After so many years of living in Britain I have still not embraced the custom of having a sandwich at lunch time and to my misfortune I have “infected” my English husband who now expects a proper meal at lunch time! Just like my mother used to complain about my father expecting a proper meal, I have brought that upon myself and who is to blame if not myself?
Before having children I used to go to work and stay away all day. I used to take a rich salad with me and from time to time a panino filled with cheese or ham. I used to feel unsatisfied and felt hungry after a couple of hours. At 4 pm a sugar fix was always needed.
Now that I have 2 hot meals a day, I have found that in fact I have lost weight instead of being heavier.
There is a perception that if you have a hot meal twice a day you will end up putting on weight. The fact is that you won’t providing your lunch is not too heavy. A hot lunch can often have less calories than a sandwich. Italian dietitians recommend a plate of pasta with a light sauce like tomato and olive oil or a risotto and a salad for lunch and a protein meal with vegetables in the evening.
For an Italian a sandwich or panino is not considered a meal but just a snack. If they have a panino for lunch it is like not having lunch at all! Italian workers have about 1 hour lunch break and if the canteen is not available, they would go to a restaurant and have a set meal for workers (which is usually cheaper). Sometimes they get tokens from their employers to allow them to buy cheap meals. Having a proper meal is considered paramount in order to work properly.
In today’s hectic lifestyle a lot of people seem to eat “on the run” or in front of their PC’s which is a sad fact of modern life.
I know a lot of you must be thinking “but I have no access to a kitchen at lunch time!” Well, what I have now learned to do is taking a packed lunch in a vacuum flask.
Twice a week my school aged daughter is given a packed lunch comprising of pasta, frittata, chicken pieces or a similar hot meal which can be made the night before and could be leftovers too especially if you cook a little bit more food for dinner the night before.
Buon appetito a tutti!