Post #672 That Second Meal

September 22, 2019 at 11:12 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

It’s often been said that to stay fit and healthy you should eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.  It means that most of the calories you take in for the day should come early so you have time to work them off.  Don’t glut yourself at the end of the day.  I’ve always found that if I eat small, frequent meals during the day, I very seldom ever wake up hungry.  Those few times I do wake up hungry, I generally feel behind the calorie curve and work to “catch up” all day.  I’ve written about breakfast a few times on the blog.  Lord knows, I’m constantly writing about the evening meal.  I don’t think I’ve ever written specifically about lunch, and the meals that are associated with it.

There are many associations I have with the meal time of Lunch.  Mostly, it’s sandwiches and chips.  It goes back to childhood and what my mom would feed us at noon, or pack in our lunch bags.  It was usually PBJ, but there was also baloney and mustard and sometimes cheese.  During the colder months, a bowl of soup would accompany the sandwich.  We bought school lunches quite a bit, too, and I always got some form of a sandwich along with chips and a drink.  So, even now, in my sixth decade, I’m a sandwich kind of guy.

Once I started working and career building, lunch was that intrusion in the middle of the day.  The places I worked mostly didn’t have lunch facilities so I was forced to go out to get something.  Fast food became the de facto lunch and burgers and fries the substitute for sandwich and chips.  Then I started bringing leftovers from dinner the previous night, and changed my thinking to include salads.

Now, I work in a hospital.  Don’t worry; I’m in admin not patient care, and the job I do, while important, does not impact lives.  And the hospital has a cafeteria where we can buy breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  They always have pre-made things available, as well as a salad bar, and hot foods, snacks, bars, coffees, etc.  The worst part is we can pay for things either with cash, card, or our employee badge.  If we use our badge, it’s automatically deducted from our paycheck.  Since we don’t see it, it can build up with alarming speed.  When I first started working there, I tried the hot meals a couple of times, then tried the sandwich bar where they will make subs in the same manner as a sub shop.  Now, I just bring my lunch.  It’s easier, cheaper, and I don’t have to think about it.

So guess what I bring a lot of?  If you guessed sandwiches, you’d be right.

Except I often bring leftovers from dinner.  And I bring salads.  And I make things specifically to bring for lunch.

For instance, today I am making a package soup that’s one of my favorites.  It’s from Bear Creek and this particular one is tough to find.  When I see it, I usually grab a few of them.

It’s Creamy Wild Rice, but it uses no cream that I’ve found.  It makes a half gallon of the most flavorful soup ever in only a half hour.  I like it just as it is, but I also doctor it up.  Today, I’m adding some chopped up fresh chicken breast to cook in the soup.  In the past, I’ve added sliced fresh mushrooms (the cafeteria also makes a wild rice and mushroom soup, but I haven’t tried it yet.)  Once it’s cooled, I’ll divide it into containers and freeze them.  This company also makes pasta packages, but I haven’t tried them yet.  There other soups are good, too, but I don’t recommend the single-serving instant packages.  They don’t have the same long-cooked flavor.

Sometimes, when we’re having BLT Grandes for dinner, we’ll make plenty of extra bacon so we can take it to work for lunch.  I’ve discovered that if I want another BLT for lunch I should NOT put the tomatoes in it until I’m ready to eat.  The bread will turn to slime if left with the tomatoes for too long.  Even toasting won’t help.  And since the tomato harvest was so good in this area, the ripe tomatoes were plentiful, and the soggy bread was too.

The salad packages in the grocery store are excellent for side dinner salads, but they are also excellent for lunch salads.  We make them up just before leaving for work, and they’re perfect at lunch time.  We usually add extra veggies, cheese, and some meat or boiled eggs.  Partner/Spouse likes the chop salads, too, and will add plenty of extra stuff to get them to his liking.

One things we’ve been exploring recently are the instant pasta side dishes.  You have to read ingredients carefully and find ones that will work well with your particular dietary needs.  We make them the night before and doctor them up as we like.  Once they’ve cooled, they go into a container and into the fridge.  The next day, he will use a microwave to heat it up, but I just eat it cold directly out of the bowl.  I’m strange like that.  So far, I’ve tried just one that was chicken gravy over pasta with some herbs and some chopped chicken I added.  It was good-ish.

I also like to do things like crackers and cheese.  But I want cheese with flavor, and I want high quality crackers.  And I like to have cherry tomatoes, celery, and grapes with it when possible.

So what are your go to lunch meals?

***********************

This is an aside, but I have to tell you about it.  We went for a drive yesterday with no real plan or destination in mind and ended up in Stowe.  They were having an art festival and it was crowded and parking was impossible so we just went through without stopping.  But we found a year-round “farmer’s market” that we stopped at.  It was really more of an organic grocery store with whatever fresh local vegetables were available.

I found a basket of small tomatoes that were red and ripe so I got them.  You know, me and tomatoes, right?  They were much larger than cherry tomatoes, about the size of a golf ball and a half.  They are perfectly round and the flavor was so good!  I ate one in the car, and two more later in the afternoon.  So they’re going into lunches this week!-

Feel free to share far and wide, and as always,

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