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Part 2 in a 3-part series featuring Holistic Nutrition Byte’s guide to what to eat in 2009.

Now that we’ve gotten a good breakfast down, let’s do lunch. If you have eaten the proper breakfast, you should feel energized and clear-headed and satisfied for several hours, until lunchtime. Signs that you didn’t eat a good breakfast (one that contains some protein, good fats, and complex carbs) = fatigue, a crash, feeling foggy headed, irritability, or getting hungry shortly after you ate.

Instead of the following:
A turkey sandwich with Baked Lays: sounds healthy, right? Sandwich bread is often made with refined grains or white flour that breaks down quickly into sugar and provides little nutrition. Deli turkey slices are highly processed and contain hormones, antibiotics, and preservatives. Baked Lays have little nutritive value and are made with rancid oils that offset your fatty acid ratio and have the potential to cause arterial damage. When potatoes are heated to high temps, as in french fries or potato chips (yes, even the fancy natural/organic ones), the result is very high levels of the toxin acrylamide. Eating food low in nutrients cause you to eat more and crave more food, because your body isn’t getting the nutrients it needs.

An iceberg lettuce salad with tomatoes and cucumbers and ranch dressing: iceberg lettuce is basically a carrier for pesticides, one of the most highly sprayed and absorbent crops. Iceberg has little to no nutritional value. This meal may seem healthy (after all, it’s a salad, right?) but contains no protein. Ranch dressing contains a lot of chemicals, fat, and calories.

does this really look good to you? Nutrient level = void.

does this really look good to you? Nutrient level = void.

A can of soup: sure, we’re all in a hurry from time and time and cracking a can of soup can be good on the run. But read labels: some soups contain almost twice your daily recommended sodium intake, and many are low in protein (meaning you’ll be hungry soon after) or have noodles made with refined ingredients, like white flour or even hydrogenated fats (in ramen especially). Canned soups tend to be highly processed foods. To add insult to injury, canned foods contain high levels of Bisphenol A, a hormone-altering chemical.

A burrito: the ultimate filling meal. Usually tops out around 1200 calories if you get a gourmet burrito. There’s a reason it’s called the Mexican sleeping pill. The flour tortilla alone has 300-400 calories and is made from white flour. A note: Refined foods like white flour – where the bran and germ are stripped from the plant and the resulting product is processed and enriched – are no longer whole foods. They have been skeletonized and lack nutrition, stripping the body of vital nutrients, leading to nutritional gaps in the diet and causing cravings. Although Mexican can be a good choice with beans, meat, and veggies, the cheese, rice, and sour cream in burritos can weight you down and pack quite a calorie punch.

Try these items instead:
Organic, preservative-free turkey slices wrapped around avocado with hummus in a brown rice tortilla or on brown rice bread. Eat with cultured vegetables on the side. A perfect lunch that can easily fit in a lunchbox or be taken to work. Always shoot for organic meats, and gluten-free breads/tortillas are ideal to reduce systemic inflammation and can improve digestion dramatically. Cultured veggies improve digestion and are high in probiotics!

A big, mixed green salad (use arugula and deep green baby salad greens) topped with organic chicken, fish, or beef. Deeper colored greens mean more nutrients. Top with colored peppers, radishes, cucumbers, beets, and carrots for a colorful salad. Make your own dressings using olive oil as a base with spices, or try an Asian dressing with miso, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and ginger.

Make your own soups and stews to take to lunch, on the stove or in the crock pot. Soups are fast and easy to make and travel well. Try lentil soup or stew with kale or chard; a big vegetable soup with root veggies and chicken; or turkey chili with beans and a side salad.