UMass Memorial Health Care dietitians give us a glimpse at what’s on their plate at lunch time.
Narmin Virani, RD, LDN, Clinical Dietitian, UMass Memorial Weight Center
I love beans and lentils, I make a quick lentil salad by steaming frozen lentils and adding chopped tomatoes and cucumber, dressing it with olive oil, salt and pepper. Simple but yummy!
I sometimes make a more elaborate salad with baby spinach, apple, cucumber, tomato, along with mozzarella cheese, a small handful almonds, and a scoop of cooked beans (usually chickpeas or kidney beans) dressed with vinaigrette.
Occasionally, I treat myself to a handful of Cape Cod potato chips.
Anna Polucha, MS, RD, LDN, Clinical Dietitian, UMass Memorial Weight Center
I find that the easiest and cheapest way for me to get a healthy lunch is to pack leftovers from dinner the night before. One of my favorite leftover lunches is salsa chicken bowls.
During the day, my slow cooker cooks chicken thighs with a jar of salsa. When I get home from work, I shred the chicken and serve it over quick-cook brown rice. I top it with onions, peppers, lettuce, tomato and avocado.
When I don’t cook the night before, my first choice is a salad. To make a salad that truly satisfies me for the afternoon, I always include enough protein. (I like hardboiled eggs, chicken and hummus.) as well as a whole grain if it’s available.
Stephanie DiRocco, MS, RD, LDN, Clinical Nutrition Manager, UMass Memorial – HealthAlliance Hospital
I enjoy loading up on veggies during lunch, especially those that I don’t ordinarily cook at home. A few favorites that the cafeteria features often is beets and Brussels sprouts. I like to make my plate colorful with the vegetables, like broccoli, peas, and roasted vegetables, such as eggplant, red bell peppers and onions. This is a great way to get a variety of vitamins and minerals in a low-calorie, high-fiber meal.
Other go to items for lunch are soups, especially during the winter months. I try to stick to the broth-based soups to reduce calorie and fat consumption. Some of my favorite soups are beef and mushroom barley, chick pea and tortellini, lentil, and chicken and rice soups.
Michelle Ripley, RD, LDN, Outpatient Dietitian, Diabetes & Nutrition Center, UMass Memorial – HealthAlliance Hospital
A staple I have for lunch at least twice a week is salad. My salads consist of dark leafy greens, red, green, and orange vegetables, dried and fresh fruits, as well as lean protein from beans, seeds, peas, and chicken. I can build a colorful salad that is different every time so I don’t get tired of eating the same thing.
By mixing up the toppings I use in my salad, I am getting different vitamins, nutrients and phytochemicals from the variety of fruits and vegetables I use. They are also full of fiber which makes my salad filling and satisfying.
Christine Lane, MS, RD, LDN, Dietitian, UMass Memorial – Marlborough Hospital
I combine eating healthy with my love of nature. My husband and I have an atypical diet in that we don’t buy as much food as most – we purchase a few staple grains, tofu and dairy, but much of the rest we grow and forage.
During the active growing weather, we are plant and harvest vegetables, as well as collect local edible weeds and mushrooms. Lunch depends on the rhythm of the season as we target what happens to be abundant, and these natural items change year-to-year.
We have vegetables in our garden and grow a variety of fruit trees, raspberries and blueberries.
Alyson Branch, RD, LDN, Outpatient/Inpatient Dietitian, UMass Memorial Medical Center
I always try to meal prep on Sundays so I have healthy, nutrient-dense food to bring for lunch and snacks at work.
While I’m cooking, I like to use health-supportive herbs and spices to season meats and veggies, such as turmeric, which has a long list of health benefits, including its anti-inflammatory potential. I usually pre-cook chicken, hard-boiled eggs, sweet potatoes or quinoa, and cut up some colorful veggies so everything is ready to take for lunch.
One of my go-to lunches includes using leftovers and whatever fresh produce I have on hand. This week it was sweet potato, baked chicken breast, raw baby spinach, roasted bell peppers and onions, with 1/2 an avocado and 1 tablespoon of hummus. It’s a great combination of lean protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats – not to mention super easy and resourceful.
Join the conversation. This month, National Nutrition Month, share your favorite things to eat for lunch.