When midday hits and the energy from breakfast is long gone, what do the experts eat to keep them going?
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy
This week in our “Eat Like the Experts” series, our doctors and registered dietitians answer another question: What do you eat for lunch?
Grab and go
“My afternoons at work are hectic — no time for hunger pains — so I try to plan ahead,” says Linda Bradley, MD, a gynecologic surgeon and avid foodie. “Soups, stews, hummus, and bean recipes taste better as they ‘age,’ so I like to make them in advance for my weekly lunch, along with brown rice. I pack my lunch for the week in small containers, all ready to grab and go in the morning. Additionally, I add several pieces of fresh fruit and a bag of green tea.”
Fuel for fitness
“I bring multiple foods so that I don’t eat only once at ‘lunchtime,’” says Laura Jeffers, MEd, RD, LD, a registered dietitian and marathon runner. “I have something late morning, mid-day and then early afternoon. I like to be fueled for group fitness classes like spinning or kickboxing. I’ll eat a protein bar (lower in fat, minimal added sugar, higher fiber), raw veggies with hummus, whole grain bread with peanut butter, Greek yogurt, almonds, a serving of leftovers from the night before (chili or whole-wheat pasta) or a hard-boiled egg. I just like the egg whites, and I eat them with lots of pepper.”
No sandwich sluggishness
“I try to eat hot food; it’s a habit from my native country of Guyana, where most individuals go home on their lunch break to eat and then return back to school or work,” says Karen Cooper, DO, who specializes in family medicine and medical weight management. “I like a hearty soup, a rice-and-chicken dish or Indian food from the cafeteria. By avoiding sandwiches, I usually miss the sluggish fallout that comes 30–60 minutes later!”
“Lunch is usually soup with crackers or leftovers from the night before,” says Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD, a registered dietitian and wellness manager. “I make large amounts of really hearty soups over the weekend (black bean, veggies and lentil, etc.) and bring them to lunch during the week. They are so high in fiber that it keeps my energy up for the second half of the day. Sometimes I’ll keep it simple and stick with a cheese sandwich. I usually pair my lunch with berries, too.”
Bonus: Snack Smart
Meals aren’t the only time people eat, so we asked the experts for advice on healthy snacking. Try these tips:
- Small snacks between meals will help prevent a blood-sugar crash. Choose natural options like fruit, nuts or pumpkin seeds.
- While you’re waiting for a meal to cook, keep busy by pre-measuring snack portions for the week. Portioning in advance will keep you from overdoing it.
- When in doubt, go with a little dark chocolate. But remember, like all good things, it’s healthy only in moderation.