February 18, 2014

Healthiness in 2014: Lunch

Eating lunch is a new thing for me.

I know that sounds strange, but here's the story…My first year teaching (2010-2011), I used to eat lunch at school when lunchtime was appropriate.

Two years ago, I had some stomach/anxiety issues, and I started eating a very small breakfast, taking the medication I was prescribed and it would kill my appetite.  So I was never hungry at 11:45, which was my class's lunchtime.  That year, I had my prep period at 2:30, so I would eat a late lunch around then and would feel okay, usually, to go to the gym after school.  My meds would wear off by that point and my stomach was generally okay after noon.

This completely messed me up.  By the next year, I never really got into the habit of lunch.  I'd eat a big breakfast (coffee, oatmeal, a smoothie), have a snack during my morning prep period, and then eat again right after school pre-gym, and then eat a late dinner with Scott (because he often worked late in Alaska).

This year, my prep period is 9:50-10:40.  I eat what I call "second-breakfast" during this time, because I love breakfast, and then try to eat something again at 11:00.  I say try, because after 11:25, I am with those kids until 3:30.  I don't get a break to even go to the bathroom (though, I often have the teacher from across the hall pop in so I can run out). Since it's winter and we're not outside for recess, I will often have a Larabar or something while they're watching The Magic School bus during what I call their "recess".  (I cannot deal with that indoor recess nonsense.)

It generally looks like this:

7am: Oatmeal/coffee

10am: Greek yogurt/apple/granola

11am: Whatever I packed for lunch (if I'm hungry)

2:30 or 3:30: Larabar, pretzels, carrots, or fruit

4:15pm: Smoothie

6pm: Dinner

8pm: Dessert, which is usually this marshmallow stuff (2 T. chocolate chips, 1 T pb, handful mini-marshallows) or a few pieces of chocolate

So what does fall into the "Whatever I packed for lunch" category?

Good question.

Sometimes it's more oatmeal.  Sometimes leftovers.  Sometimes I don't get around to "second breakfast" and just have it for lunch.  I am so, so bad at lunch.  When I do take leftovers, it's often a deconstructed quesadilla that I just heat up in the microwave or a homemade black bean burrito.  Sometimes it's leftover roasted sweet potatoes.  Sometimes pasta.

Something else I have working against me is that I generally don't like savory foods until way after noon.  My 11am lunch period is currently the bane of my school-day existence.  When I see the 10:30am lunch period teachers with school lunches of chicken, mashed potatoes, etc. at 10:30am, my stomach turns a bit.

I probably could eat the school lunch, but in my experience that's an easy way to throw money out the window.  It's like $4 a day for school-lunch-food.  That's not awesome food, you know?  I could go to Panera and spend $6 and get good food.  If I was allowed to leave the school grounds during lunch that is.  Or if I had enough time.  But no one really wants to get into the habit of eating out for lunch anyway, right?


So, what do I eat for lunch at home?  Usually a combination of these things.

+Hummus, carrots, tortilla chips is my favorite during the summer, with a blueberry smoothie. I eat this in the winter too, but of course, I don't have the luxury of a blender and frozen fruit in my classroom.

+Spinach flatbread sandwiches (or put it in a wrap)


+Leftover homemade pizza or a quick flatbread pizza thrown together




I told you I need help.

What do you eat for lunch?

Previous posts in the Healthiness series…
Quick Dinners


  1. I always take leftovers. I just find it easier to package up extras of dinner because a) then Ken and I both have lunches and b) we are less likely to go back for seconds when everything has been packaged up for lunch.

    Do you like salads? I have a thing against lettuce (especially iceberg) so I'm not a huge fan of salads, but it seems like that might be something you could swing pretty easily.

  2. LUNCH is my favorite word. It just sounds so delicious to me. And it reminds me of being a kid in the summer spending all my time at my friends' house where lunch involved this magical thing called velveta. OR ramen noodles. Or spaghettios. And then I grew up and realized--I have no idea what to make for lunch. I often resort to the good old fashion quesadilla (I always have cooked chicken on hand)--but since my operation, I can only do cheese in moderation. So for me--even working at home--my eating hours are all messed up--and the foods that I eat during those hours are screwed up too. I need to get back on the smoothie band wagon. One of my favorite lunches though is homemade tuna salad and pita chips.

  3. Leftovers, PB&J on whole wheat, soup, salad.

    I'm sort of the opposite. I only want savory things in the morning.

  4. I often take leftovers, but I'm picky about what things reheat well. (Today, I would've been having leftover stuffed pepper soup. That reheats really well.....but yeah....snow day...)

    I also really like to have sandwiches: chicken salad, egg salad, and ham w/ Swiss cheese & mustard are my favorites. I'm picky about that, too, because if I take a sandwich, I need to have some sort of chip as a side.

  5. I'm fortunate to live close enough to work that I can buzz home on my lunch break, so I usually have leftovers of whatever we ate for dinner the night before, or a sandwich.

    Recently though, I've been getting my lunch breaks at 10 a.m. when it is clearly not lunch time so I'll run home, throw some veggies, fruit, or dry cereal in a bag to bring back with me.

  6. I do not feel good if I go a long time without eating so I'm very much a small meal many times a day type of person. It's so much easier to have lunch at home, but when I was in school and had to stay in the building, I would alternate between sandwiches, salads, and leftovers. I actually prefer warm, dinner-ish type food most of the time (eating salads just maskes me feel cold unless it's actually summer!)....and I don't like to cook so I make most meals that work well as leftovers so that they'll have enough left for me to eat for a couple days. In the winter I make a lot of soups so I've been having plenty of leftover soup for lunch...

  7. I'm currently switching up my usual spinach and tuna salad wrap in liue of a breakfast burrito. I've been taking eggs to work and zapping them. I've added in roasted sweet potatoes, avocado, spinach, and salsa. I'm loving the eggs!

  8. Lunch is almost always leftovers for me. It just makes things easier here! Though I do enjoy a good salad.

  9. My lunch is at 10:45 so I understand the early lunch thing. My prep is last period, so for awhile there I was calling it second lunch. We can leave, but we have 30 minutes bell to bell, so clearly there isn't enough time to do anything. Usually my lunch is PB& J or left overs. I did make up a bunch of egg salad on Monday night, so I have had that the last couple of days.


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