Let's do lunch! Rethinking the midday meal

It’s long been said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it’s about time that lunch receives some recognition. From nuked leftovers to meals hoovered at the desk, the way Canadians do lunch is certainly lacking. But, Ipsos Reid found that 13% of all food consumed during the day is enjoyed at lunch, leaving big opportunities for us to think healthy and reshape how we “lunch.”

What are consumers reaching for at lunch? For some Canadians, nothing at all – lunch is the most skipped meal of the day. Beyond the stomach grumbling, skipping meals can be linked to fatigue and poor mental function. For those lunching, sandwiches and wraps are frequent favourites, appearing in 21% of lunch occasions. This may be tied to the need for speed and convenience, and the hectic nature and unpredictability of the lunch-hour. Mid-morning snacking also means that Canadians are choosing lighter fare for lunch, seeing the meal as a “gap-fill [rather] than a gut-fill.” Trailing sandwiches, fresh fruit, cheese, vegetables and salads are all common choices according to the Ipsos Reid study.

For those needing inspiration, here are a few brown bag-ready lunch ideas to recommend to clients and pack yourself:

  • Asian Chicken and Veggie Wrap - Use up last night's leftovers in this wrap that combine protein (from chicken and peanut butter) with lots of colourful veggies and whole grains.
  • Spicy Thai Peanut Dressing - Serve this zingy dressing on a fresh salad, overtop noodles or use it as a dipping sauce to kick up otherwise blah dishes. Use peanut oil instead of vegetable oil for added monounsaturated fats.
  • Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup - For chilly days, this soup is the perfect flavour combination. Fill up the thermos, and bring along avocado and roasted peanuts for a meal that feels restaurant-worth.
  • Ginger Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry - The perfect dish for leftovers! The peanut sauce bring extra protein to the dish, so vegetarians can opt for tofu instead of chicken.


Sources: Ipsos Reid 2014 Consumption Habits and Attitudinal Trends Study, Canadian Grocer