Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, but lunch is infinitely more exciting. The options are endless— a good mushroom bisque is kind of weird at breakfast but fair game at lunch, and if you want 1PM waffles, then no one is really going to judge you. But though there’s more lunch variety than Lil B mixtape tracks, not every choice is a good one. AND CO is dedicated to saving you precious time, but it’s all for nothing if your heavy lunch puts you out of commission for anywhere from four to twenty hours. So, here’s 7 mid-day meals any productive freelancer should avoid.
We’re starting with the obvious here. There are going to be days where you’re grinding it out and feel as if you can work for 12 hours straight. You need to seize those opportunities, but we promise that you’ll hit a wall unless you refuel. You don’t need to walk away for an hour and prepare dinner for your friends, the postman, the butcher, the baker, and Tiny Tim; but a small snack ought to suffice. Seriously, eating nothing is just about as bad as eating any of the foods below. And even that’s up for debate because then at the very least you’re eating something.
The Bloated Deli Sandwich
Everyone knows the best part of Thanksgiving is when the leftovers go in the fridge, because it signals the moment that you can build a killer turkey-cranberry-sauce-stuffing-insert cultural delicacy here-mashed potato sandwich. Imagine for a moment. You create this monster of a sandwich in the middle of the night, because why not, and enjoy every last bite. And then you promptly curl into a ball on the kitchen floor and fall asleep. Upon waking, you’re immediately filled with a sense of regret, and a weird reassurance that you will do this every night until there’s nothing left.
The weird thing is that this feeling isn’t just limited to the chilly autumn nights. Delis and specialty sandwich shops have gotten weirdly good at creating sandwiches with ingredients you didn’t know could (or should) be mashed together. A grilled cheese with mac and lightly brushed with duck fat? It’s a thing. A hero with roast beef and mashed potatoes? Why not? An Italian sub that’s so heavy your arm kinda sorta gets tired on the way back your work area? Oh yeah. But exercise some good judgment and reserve these for days where you can afford to loaf on your futon for half a day.
Sunday’s Hefty Crock Pot Leftovers
This one is a bit tricky because there are a ton of slow cooker recipes out there that are easy on the gut. Yet for every lemon chicken and kale soup recipe, there’s a pulled pork shoulder that’s dying to be made. Crock pot magic comes from the fact that you can keep adding to whatever weird combination is stewing in the stoneware. You start with some brisket, sure, but before long it becomes “what if I add some potatoes… and some dried chiles? I once saw you can cook with wine, so let me pour this bottle of two buck Chuck over it!” Listen, your creation is probably delicious, but you’ll be sunk on the couch about three bites in.
The Grocery Store Hot Food Bar Overload
It’s the store bought answer to the slow cooker masterpiece. On the surface, sure, it can be a great option to keep your mind clear and your wallet heavy. But seriously, who’s going to the hot food stand at the local grocery store to pick up some sauteed green beans and spaghetti squash? Everyone knows these stands are for heaping mac and cheese, popcorn shrimp, wings, some kind of ancient grain (you gotta make it look like you made a healthy effort), and massive meatballs into a comically small tin.
Fast Food…Avoid at all Costs
When you’re pressed with tight deadlines, you undoubtedly want food, fast. So yeah, tacos coated in Dorito dust were born to shine in moments like those. But pause for a moment before you rush to get that new bacon infused shake or a triple stacked burger that’s somehow dipped in chocolate sauce. Your typical fast food combo (like most of the foods on this list) has a high glycemic index (GI). Put simply, GI is a metric that represents the impact a particular food will have on your blood sugar levels. The higher the GI, the bigger the spike in blood sugar. As if that’s not enough, most fast food is designed to make you want to keep eating. At the end of the day, it’s more of a sleep-aid-than a pick me up… but that does mean it makes for an amazing night cap.
Anything from the Master of None Diet
Even if you could never relate to Aziz’s urban-millennial struggle in Master, the show probably really piqued your pasta interests. He declares that pasta is his true passion, and the season ends with him booking a trip to Italy to go to cooking school (presumably to get really good at pasta making). But unless you’re a journeyman Italian restaurateur who’s pretty much obliged to consume pasta at every opportunity, an order of bucatini with a side of garlic bread and a half carafe of wine has no place in the productive freelancer’s lunch menu. There’s a reason why they’re called “pasta dinners”, after all.
No, not the revolutionary sleep aid (although, that too, should be avoided). But even if that good ‘que didn’t lay you out upon consumption, we’d still advise against it. Grilled meats never come alone; they are always accompanied by light beer, card games, cornhole, and a spirited debate about sweet vs. savory grits (or crêpes). Have you ever met a single person who could hit a cookout in the afternoon, gorge on ribs and potato salad, get back home by 7, and wrap up any remaining tasks from the morning? Neither have we. BBQ is best left to holidays and weekends.