Meals to Help Lose Weight
Expert’s Name: Susan Joyce Proctor
The Lunch Challenge
Lunch, for many of us, seems to be the most challenging meal.
Unlike dinner, when we’re likely to be in our own kitchens and with time to prepare a meal, lunch happens in the middle of the day when we’re usually busy working or doing other things. And most people are away from home at lunchtime, with less control over their food options than at dinner or breakfast.
So figuring out how to feed ourselves a good lunch every single day can get monotonous at best — and feel impossible at worst. But I’ll be sharing some tips to help you overcome “The Lunch Challenge.”
Things are a bit backward in the Western world: although it’s healthier to eat more of our food earlier in the day when we need the fuel, we tend to skimp and then load up in the evening. (I’m sure this contributes to overweight, which midlife women definitely don’t need.)
In fact, we have our greatest digestive strength at midday, and lunch is therefore the ideal time to have our main meal.
To me, the basics for an ideal main meal would definitely include whole, rather than processed, food; at least some good quality protein; and ideally some form of vegetables. Depending on the season and on individual digestive capacity, these could be hot and cooked or raw and cold. And depending on a person’s blood type, grains could also be part of the meal.
And for menopausal women, we definitely want to emphasize nutrient-dense foods, phytoestrogen-rich foods, and calcium-rich foods.
With this as a starting point, let’s get more specific….
Blood Type Specifics
If you’ve read my other articles, you already know that I work with Dr. Peter D’Adamo’s blood type diet, which offers nutritional recommendations tailored for each blood type. Here is a very brief summary, and I encourage you to consider them as you choose lunch options:
Blood Type O: Thrives on protein, including red meat; is OK with healthy fats; doesn’t do well with carbohydrates or dairy. Important foods to avoid: wheat, corn, kidney beans, navy beans, lentils, peanuts, potatoes.
Blood Type A: Does well as vegetarian; doesn’t metabolize red meat, dairy or saturated fats well but is OK with poultry and most fish. Important foods to avoid: potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, bananas, kidney beans, lima beans, cabbage, certain white fish, tomatoes.
Blood Type B: Does fine with meat, most grains, and dairy, but not soy or most beans. Important foods to avoid: chicken, corn, lentils, sesame seeds, peanuts, buckwheat, tomatoes.
Blood Type AB: Does well as vegetarian but is OK with lamb and especially turkey; OK with both dairy and soy. Important foods to avoid: chicken, corn, buckwheat, kidney beans, lima beans, certain white fish.
Time for Lunch
With all this in mind, here are some of my lunch favorites and tips:
Leftovers make great lunches. If possible, plan to make some extra protein and vegetables for dinner, and have those available for lunch the next day, either at home or work. Or freeze leftovers in individual portions for future lunches.
Soup is a great lunch choice, usually nutritious and filling. If lunching at home, you can cook your own and freeze individual portions, or choose high-quality canned soups (read labels carefully avoid high fructose corn syrup). If eating out, choose soups with the best ingredients for you. And if soup is not enough to make a meal for you (it isn’t for me), team it up with something else.
Salads aren’t always substantial enough, especially in the winter and if you’re needing more grounding fare. But they’re a great way to get lots of veggies with a wide variety of protein choices and many, like Salade Nicoise and Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken or other protein, are definitely meals in themselves. Many others can be a great partner with soup.
Sandwichesare traditional lunch choices, but these aren’t the best choices for everyone. (People with the O blood type, for example, don’t really do well with bread of any kind.) If you opt for a sandwich, choose fillings and condiments that are as nutritious as you can, on breads with as much fiber as possible.
Sushiis a great lunch choice if you like it. Not only is fish heart-healthy and seaweed rich in calcium, but it’s quick, easy, and good for all types.
Other ethnic options can be great for lunch. Both Mediterranean and Asian cuisines are generally healthful and use lots of vegetables, and Asian uses rice rather than wheat as the grain (a much better choice). If you’re other than a B blood type, Asian could be a good opportunity to eat soy. Opt for brown rice if you can, which also has phytoestrogens.
“Breakfast” and “dinner” foodscan also be eaten for lunch – there’s no reason to limit you to “lunch” foods. Omelets (especially with veggies) can be good choices, and really, anything you’d have for dinner can also be eaten earlier in the day.
Mix and match any of these suggestions for the most options, nutrition and enjoyment.
Last but not least is my favorite standby. While not a real main meal, it’s a really easy, satisfying light lunch and incredibly nutritious: my Oat Walnut Scone recipe with Greek yogurt, berries and herbal tea.
Whatever you do, don’t skip lunch. Skipping meals can imbalance your blood sugar, which is a problem if you want to balance your estrogen. So even if lunchtime can’t always be about nutrient-dense, calcium-rich, phytoestrogen foods, an imperfect choice is still better than no food at all.