From top left (clockwise): package of baby carrots, empty chicken sausage package, bottle of honey, my lunch plate, bowl of yogurt
So Greek yogurt isn’t that bad. After I found the honey (hidden behind a bunch of stuff in the cupboard), I drizzled it and stirred vigoriously to mix it all up. So I learned that greek yogurt cannot be just plopped onto a plate or into a bowl. You MUST stir it. It tasted pretty good.
We love these AmyLu chicken sausages. The apple and gouda cheese kind is really terrific. I like to fry them in a pan with a little olive oil. When you bite into the sausage, the little pockets of cheese explode in your mouth. My husband and I are big fans of sensory meals.
I improvised a bun with my sandwich thin (EarthGrains) and some cheese, sliced up half an avocado and added some baby carrots. I enjoyed this lunch a lot. I know I’m missing a fruit though. What would change about this meal?
(I ate this lunch last week by the way — delayed posting)
57 thoughts on “Soup up my lunch: Chicken sausage”
Baby carrots…I've heard that they are washed in chlorine… whether or not that's true… not sure… what I do know is that fresh cut carrots taste better and can come without a plastic package.
I'd also guess that with the sausage, yogurt and avocado that there's a lot of fat in your lunch. I think that it would definitely be good to swap one of those for some fruit 🙂
BUT, hey… this is so much better than anything you were eating at school!!!
Isn't avocado technically a fruit? I remember hearing that its actually a berry… Just a thought. Lunch looks yummy! Greek yogurt is amazing although not for every palate. I tend to love tart things and before I discovered greek yogurt I always ate plain yogurt anyway so maybe I'm not the best judge.. Love the creaminess. Its like eating pudding.
I'm glad you were able to give greek yogurt (w/honey) another shot! Fruit or no fruit, your lunch looks pretty good to me.
Today, I've brought leftover spaghetti (with whole wheat pasta, and a HFCS-free sauce), half a cucumber, and some baby carrots. I would prefer to have regular over baby carrots, but convenience is a factor for us sometimes.
Mmmmmm 😉 Lunch looks very yummy. But since you asked what we would change – this isn't criticism, just what I'd do differently.
I cut my own carrots because they are cheaper (budget is a big issue here). My husband and kids eat a LOT of raw carrots and buying baby carrots would add up. I only buy them for parties really.
The sausage sounds really yummy but it would be a treat for me. All your readers have different opinions on this topic, but for me, keeping the amount of animal fat in my diet low is better. I'm not vegetarian but I eat a lot of veg meals. I feel better that way. But that's me.
Avocado – yuuuuuuuuuum. I like mine with some balsamic vinegar drizzled on it but just plain is delicious too 😉
I actually love that you have some good healthy fat in your lunch. Fat from sources like avacado and yogurt will keep you full and satiated until your next meal. There is significant evidence that a diet of 30-40% of your calories is not only perfectly safe but actually important for proper cell division and brain function. As a country we have all been dealt alot of misinformation about fat.
My only issue with most store bought sausages is the high salt content. But then again I am not doing anything special to really limit the salt in my own diet. We love sausage and cured meats in our house, me, hubs and the kids. I'd say your lunch looks good. You could also try cottage cheese instead of yogurt. Or you could mash the avacado and use the baby carrots to dip. Raw broccoli and cauliflower would be a good addition there too with an avacado dip. Or you could mix the mashed avacado and the yogurt (no honey) and then you'll have a guacamole that tastes a little like sour cream. Yum.
The perfect lunch. Yum.
I don't know if someone told you this already – bit greek yogurt is a GREAT substitute for sour cream. Or a as a topping on pretty much anything. Think of it outside of the yogurt realm and think of how good it can be on a bean burrito. Or over stir fry (seriously!). Or on a salad!
Avocado is a fruit! It grows on a tree and has a seed 🙂
Your lunch looks great! I love those sandwich thins for PB&J. 🙂
I think the only thing I would change is the type of honey you use. Locally sourced honey is a great help for seasonal allergies, if you suffer from them, it also helps support a local business. You can usually find locally sourced in your supermarket these days.
Greek yogurt made it so I can actually eat yogurt. I have huge texture issues and yogurt was really difficult to eat outside of whirring it into a smoothie. Then Greek style came along and since it's so thick, the texture is more like pudding or sour cream and is easier on my palate. Not to mention it comes in some of the best flavors that traditional yogurt just doesn't come in.
How about some fruit on top of the yogurt? Banana slices would be yummy or something in season like peaches or plums. Or, in keeping with the Greek theme, you could go Mediterranean with chopped dates or figs. Or how about some pomegranate seeds….so pretty and yummy and good for you!
I agree with Danielle that there's a fairly high amount of fat with the sausage, yogurt, avocado, cheese, and olive oil but we've seen your lipid profile and in my opinion, this much fat isn't a problem in your case.
Just wondering, Mrs. Q, what your son is eating for lunch these days? Does he eat some of what you're having or something different?
I'm wondering why you think your lunch needs a piece of fruit in order to be healthy or complete. You've got two generous servings of veggies there (ok, so technically the avocado is a fruit) – to me that seems perfectly adequate!
I agree with the commenter who suggested you find locally sourced honey to go with your yogurt. My kids and I discovered a nearby honey farm where you can sample and buy about a dozen different kinds of honey with completely different flavours depending on what flowers the bees were visiting. It's amazing how good the honey tastes – I don't think we will ever go back to the commercial honey in the supermarket.
I would add a dark green leafy vegetable (a salad made with spinach instead of lettuce) or some cooked greens (collards, swiss chard, beet greens…). I'm not sure that the carrots have you covered here.
It's true that avocados are classified botanically as a fruit, but from a nutritional standpoint, they count as a fat. I'm diabetic and have attended many nutrition classes taught by R.D.s (Registered Dietitians) through the years. I've also had more private consultations with R.D.s than I can count. They've all advised me to count a serving of avocado (1/8 of an avocado) as a fat serving only and not as a serving of fruit. I would imagine this rule is the same whether you're diabetic or not. Maybe one of the R.D.s following this blog will let us know whether that's the case?
I think your meal looks very tasty and very fresh! I think all the choices seem healthy!
May I ask – why the yogurt? Is it just an endeavor to try new things? Is it because you were told to make an effort to increase calcium in your diet? I think if the yogurt was getting you to eat a fruit or as a spread with veggies, it would be a good choice. Otherwise, it seems a bit nutritionally redundant given the cheese in the sausage. Although, I suppose I could have asked the same thing about any of the items on your plate seeing as they all seem like good choices! I suppose my question would be "what did you hope to accomplish nutritionally with this meal and how did you do that with the items you chose?"
I think that's a good question for all of us, actually!
Have put the avocado on the sandwich.
Buy whole carrots and cut your own sticks. They taste better than baby carrots and are cheaper.
Swap in some unprocessed (i.e., brown, brown jasmine, wild) rice for the bun. Saute some onions, garlic, and other complementary veggies with the rice, season appropriately, then add the sliced sausage.
Slice up some fruit to stir in with your yogurt, which can also be flavored with jam instead of honey. Or, move the yogurt to a different meal completely, and just eat fruit as dessert.
Overall, you might also think about making more contrasts: hot/cold, crunchy/smooth, crisp/melted, raw/cooked, rich/lean, sweet/savory, etc. These make for more fulfilling, satisfying, sense-stimulating meals.
What were you drinking? Water? Tea? Perhaps a cocktail 🙂
And I agree with Meredith, greek yogurt is a great substitute for sour cream 🙂
That looks pretty dang good to me. I don't think you need a fruit if you are getting your fruit servings in other meals or snacks. The yogurt seems redundant to me but maybe it makes sense in the context of your diet.
BTW–if you buy organic adult carrots, they do not actually need to be peeled. Just washed really really well. I never peel our carrots, so if it is a convenience thing, there you go. Besides, carrot skin is so thin that you end up shaving off alot of edible flesh.
Hello! I love yogurt. In fact it almost always accompanied my lunch pre-project. So that's why I want to find one I like.
I love that it's a substitute for sour cream!!
@Kim my kid eats what I eat for the most part (with kid-friendly substitutes like "yo baby" for my yogurt, minus raw carrots due to choking hazards, etc)
Here's the thing–if you're full, happy, and feel good, your lunch looks great to me. Fresh ingredients, balances of fat, grain, protein, and sugar, lots of variety…All this nitpicking over nutrition is kind of freaking me out…
Have you tried the greek yogurt with a handful of berries? Raspberries are my favorite but just about any fruit cut into small pieces would work and would add the fruit you're missing.
We can eat, and in fact do need just about any part of how a plant grows (throughout their world). Roots, leaves, fruits, seeds. Just because the USDA considers a carrot root the same as a leaf of spinach (vegetables), does not mean we don't need both parts of the plants in our diets. Variety is the key. Often, we eat what is easiest or what we like best and end up seriously lacking on some nutrients because they are only found in , say, the leaves of plants.
If this meal is indicative of your other meals, you are seriously lacking in greens. You could have a small salad on the side (and add strawberries and walnuts or top it with that avocado and a few black beans) or add greens to your sandwich.
I would change the chicken sausage – not because of taste, but because of sodium content. Wowza!
sodium would probably be high in the sausage, so I'd probably substitute with leaner protein…every meal does not have to include fruit, so I think you have a pretty balanced meal there, ENJOY 🙂
The only thing I would change is to ditch that bun and cut up my own carrots. The bun isn't adding anything. Meats, vegetables and fruits are all more nutritionally dense than grain. Plus, you have more than enough carbohydrate in the honey. I also don't think you need to cut any fat out. Your lunch looks pretty tasty to me. 🙂
I have to agree with Krazy Like A Fox. I think that lunch looks great! All the food groups are represented, and some fat is good for you, and a little bit of sodium never hurt anyone (it's not like you're eating sausage AND a bag of chips AND something else super salty). You didn't put mayo on the sandwich, or have Ranch to dip the carrots in, like I would. So I think you should be proud of this lunch. A person could go crazy fretting over nutrition the way some of these commenters are. I think you can still eat healthy meals without being as strict as some of these people seem to be.
As far as what I'd change, I would also put the avocado on the sandwich. Sure it's yummy by itself, but I'm a big fan of condiments and sauces, so if I'm trying to be healthier by not having something like mayo on the sandwich, I'd want something else to make it more than just meat and cheese (boring!).
I don't think I'd like the greek yogurt with honey in it, so I'd probably do what others have suggested and put some fruit in it instead. Or put some cucumber and dill in it (basically, make it tzatziki) and dip the carrots in it, or dip pita in it (if you didn't already have a grain…or you could have two grains like in school!).
Thanks, Mrs. Q. What a lucky kid he is to have a mom who sets a good example!
One great thing about eating yogurt with live cultures is all the beneficial bugs it provides to your digestive tract.
Thanks so much everyone for your input and feedback! You guys usually know more than me and when we put our heads together we do better. This blog has really enriched my life in so many ways.
Looks good, Mrs. Q. I wish there was less fat phobia around these days. Avocados are really good for you – healthy fats and lots of fiber. I think if you can eat them without a big pile of corn chips you are doing something good. I keep reading that fat in foods doesn't make you fat nor does it raise your cholesterol. I'm allowing our family to eat full fat greek yogurt and it feels absolutely decadent! And a small bowl with fruit and honey is pretty satisfying in many ways. After 25 years of cooking, shopping and educating myself about 'healthy' foods it is REALLY hard to change my own ideas of what is healthy based on new research.
The only suggestion I can offer is about the baby carrots. I think they are generated in the process of making pre-shredded carrots. Big ones are shredded down and they leave the core and call it a baby carrot. I think big ones, cut up taste way better.
See, Whatwasdone illustrates what I think is the problem with many of the people who post here (I'm the most recent anonymous person who posted before Kim). "The bun isn't adding anything." What it adds is more flavor and texture to the meal. Maybe Mrs. Q doesn't like eating a sausage all by itself and prefers to eat them on buns. Personally, I would not enjoy a sausage like that if it wasn't on a bun.
Eating doesn't, and in my opinion shouldn't, have to be ALL about nutrition. Eating is one of life's simple pleasures, and when you make it all about nutrition you take all the joy out of it (hello, that's why so many people fail when they try to diet). I feel sorry for you people and your apparent inability to just enjoy food because all you care about is proper nutrition. You can still eat healthy food AND enjoy it.
greek yogurt and honey is my FAVORITE snack. I like adding blueberries too 🙂
It is also SUPER YUMMY if you add some cinnamon and apple butter or jam, and use it as a dip for sliced apples. yummers!
This lunch looks very nice and balanced. I may have added a banana or an apple though 🙂 just to round out all the food groups 🙂
I thought avocado was a fruit?
Anonymous, I'm not sure if you have had those buns or not but in my opinion they do not come close to tasting like good real bread. While I can appreciate the value the texture of bread brings to a sausage dog I'm not going to waste 100 calories on one of those buns. That is my opinion. It still stands that I would ditch the bread because it adds no nutrition and no flavor.
You are right, not everything is about nutrition, some things are just about being good. In my opinion that bun is not one of them. If this was a fresh bun from a bakery then that is a whole different story.
I really also thought that this post was about nutrition. I thought that we posted our opinions on what we thought would make the lunch better and then Mrs. Q made her own decisions. Mrs. Q is welcome to ignore me and continue to eat the bun on her sausage if a plain sausage doesn't appeal to her.
I guess I'm lucky that I enjoy meat, vegetables and fruit and the occasional piece of real bread. I'm eating healthy and enjoying it!
The post is about me accepting all kinds of feedback about my food. I definitely like hearing the variety of opinions!
Avocado's a fruit because the flesh (edible part) surrounds the seed.
OK, this is just me beating a horse that's probably long dead.
I found avocados on the National Institutes of Health Web site. Their info source is the American Dietetic Association. Nutritionally speaking, avocados are considered a FAT rather than a FRUIT (yes, botanically they are a fruit because they contain a pit–a type of seed–surrounded by flesh). We're talking about nutrition here though, not botany. Avocados are listed under fats on this page:
1/8th avocado = 1 fat serving. If you eat half an avocado, that's 4 fat servings, not half of a fruit or a vegetable.
Thank you all for indulging me. I feel ever so much better!
And I'm not giving up bread. It feeds my SOUL. ;o)
Well, it looks fairly healthy, but I'm not a fan of either avocado or honey so you've got me there–icky! How 'bout some berries in that yogurt–fresh blueberries, blackberries, strawberries? And maybe some nuts or unsweetened coconut? Could be yummy!
I'll have to look for those sausages at the supermarket. They sound delish!
i always mix up a banana and/or strawberries with kashi golean crunch into my greek yogurt. It's absolutely amazing!
Mrs. Q, just a suggestion but if your daughter is still at that age where she'll eat anything, try her on the unsweetened yogurt instead of yo baby. You never know, she might like it 😉
Kim has already addressed the avocado question very well, and I will add that there are two distinct opinions on whether something is a fruit or a vegetable. Botanists have the easiest definition by calling anything with a seed or seeds a fruit. Us dietitians have to come in and make it complicated by calling some things with seeds, vegetables. Cucumbers, squash, avocados, and tomatoes all have seeds, but dietitians refer to them as vegetables because they are nutritionally more like a vegetable. I tell the students in the schools I work at that these things grow as a fruit, but we eat them as a vegetable. That seems to work pretty well! 🙂
An interesting fact about tomatoes, the Supreme Court actually made a ruling declaring the tomato to be a vegetable back in the late 1800's. The case was brought to them because fruits and vegetables were taxed different amounts. Guess which one was taxed most?! 😉
By the way, I think your lunch looks fantastic, Mrs. Q. I am both a regular reader of your blog and a Registered Dietitian working in the schools (in curriculum and education, not in food service). Keep up the good work!
@zootnarf Thanks so much!
And thanks to everyone. Who knew about avocados being a FAT! I guess I like fat a lot because there really was a lot of fat in that lunch.
You posted about all of the miles our food travels to get to us – particularly that processed food we all seem to love so much (because it is convenient? tasty?). What about swapping out the grocery store bread thins for some home-made bread. I love my bread machine – I am in control of what is in each loaf (local eggs, local honey, organic grass-fed milk, 100% whole wheat flour, etc.)and then slice the bread as thick or thin as I want. It takes between 2 and 4 hours to make a loaf, and most machines even have a timer so as long as you're not using ingredients that spoil, you can bake bread while you sleep!
Botanically speaking, I suppose an olive is a fruit, too. But I don't think any of us would consider a handful of olives to be a serving of fruit–or, following this line of reasoning, olive oil to be a fruit juice…!
So you did change the name from "Pimp my Lunch".
Let me give my two cents on that one. This is YOUR blog. It's your expression of your own, thoughts, feelings, and life. The fact that you originally named this feature "Pimp My Lunch" shows that you must, in some form, use the word "PIMP" in a colloquial sense in your own life. Yet on the suggestion of the negative connotations associated with PIMP, you changed it. This is YOUR blog… make sure you keep it YOUR blog and don't change things at the suggestions of readers. If you occasionally use "pimp" in that sense, meaning to spruce something up… many of us do… well, use it here too.
"Soup My Lunch" isn't nearly as catchy as "Pimp my Lunch".
BTW ask any doctor in the U.S. what they call it when a doc-in-training gets questioned (on med stuff) by their senior physician.
Just wanted to rejoin the conversation for a minute. Mrs. Q's focus is on nutrition, no doubt about that, but it seems to me the larger issue is how to make one's life better through mindfulness. From what I've read of the more recent studies on the way people and food interact, bodies are pretty self-regulating. If we make eating a source of stress, strict rules, and a place to fail at something (task, standard, court of public opinion) we are only setting ourselves up for misery and failure. If Mrs. Q's lunch isn't in line with the stricter dietary standards of an institution, but fulfill what her body tells her it needs and wants, it seems like the relationship with food is strong and healthy. Critiquing to the point of obsession is one of the things that can pull the trigger on disordered eating, according to what I've read.
One of the places I've found informative about this topic is the blog the-f-word.org.
I think you should go back to using the phrase "pimp my lunch". It's a cool reference and it makes a lot more sense than "soup my lunch". Political correctness to the extreme? I think so.
Baby carrots are soaked in bleach to preserve them. A large chunk of them are also wasted in the process of getting them down to baby size! I would suggest organic carrots scrubbed clean and then cut up. Not much work and worth it!
Hey, whatwasdone, I didn't realize that's why you said that about the bun! I haven't had those thin bun things, so I'll take your word for it that they're not very good. Sorry for jumping to conclusions about what you meant. 🙂
I agree, Mrs. Q, that Pimp My Lunch sounds better than Soup Up My Lunch. I was confused at first because I was expecting to see soup! Seems like it should be obvious that you're not trying to make reference to actual pimps. It's a play on the name of a show that was popular a few years back, Pimp My Ride, about fixing up cars. You're asking for advice about fixing up your lunch. Makes perfect sense to me!
@ Anonymous 2:38PM:
Can I assume that when you might come across the phrase "souped-up car" in some writing from years ago, you actually thought they poured soup over a car?
Mrs Q, I don't know why all of a sudden there are three requests within the last four comments asking for you to go back to using the "Pimp" reference, but if it matters at all, I "vote" against using it. I generally feel that political correctness is getting way out of hand, but I also feel that there is a real difference between certain PC terms and legitimizing what used to be solely sexual references. I know well that there are many young people that use words like "bitch" and "ho," and perhaps they are "cool" references, too, but I would not be too happy to hear anyone here referring to anyone like that.
I don't really even understand the used of "pimped" to mean "fixed up" or "made better." Can anyone explain the etymology (don't just cite the name of the TV show; many people use words incorrectly, and that seems to be what happened here.) If you check the Urban Dictionary, you will find a definition which refers to being "decked out," wear expensive stuff, etc., but that is not what is being asked for here. I never saw the show "Pimp My Ride," but I assume it was (is?) a show where cars are made better looking by decorating them in gaudy ways. That is not the intent of "souping up" your lunch, a term that is well accepted to mean "make better," which probably derives from the word "super." (I believe it goes back to slang from the early 20th century.) Again, I'm not against language change, or slang; I AM against the gradual acceptance of sexual and violent words into the general language. I despise the use of the term "wife beater" for a specific type of undershirt, for instance.
Just my opinion.
Another viewpoint: the title "Soup Up My Lunch" works better because it actually contains a food.
"Pimp" has several meanings: to promote, to hire out for sexual purposes, to improve in a gaudy, over-the-top way, and more. These meanings have nothing to do with food, and they don't express what Mrs. Q is attempting to have her readers accomplish: improve or embellish her lunch in creative and nourishing ways (if I understand these posts correctly).
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