by Experience Life Staff
Most of us eat lunch almost as an afterthought. It’s something we grab on the go, not something we plan with care. And too rarely do we see the midday meal for what it really is — an opportunity to nourish our bodies and refresh our focus. Instead, we relegate it to the must-do pile, perceiving it as a necessary hitch in our schedule, a narrow window of opportunity to sate our distracting hunger.
As a result, we tend to settle for lowest-common-denominator lunch options (think greasy pizza slices, fast-food burgers, oversized pasta dishes and pedestrian salads), rather than thinking about what our bodies really require to make the most of the rest of the day.
Certainly, burgers, pizzas and other classic quickies have the merits of being cheap and easy to find almost anywhere, anytime. But, if you’re committed to upgrading your lunch — even if you’re wiling to start with just one day a week — you can make or find alternatives that won’t bust your budget, that energize your body for hours, and that satisfy your palate, too.
To show you how, we asked three of our favorite nutritionists — Kathie Swift, MS, RD; Ellie Krieger, RD; and Maggie Ward, MS, RD, LDN — to do meal makeovers on three traditional lunches. The real goal, though, is to give you a better sense of what a good lunch is all about, and why you should care.
With some sweet-talking and special-order requests, you can get meals like these made for you at local eateries. Or better yet, you can bring them from home — something all these experts suggest you do as often as you can.
“In general,” says Ward, “try to feed yourself the whole-foods way, with as many home-prepared, minimally processed, seasonal and local foods as possible.”