I most certainly endorse cheesesteaks, loaded poutine and Reubens for lunch. For me, those are best consumed on days with more free time to contemplate how delightfully full I am and how cheese is a wonderful thing. But on catch-up-after-a-Test-Kitchen day, I need all cylinders firing. I’m willing to bite the bullet not made of pastrami and eat an especially healthy lunch even if it’s not always as immediately satisfying, and at the end of the day I find I’ve been more productive.

Feed your own brain on actual brain food. And let’s all stop being flesh-craving zombies now for just a day now, shall we? 

Sardines
Best eaten at lunch if you work from home. If you’re tight enough with your coworkers, however, I’m sure they’ll forgive you. I love good-quality canned sardines as an occasional stand-in for lox on a bagel or thick slice of sturdy bread with cream cheese, but our recipe for Grilled Sardines with Lemons and Chiles makes a solid sandwich or pasta toss-in as well.

Spinach
Oh wow look, I’m the lucky 100th person who’s told you spinach is good for you! Cool, now for some useful information: Salmon and Spinach Pie and Spinach Pesto Pasta with Chicken, both of which taste great at room temperature.

Eggs
Please put the notion of terrifying scrambled whites out of your head. I would never do that to you. Quite the opposite, actually. While the deep-fried sausage content of a Scotch egg may not exactly justify how healthy a nice organic yolk is for you, you still get drift. Eggs are good for you. Spicy deviled eggs are better for you than Scotch eggs. Frittatas use up more leftover pasta than both of those combined. And when I’m working from home, I’ve been known to make this for lunch

Shellfish
I have a new favorite burger and it’s not made from ground beef. Or fake meat substitute. Or poultry. It’s finely chopped shrimp and scallops formed into a patty, and, quickly pan-fried, it makes an awesome po’ boy-style burger that’s low in fat and high in protein without the risk of food coma. Haven’t you been meaning to become less dependent on ketchup and more into olive oil-based aioli? That’s what goes best on this creation.

Olive Oil
And speaking of olive oil, fit in a serving wherever it’s convenient — I’m a firm believer that it’s the perfect lubricant for the squeaky brain. Make your own salad dressings and pestos (feel free to branch out from basil) (especially when it involves jalapenos) and drizzle or slather on boring foods to make them no longer boring.


More healthy lunches on Food Republic: