August 26, 2011

The Other Most Important Meal of the Day

The other day a friend told me that as she started to sift through the fridge to decide what to eat for lunch, she thought to herself, I wonder what Lauren is having? Probably something good. I suspect it's only a matter of time before everyone I know begins scratching their head and thinking, I wonder what Lauren is having for lunch today? Probably something good. And no matter what day of the week it is you will be right. I am having something good for lunch.

Breakfast gets a lot of clout as being The Most Important Meal of the Day. I know one person, we'll call him Alan for anonymity's sake, who wakes up at four-thirty in the morning every day to cook himself a full breakfast before work. I also know many parents who toss scrambled eggs or toast in front of their children in hopes of securing that all important meal before they run out the door. I am one of those parents. I try to send my chicks off to school with full tummies, but let me tell you what my breakfast looks like. Think cold toast and soggy cereal, if I'm lucky. More often it's a bottle of water as we walk to school. No matter how organized I am in the mornings there are simply too many things that take priority over my ingestion of The Most Important Meal of the Day.

The reality of this lifestyle is that I'm starving by lunch time. I don't want a crusty pb&j sandwich, or congealed leftovers in a tupperware container that is stained the color of spaghetti sauce. I want something good. Now I'm not talking filet mignon good, but I'm also not settling for a power bar and a Diet Coke. Here are my current favorites:
Salads made with baked popcorn chicken (Costco), any kind of fruit, and poppy seed dressing. Or popcorn chicken with black beans, corn, tomato, tortilla chips, and ranch dressing mixed with barbecue sauce.

Royalty-free Stock Photo: Stainless steel panini toaster
photo credit

I'm still panini crazy. Click here to read about my all-time favorite lunch! Other panini favorites include ham, Jarlsberg Swiss, fresh spinach, thinly slice apple, and honey mustard. Or roast beef, cheddar, and barbecue sauce.
photo credit

This week I branched out into the land of bagels. My current favorite is a whole wheat bagel with veggie cream cheese, garden fresh tomato and cucumber. Yum!

Let me dispel a couple of myths for the doubters among you. First, eating a good lunch isn't terribly expensive. For example, this week I tossed wheat bagels and veggie cream cheese into my grocery cart and I've been eating that each day with fresh produce from my garden. If you don't have a garden, I doubt a cucumber and a large tomato will break your budget. Next week I'll probably buy mozzarella and a loaf of rustic french bread and eat paninis. Salad the next week. You get my point. You don' t have to buy fifty things in order to eat well.

The second myth is that I'm wasting my day by preparing an afternoon banquet. The most time consuming of the dishes I listed above is the salad, which requires a whopping five minutes longer to bake the chicken and chop the veggies. The panini and the bagel sandwich take about four minutes to prepare. At our house we make the food, eat, wash up the dishes, and wipe down the counters in about fifteen minutes from start to finish. Not bad.

For some reason making a nice lunch seems to make the day go better. It's not exactly a party in my kitchen, but it's better then peanut butter and jelly, and after a healthy meal I'm less likely to eat Oreos all afternoon!

What do you eat for lunch???
(PS- If you're one of those obnoxious people who wines and dines at amazing restaurants on the company's dime each day, please don't reply). 


  1. Jarom came home for lunch yesterday and we had curry chicken salad on a croissant with grapes on the side. Or, another good standby for us are wraps. My kids love them and I love them because they are so easy to make! A little lunch meat, cheese, avocado (when they aren't 2.50 a piece!), some tomato and it's a delicious lunch!

    I love your bagel idea, sounds like we will be getting into bagels around here too!

  2. I would love love your curry chicken salad recipe!!

  3. Lauren, we used to have some of the best lunches together, such good times, and good memories! I would be ashamed to tell you what I have for lunch now. . . however, letting you know that I work over lunch hours and don't get a lunch break would probably lead you to some sort of conclusion. Gobbling up a quick something while sitting at a computer = not a good lunch!

  4. Eating sandwiches on Julie's homemade bread for lunch feels so far away. Those were the days!

  5. I will take one of the ham, Jarlsberg Swiss, fresh spinach, thinly sliced apple, and honey mustard. Do you deliver? I would pay a delivery fee.


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