Advice for what we should and shouldn’t eat seems to come from all directions, whether it’s a magazine article or a well-meaning but misguided coworker. One group of people we are apt to trust, though, is fitness professionals. (Their bodies are part of their jobs, after all.) Here, four trainers on what they’d never eat for lunch, along with a few more suitable suggestions.
“I would never eat bread–especially white bread. Highly processed carbs will fill you up temporarily but lack many nutrients. Even many “whole wheat” or “whole grain” breads are highly processed and may include other filler ingredients, which aren’t great for you. My typical lunch is a salad with dark greens (spinach, arugula or kale) and two or three hard-boiled eggs (with the yolks!). Overall, including a combination of protein and healthy fats and eliminating processed carbs at lunch is a must to keep you powered for the afternoon.”
“I try to avoid any kind of heavier red meat for lunch, like steak or roast beef. I often feel sluggish after eating those. I save the steaks for dinner when I can sleep after! I try to stick to lighter meats, like fish or chicken, often in a salad or with cooked vegetables of some sort. And since I keep it pretty small for lunch, I always have a snack on me to eat [in the afternoon]. What I’m liking right now is about 15 to 20 macadamia nuts and a handful of raisins.”
“I always avoid reaching for processed, packaged foods such as energy or protein bars. These bars are usually packed with a high amount of sugar and a long list of unfamiliar ingredients. I’ve made the mistake of reaching for these in the past and always found that these bars left me feeling unsatisfied and craving more. My go-to lunch is a nutrient-dense salad with leafy greens, veggies, a lean protein (grilled chicken, salmon or a hard-boiled egg), quinoa, raw nuts and avocado tossed in lemon juice, light olive oil and balsamic vinegar.”
“I would never eat a fast-food burger for lunch. I love a great burger, but the quality of meat at most fast-food restaurants is horrifically poor. They are high in saturated fats and probably loaded with hormones. If I need a quick protein boost at lunch, I’ll grab a half of rotisserie chicken. I just make sure to take the skin off and add a sweet potato. It makes for a nutritious and filling meal.”