What you eat for lunch is almost as important as what you eat for breakfast.

Your midday meal provides you the fuel to keep running at top capacity. It gets you through the rest of your afternoon, which is likely filled with another four to five hours of thoughtful work at the office or at home. If you’re tired of looking at sad salads or heating up instant ramen noodles, try one of these simple, protein-packed lunch ideas to keep you energized, alert and productive throughout the afternoon.

1. Avocado and egg sandwich

What’s better than an avocado and egg sandwich on hearty sourdough toasted bread? Making one with a drippy poached egg! A single egg has varying amounts of 13 essential vitamins.

2. Summer rolls with peanut sauce

Summer rolls provide a great balance of carbs, protein, and vegetables. They’re fast and easy to eat on the go or at your desk! Try this recipe.

3. Quinoa pear salad with spinach, cranberries and pecans

With just five simple ingredients you’ll be on your way to a tasty lunch that’s packed with incredible nutrients to fire up your idea machine. This satisfying salad will keep you away from mid-afternoon snacks.

4. Protein Salad

Centering your lunch on protein and deep green vegetables is the healthiest way to go. Fresh spinach, albacore tuna, chopped almonds, tomatoes and avocados with a low-calorie dressing is a delicious option to add to your lunch repertoire.

5. Loaded Vegetable Sandwich

The beauty of this lunch selection is you can pack it full of just about any vegetable you desire. For an even tastier alternative, consider grilling vegetables at the beginning of the week with balsamic dressing so you can whip these little sandwiches up quickly any day of the week!

6. Lentil vegetable soup

Soup is a healthy and easily transportable choice for lunch because you can make a large batch and continue to eat it throughout the week or even freeze it to use later. Fiber-filled lentils will keep you full and satisfied. Try this lentil vegetable soup. 

7. Chicken burrito bowl with rice and beans

Nothing is more delicious than Mexican food. Unfortunately the fried flour or corn tortillas can add unnecessary calories to your lunch. So what’s a salsa lover to do? Remove the fried tortilla bowl and layer the ingredients just like you would on a tostada. If you want to cheat a little, sprinkle crushed tortilla strips over the top.

If you have any questions about how to make your diet work for you, schedule a visit with your primary care physician to create a nutritious plan that is right for you.

If you are in the Los Angeles area and are looking for exceptional care from some of the top physicians in the world, be sure to schedule an appointment by calling (800) USC-CARE (800-872-2273) or by visiting http://www.keckmedicine.org/request-an-appointment/.

By Lisa Loeffler