King, Prince, Pauper

I love to cook. I love to get creative in the kitchen. In fact, I’ve mentioned this several times in different postings on this blog (here, here, and here). However, I really only spend the time cooking and being creative when it comes to making dinner. In fact, I have such FUN in the kitchen when it comes to dinner.

However, that is not so much the case when it comes to breakfast and lunch.

Ever hear that saying, “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper”? Well, I don’t quite do that… Not for lack of trying, or even for lack of the desire to. But I find that my schedule and appetite don’t quite fit this. In fact, it tends to be the opposite. I tend to eat more during dinner, and less throughout the rest of the day.

When I get up in the morning, I’m doing well to want more than a cup of coffee and a piece of toast. Some mornings, like the weekends (when I sleep later; and I think that’s the key to my increased appetite) I like to eat a little more. It’s those mornings that I’ll have a piece of whole wheat toast and some scrambled egg whites. Maybe a slice of turkey bacon here and there… I need to start incorporating this way of eating into my daily breakfast habits.

The other issue is that by lunch, I’m so entrenched in what I’m working on, whether actual work-work, or home-work (i.e. laundry and cleaning) that to stop and think about what to have for lunch is not really what I want to do. So I end up eating something very minimal. Again, not quite following the “eating like a prince” proverb. I may have a quick salad, maybe a bowl of leftover rice. But usually, it’s an apple with some saltine crackers. Or some saltine crackers spread with peanut butter. If I’m actually thinking about what I’m doing, I’ll down a glass of milk with what I’m eating, for some added protein and some staying power.

Brock loves sandwiches. So lunches for him are easy. I think this may be a guy thing. But I do not really like sandwiches. I never have. Even when I was in school, I did not bring sandwiches for lunch. So maybe lunches have always been a struggle for me. I’ll eat sandwiches when we go to places like Jimmy John’s or Schlotzsky’s, but they’re still not my first choice. Ever.

What I want when it comes to lunch is something quick, healthy, tasty, and something I do not have to think about–something with very little preparation. I find that I’m always looking for ideas. When I find something, I to add it to an ongoing “list” that I have running in my head.

I have a few things that I’ve started eating for lunch, that I’ve learned are quick, easy, healthy, and require minimal preparation:

1) Salsa Tacos: Char two corn or flour tortillas under the broiler. Fill each with 1/3 cup salsa or pico de gallo, 1/4 cup torn romaine, 1 Tbs plus 2 tsp. nonfat Greek yogurt and fresh cilantro.

**This is SO delicious and SO refreshing! The Greek yogurt might as well be sour cream. In fact, it’s creamier, in my opinion. And the cilantro gives it such a fresh taste. The romaine helps make it filling, too! LOVE this, and eat it ALL the time now/ Oh, and I only char the tortillas under the broiler for the amount of time it takes me to get everything else out and prepared… just 2-3 minutes. SO easy!

2) Cheese Pita: Spread 3 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. part skim ricotta cheese onto 1 whole wheat pita. Top with 6 dried apricots and 1 Tbs. sliced toasted almonds. Drizzle with honey and season with pepper.

**Like the Salsa Tacos, this one seems so decadent because of the ricotta cheese and the honey! Again, so very easy. I’ve even toasted the pita in the toaster oven for a couple minutes, which causes the cheese to melt just a bit when I spread it on top. DELISH!

3) Apple Lavash: Grill or toast whole wheat lavash in a grill pan or toaster oven. Spread 2 tsp. peanut butter and 1/8 tsp. Asian chili paste. Top with 5 thin slices tart red or green apple.

**I use Granny Smith apples for this, because I *love* them so, so much! But I’m sure any tart apple would do. They play SO well against the other flavors in this, especially against the Asian chili paste. I’ve gotten to where I double this recipe if I’m eating it for lunch; one isn’t enough. But as a snack, this recipe is great!

I’ve also started cooking an extra salmon filet or chicken breast while I’m preparing dinner. It helps to have these around for when I want a salad for lunch during the week. Then I can cut them in half for a quick lunch; just throwing 3 ounces of meat into a fresh salad is so easy, and it helps give my salads that added flavor and some of that staying power that I need!

What about you? What do you do for quick and easy meals for breakfast and lunch? I’d love some ideas to add to my arsenal!!