3-Meal-a-Day Challenge: Lunch

You know I’ve been trying to transition to eating 3 regular, scheduled meals a day, rather than 2.

Eating on a schedule helps me to not over eat.

I know that I don’t need to stuff myself, because I’m going to be eating in a few hours anyway.  It’s taking some getting used to.  This feeling of no longer hungry, but not quite “full.”  Some people call this intuition, or intuitive eating.

I showed you what I ate for breakfast the other day.  Here’s lunch:


♦ Dr. Praeger’s California veggie burger w/ tomato, lettuce, mustard, & sweet onion, sandwiched between 2 slices gluten-free bread

♦  Side of sweet red pepper strips, raw broccoli, carrots, & strawberries

♦ Quick veggie dip for dipping

Dr. Praeger’s burgers are some of my favorite veggie burgers.

{Many Costco’s, FYI, sell them in bulk.}

The California burger is gluten free & uses whole soybeans (rather than isolated soy protein).  I like to cook my burger in a cast iron skillet.  It takes about 10 minutes, but cooking them this way creates a delicious aroma & makes the burger crispy on the outside.

An easy way to calorie-dilute your meals is to add a hefty portion of raw &/or cooked veggies.  I love salads, but sometimes get bored of eating them, so I change things up.  One way I do this:  Cut up a variety of vegetables, add a low-calorie, flavor-packed dip & eat it as an after-dinner snack or as a side to soup or a sandwich for lunch.

I used Pace salsa (my favorite salsa, high in sodium, so I’m careful to watch my portions) & Sabra sun-dried hummus.  I like to make my own hummus (very easy to do), but I didn’t want to make another mess in the kitchen & we had some Sabra on hand.  Store-bought hummus is rarely oil-free, so be aware that it’s going to have almost twice the amount of calories as oil-free hummus.

This high volume of food, so I felt “full” after eating all of this, but I felt an itch for a little sweet somethin’.

My mom’s gluten-free brownie cookies (almost as good as these), with a glass of cold almond milk was the answer.  Since she makes them with a small cookie scoop, the cookies are tiny.  I made sure to eat 3.  A girl’s gotta have her cookies.

{Isn’t this a great cookie plate?}

Even though this was a lot of food, & I was full, I still felt like I “needed” to eat more.  I waited an hour, then ate an apple.  This helped, but by dinner-time, I was ready to eat again.

A few things I’ve noticed by eating smaller portions:

1)  I enjoy the experience of eating.  I savor each biteful, because there’s no need to rush.

2)  Smaller portions mean it takes less time to eat.

3)  I’m ready to eat my next meal.  This is important to me.  I like being hungry (but not too hungry) when I eat.


1)  Knowing when to stop.  I don’t want to be hungry 20 minutes later, but I don’t want to eat too much that I’m not hungry for lunch.  I’ve decided a good measure is to think of it like I’m going to go running in an hour.  How much can eat so that in an hour I’d feel comfortable going for a run?  This seems to help me eat about the right amount.

2)  Eating at set times.  With 4 kids & plenty of distractions, it’s easy to get sidetracked & skip breakfast, or eat a really late dinner.  I don’t want to be so rigid that my meal time schedule gets in the way of life, but I do want to have more consistency.  After all, I’m in charge!

3)  I’ve realized that after years of high-intense cardio exercise daily + breastfeeding, has put my appetite into overdrive.  I’ve gotten so used to needing to eat a lot of food.   Now that I’ve scaled back to only 2-3 feedings a day & I’m only doing the bare minimum for exercise, I don’t need to eat like I used to.  This is an adjustment in practice & in thought.


What does your typical lunch look like?


  1. April
    on July 7, 2012 at 3:39 pm said:

    I usually eat Gardenburgers because they are the only ones I’ve found that don’t use Soy Protien Isolate. Now that I know about this brand though I’m going to have to give them a try! Esp. the black bean variety-my hubby loves them but I won’t buy them b/c they all have the SPI-now we have another option! Thanks!

  2. Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit
    on July 6, 2012 at 6:51 am said:

    I love all the whimsical designs on your pictures, you’re so good at what you do! Although I’m sure I’ve already told you that. I enjoy eating smaller portions, too. It’s hard at times because I really, really enjoy eating, but there’s something to be said for having ~300 calories per meal. I’m never overly full and my digestion thanks me everyday for making it not have to work too hard.
    My lunch generally consists of 4-5 cups of steamed vegetables – carrots, onions, sugar snap peas, cauliflower, leeks, parsnip, that sorta thing, with 1 tsp or so of coconut oil and 1/2 cup of chickpeas or 4oz. chicken breast. A little salt and I’m good to GO! That, or I eat curry… lotsa curry!

  3. Meg in Progress
    on July 5, 2012 at 10:02 pm said:

    Okay I am sold. Buying the veggie burgers tomorrow. And I have to tell you, this post was just beautiful to look at. Delightful.

    • Janae Wise
      on July 6, 2012 at 6:17 am said:

      Thanks Meg. Yes, & you live in a place where you have easy access to all this stuff. I’m now really starting to appreciate all the plenty I enjoyed when living in Utah.

  4. Kit-Kat
    on July 5, 2012 at 9:04 pm said:

    Dr. Praeger burgers for the win! I like the Costco kind. They are about 30% larger nutritional stat wise and 50% larger in actual size. VERY yummy! I think it tastes like veggie spring rolls! :-d

    • Janae Wise
      on July 6, 2012 at 6:15 am said:

      Yes, I had noticed that the Costco kind is bigger than the version you’d buy at a supermarket (but isn’t everything at Costco super-sized?). I never thought of it tasting like a spring roll, but now that you mention it, I can see the resemblance.

  5. Christine
    on July 5, 2012 at 8:42 pm said:

    I was going to say the exact same thing! I try to use a variety of greens too like lettuce, spinach, kale, and collards. I also add my leftovers to my salad. My favorites (which is what I added today) are leftover crumbled veggie burgers and roasted vegetables (sweet potatoes, turnips, and onion today). I use homemade oil-free dressings too. Today I used homemade salsa and lime juice. Lately I’ve been dry toasting nuts and adding those too. Needless to say, it can take a while to prepare but it’s worth the wait and it usually satisfies me after having only had a smoothie for breakfast.

    • Janae Wise
      on July 5, 2012 at 8:48 pm said:

      Ooo, that salsa sounds yummy. I made a lime avocado salsa yesterday for our 4th of July barbecue, I hope to share.

      My sister-in-law actually commented how me & my brother love to eat any food on top of a bed of lettuce or greens. It’s true. Weird to some, but I think it’s a good trick to make meals more satiating, without adding a lot of calories.

    • Sara
      on July 6, 2012 at 8:35 am said:

      I recently fell in love with Dreena Burton’s Let Them Eat Vegan! cookbook. She has a trillion vegan dressing recipes in there, and I’m obsessed! Current fave: Creamy Cumin-Spiced Almond Dressing. I love roasted veggies on my salads, too, especially roasted brussels sprouts and leftover roasted butternut squash (I’m missing fall right about now, and summer has only started!). I raise my salad fork to you, Christine! 🙂

  6. Courtney Pool
    on July 5, 2012 at 6:08 pm said:

    This lunch and the cookies both look absolutely amazing! Your blog is really pleasant and obviously the meals you post about are tantalizing!

    • Janae Wise
      on July 5, 2012 at 6:13 pm said:

      Thank you Courtney.

  7. Sara
    on July 5, 2012 at 5:14 pm said:

    My go-to lunch is a salad bigger than my head. Keeps me feeling full without weighing me down, and it means that I’ve already eaten at least 5 servings of produce by the afternoon. I love to mix it up with different homemade dressings, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, hummus, and creatively use dinner leftovers on ’em, too. I vary the veggies based on what’s in season and looks good at the store. I never eat the same salad twice!

    • Janae Wise
      on July 5, 2012 at 6:03 pm said:

      Sara, love that your salad is bigger than your head. That should be turned into some sort of USDA guideline–”All Americans need to eat at least one salad, bigger than their head, daily.”