The Perfect Lunch

A few months ago, I outlined The Perfect Breakfast which is a fantastic way to start your day with whole grains, fruits, nuts, seeds, and spices. And not only was the blueberry oatmeal dish I outlined delicious, but in case you didn’t enjoy it, I also put out a recent post on how you can start enjoying these healthy whole foods too. So, this week I’m covering the next meal of the day. Lunch. And there’s a lot I’m going to cover in this post as lunch is a terrific opportunity to load up on veggies, beans, and other food groups to ensure we meet the optimal micro and macro nutrients for the day. And I have some unique tips you won’t want to miss. So, let’s get into it!

Salad

The main dish at lunch that I recommend is a salad. It’s our best opportunity to load up on raw cruciferous vegetables, greens, alliums, seeds, and sea vegetables. We should think of the salad as the main dish and not be afraid to load it up with tons of plant-based whole foods. First, I like to start off with a cruciferous greens base. I’m going to use an arugula and kale mix but bok choy, mustard greens, or collard greens are excellent choices too. Second, I like to add some raw alliums to the mix. I’m going to go with scallions, but red onion, garlic, and shallots are good too. Third, beans are a great way to add fiber and protein, so I like using chickpeas, but black beans and edamame are good too. Fourth, let’s throw in a tablespoon of seeds. Pumpkin and sunflower seeds are my favorite for salad dishes. And fifth, finish the salad dish with any extra vegetables or fruit you like. I’m going to throw in some mango, but a lot of the time I like using chopped carrots, peppers, tomatoes, sprouts, broccoli, grapes, or raisins too.

After the salad is made, it’s time for a healthy fat-based dressing with some sea vegetables. Many of the phytochemicals and nutrients in our salad are more bioavailable and readily absorbed when we consume healthy fats with our salad. And if we’re going to consume healthy fats, we should also look towards ones high in Omega 3’s like hemp seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, or walnuts. And since we consumed flax seeds and walnuts in the perfect breakfast, let’s go with hemp seeds for the dressing. I also like to add just a touch of kelp to my dressings as sea vegetables are one of the only natural sources of iodine in a plant-based diet. So, I’ll take the hemp seeds, kelp, and a few other ingredients to flavor and throw them in a blender to make the dressing. Those other ingredients may be vinegars, juices, fruits, or herbs. I’m going to choose more mango, lime juice, and some water. Blend it all up, toss it with the salad and we have a phenomenally healthy salad that tastes rather good too.

  • ⅓ Mango (Dressing)
  • 2 tbsp Hemp Seeds (Dressing)
  • ½ Lime Juiced (Dressing)
  • 2 tbsp Water (Dressing)
  • Dash of Kombu Kelp (Dressing)
  • 1 cup Kale
  • 1 cup Arugula
  • 4 oz Chickpeas
  • ⅓ Mango Diced
  • 1½ tbsp Pumpkin Seeds
  • 2 Tbsp Scallions Diced
  • 2 Tbsp Cherry Tomatoes
  1. Blend all dressing ingredients in a high-powered blender.
  2. Chop all salad ingredients.
  3. Combine and toss the dressing and salad in a large bowl.
  4. Stir together the blended mixture with the cooked ingredients.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Soup

Next, I like to accompany the salad with a bean soup. Some nutrients are more bioavailable in cooked plants rather than raw plants, and vice-verse, so it’s awesome if we can get a mix of both. So, we’re getting the raw plants with the salad and now some cooked plants with the soup. And regarding the soup, the main food groups I like to hit are beans, mushrooms, alliums, and greens. And I’ve noticed that blending the soup with cashews gives it a nice creamy taste with some more healthy fat for increased nutrient absorption. And you can do nearly any combination of foods and spices for a soup while hitting these food groups and have it taste great. Today, I’m going to bring some onions, leaks, mushrooms, zucchini, black beans, bok choy, carrot juice, and water to a boil. Then I’ll let them simmer for about 30 minutes. I’ll take half of the soup, blend it with some cashews and a date, and then mix it all together for an easy, nutrient packed, delicious soup. And that’s it!

  • 2 Onions Chopped
  • 1 Leek Chopped
  • 4 oz White Bella Mushrooms Chopped
  • 4 oz Baby Shiitake Mushrooms Chopped
  • 2 Zucchini Chopped
  • 4 cup Bok Choy Chopped
  • 16 oz Black Beans
  • 2 cup Carrot Juice
  • 2 cup Water
  • ⅔ cup Cashews
  • 1 Medjool Date
  1. Chop all cooking ingredients and place them in a large pot.
  2. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium and let simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Blend half the soup in a blender with the cashews and Medjool date.
  4. Stir together the blended mixture with the cooked ingredients.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

And A Side of Fruit!

And after we’ve just about crushed lunch with tons of fiber, micronutrients, and phytochemicals in the salad and soup, we don’t want to forget a side of fruit! It’s a tasty treat to end the meal. In this case, since I added mango to the salad, it’s a little less important but either way, I like adding another fruit anyways! There’s no such thing as too much fruit! It’s funny because they’ve tested this and no amounts of fruit in study subjects showed any negative side effects… other than larger bowel movements because of all that fiber 😂. So, pick your favorite fruit but I’m going to finish off the perfect lunch with an apple!

Final Thoughts

A nutritious whole foods plant-based salad, soup, and fruit are the perfect lunch. In total, we’ve consumed about 20 different plants in one meal! Talk about variety. Most people don’t consume 20 different plants in a week. And this meal hits all the mains food groups of cruciferous greens, vegetables, fruit, beans, nuts, and seeds. The only important group we may have missed is whole grains which I’m sure we’ll get more of when I cover the perfect dinner! On top of that, this meal includes a great mix of healthy fats, carbs, and proteins. And it crushed the vitamin and mineral categories too. But if this meal plan sounds like a ton of work, I’ll be creating another post in the coming months showing how you can meal prep most of this work in about 1-2 hours per week on a Sunday and you’ll be set for the rest of the week. Stay tuned for upcoming posts and try out this perfect lunch for a healthier and happier life.

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Hey, I am Brandon Zerbe

Welcome to myHealthSciences! My goal has always been to increase quality-of-life with healthy habits that are sustainable, efficient, and effective. I do this by covering topics like Fitness, Nutrition, Sleep, Cognition, Finance and Minimalism. You can read more about me here.


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3 Responses

  • Hi Brandon, your perfect lunch looks delicious, the only concern for Michelle and me is the sodium and carbohydrates. Would they be considered high for for us? Thank you

    • Hey Doug, thanks! In terms of salt, I would only be concerned if you’re buying a dressing or a soup from a store because they’ll add in extra salt. Otherwise, with these homemade recipes, there’s no added salt in them. Just be sure to buy reduced-sodium or salt-free beans. In total this meal adds up to ~400mg of sodium for Lunch. The American Heart Association’s fairly strict limit is 1,500mg per day so you’ll easily be below that. Sodium shouldn’t be a concern at all even if you had high blood pressure.

      In terms of carbs, they get a bad rap because most people associate carbs with processed foods like cereal, white bread, white rice, potato chips, french fries, etc. But when consumed as whole foods, carbs are extremely healthy. And this entire meal includes healthy, whole food carbs. Many people should aim to eat around 50-75% of their calories from a carbohydrate source. This meal contains about 55% carbs. So, I wouldn’t be concerned about that either. Should be good for both you and Michelle!

      • Awesome Brandon, thanks for clearing that up. Learning that, we are ready to dive into your super lunch. The soup looks delish. Can’t wait to try it🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

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