Lunch by definition is a small meal originally eaten at any time of the day or night, but during the 20th century, it gradually became a small meal eaten at midday.
Our body needs a supply of energy at least every 3 to 5 hours; this energy is provided by the foods, particularly those with carbohydrates. Lack of energy brings concentration difficulties and weakness for physical activity. Often the person who skips lunch overeats at dinnertime.
As a Registered Dietitian
, I always recommend a nutrient-rich lunch to fuel our brain and body for better performance in any task.
A complete meal includes foods providing all the nutrients we need: protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins and minerals. Other meal components needed are water and fiber. Although water is not considered a nutrient, it's essential for life and I recommend including it as part of a healthy meal. The fiber provided by whole plant foods is also an essential component of a healthy diet.
Lunch should include protein, grain/starch, fruit, non-starchy vegetable and a good source of calcium & vitamin D.
Food examples are:
- Proteins: lean meats, fish, nuts, low fat dairy/cheese, eggs, egg whites, beans or any legumes and tofu.
- Grains: whole grain bread, crackers, pasta, rice, beans, bulgur, couscous, breakfast cereals and starchy vegetables like: potato, sweet potato, yam, taro, tanier, plantain and squash.
- Fruits: Oranges, apples, grapefruits, berries, bananas, pomegranates, peaches, and others.
- Vegetable (non-starchy): kale and any green leaves, broccoli, tomato, onion, brussel sprouts, cucumber, carrots, cabbage, and others.
- Good sources of calcium: dairy products such as skim/low fat milk, low fat yogurt, low fat cheese; other available options are: almond milk, soymilk, and calcium fortified juice. * Dairy is an excellent source of vitamin D.
The recommendations for water intake range from 64 to 96 ounces daily.
Easy lunch menu:
- Nut butter with apple slices, celery sticks, whole wheat crackers and vanilla low-fat yogurt
- Black beans, low-fat shredded cheese, whole-wheat tortilla, served with salsa for dipping and sliced bell peppers for crunch
Rossie Bonefont, MPH, RD, LDN
Rossie Bonefont, is a Registered Dietitian and Licensed
Dietitian and Nutritionist. She has spent over twenty years in the
health field on nutrition assessment and counseling, wellness promotion
and public health.