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Upgrade Your Lunch

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Upgrade Your Lunch

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.”

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Read more: All recipes, Eating for Health, Entrees, Food, Soups & Salads, , , , ,

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4:35AM PDT on Sep 4, 2011

Its a great article, we all need ideas to jazz up lunches so we can eat a bigger range of foods and keep things enticing

6:57PM PDT on Jul 26, 2011

Don't need to!

7:34AM PDT on Jul 17, 2011

This is definitely an upgrade! They all look so yummy.

10:19AM PDT on Jul 11, 2011


6:39PM PDT on Jul 10, 2011

Fun ideas. Thanks.

5:54AM PDT on Jul 10, 2011


5:13AM PDT on Jul 10, 2011

Eating out makes this more challenging.

3:33PM PDT on Jul 9, 2011

Great tips. The correct nutrition is essential for a healthy life.

11:34AM PDT on Jul 9, 2011

For those of us who are living gluten free, there are spelt wraps, too! I also make my own spring rolls with the tapioca "paper" from my Asian store. Filled with fresh veggies and dipped in the sauce I make (1/2 and 1/2 garlic/chili with the spring roll sauce and a dash of soy) is a wonderful treat. Since it's so easy and fast to make, I do this OFTEN!!

8:32AM PDT on Jul 9, 2011

I pack my lunch for work every day. Wraps are a favorite as they are quick and easy to prepare. I start with an organic sprouted wheat tortilla (Alvarado Street fajita wraps are a favorite), spread on homemade or store-bought hummus, sliced kalamata olives and whatever veggies I have on-hand (shredded carrots, cucumbers, red and green cabbage, lettuce, tomato and avocado). Tofu wraps are also tasty. Spread the tortilla with Vegenaise and Dijon mustard, add baked flavored tofu cut in strips, then top with fresh veggies and wrap up. It's a delicious lunch that I never tire of!

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