What Do Nutritionists Eat for Lunch?

They dole out food advice for a living, so what do nutrition professionals put in their lunchboxes? We asked five Healthy Eats contributors for their favorite midday meals.

Photo by: Brycia James Kiewlak ©Brycia J. Kiewlak

Brycia James Kiewlak, Brycia J. Kiewlak

Lunch can be a tricky proposition. During a busy workday, there’s often no time to make something healthy — and sometimes barely time to grab a meal on the go. But without a nutritious lunch, it can be hard to power through your afternoon (meaning you’re more likely to give in to a sugary snack). So we’ve turned to the professionals for some lunchtime advice. Here, five nutritionists who are Healthy Eats contributors share their favorite midday meals.

For lunch at home:

EA Stewart, MBA, R.D.: My kids aren’t big fish eaters, so I don’t make it often for dinner, but I do enjoy it for lunch. I keep wild salmon fillets in the freezer that I can quickly cook up and serve on top of Asian slaw with green onions, chopped peanuts and a homemade vinaigrette.

Min Kwon, M.S., R.D.: I’m a huge believer in meal prepping over the weekend so that in less than five minutes I can have a hearty and satisfying lunch. I always have on hand plenty of vegetables, a good carbohydrate source (like cooked whole grains or a sweet potato), a protein (like some chicken, fish, chickpeas or egg) and a healthy fat (avocado or nuts are my fave) — toss it all together in a bowl and that’s lunch!

Toby Amidor, M.S., R.D.: I like to take a day-old salad and top it with beans, canned tuna or a hard-boiled egg.

Kara Lydon, R.D., LDN: I’ve been really into collard green wraps lately — I stuff them with any veggies I have on hand and a protein like hummus, tuna, cheese or tofu. They’re quick and easy (and fun!) to make.

Dana Angelo White, M.S., R.D.: I love a good salad, but not just a pile of vegetables. I always make sure to put in some healthy protein, like eggs, beans, tofu or tuna. Then I top it off with some light crumbly cheese, a sprinkle of fresh or dried fruit and some pumpkin seeds for crunch.

For brown-bagging it:

Stewart: Since I work out of my house, I rarely pack a lunch. But if I know I will be out and about for a while, I will pack a piece of fruit and an energy bar (my favorites are KIND Bars, Perfect Bars and Zing Bars) to fuel me until I can get home to make lunch.

Kwon: I like to pack a sandwich or wrap filled with egg and avocado salad, mashed chickpea salad or hummus and veggies. On the side, a piece of fruit or a Greek yogurt. And my go-to sweet treat is a piece of dark chocolate.

Amidor: I love a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole-grain bread. I complement it with plain, nonfat Greek yogurt topped with fresh sliced strawberries.

Lydon: I love Mason jar salads because they are so easy to transport. I layer them in the following order, starting at the bottom: hard veggies, protein, fruit, grains, nuts and greens.

White: I like to bring leftovers with a spin on them — like last night’s chicken repurposed into a quesadilla, or some pasta with vegetables and whatever was on the grill the night before.

From the deli:

Stewart: Since I follow a gluten-free diet, I usually order a sandwich of turkey and avocado wrapped in lettuce. And I’ll pile as many veggies onto it as possible — including spicy peppers if available!

Kwon: A grilled chicken sandwich or a salad with the dressing on the side.

Amidor: I order a low-sodium turkey sandwich, and I’m very specific with how I order it. I ask for whole-wheat or rye bread, half the amount of turkey they usually use (otherwise it’s a huge pile of meat), double the vegetables (like lettuce and tomato) and just a touch of mustard or honey mustard.

Lydon: I try to find a sandwich that’s packed with the most veggies — like a hummus and veggie wrap or a grilled vegetable panini with feta or mozzarella.

White: I like a chicken or turkey sandwich loaded with atypical veggies — like cucumber, carrots and peppers. And since deli portions are usually large, I often split a sandwich with a co-worker or save half for the next day.

Sally Wadyka is a Boulder, Colorado-based journalist who writes about nutrition, health and wellness.

Next Up

How Nutritionists Make Nostalgic Recipes Healthier

Dietitians love comfort food, too. Here’s how they reimagine their favorites into healthier recipes.

6 Nutritionist-Recommended Allergen-Free Halloween Candies

Grab some sweet treats every kid can enjoy.

How Nutritionists Are Saving Money on Groceries

Stay within budget without compromising healthy habits.

4 Best Collagen Powders, According to a Nutritionist

Collagen may help improve skin, hair, nails and even joint health. Here's how to choose the best collagen powder for you.

4 Healthiest Energy Drinks, According to a Nutritionist

The best canned option out there is a true classic.

5 Pieces of Advice Nutritionists Say You Should Stop Following

Up-to-date research says eating an egg each day is A-OK.

How To Navigate Pregnancy Nausea, According to a Nutritionist

It’s important to focus on the foods you can eat.

According to Nutritionists, Are Bananas Actually a Healthy Snack?

Here, a deep dive into the nutritional benefits of bananas. Starting with: How many calories are in a banana?

The Best Vitamin D Supplements, According to a Nutritionist

What to do if you’re deficient in vitamin D or are wondering which supplement to take.