If you are looking for what to have for lunch, try peaches and banana. Not only will they fill you up, you will take in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and still not add appreciably to your weight. Not bad if you are like me, not so young and watching everything you eat.

Why not? After all, the body is not what it once was, the food-grinding machine of a sixteen-year-old – or a twenty-six-year-old, for that matter.

Cheeseburgers or Egusi/Melon soup with pounded yam are yummy food, but you don’t always need to eat them – unless, of course, you are lucky enough to be into manual labor.

But I am not so lucky, as I mostly do a sedentary job. Not that I don’t like my job, but I wish it came with some real physical activities – just enough to break sweat and keep the weight perpetually off, but not so much as to tire the ankles, the knees and the bones. I’ll be needing those when I hit age ninety, like my nonagenarian friend. Well, that is by the way.

For a start, peaches and bananas complement each other like water and cement. In combination they will quench your hunger and satisfy your appetite.

If you are wondering where to get fresh peaches and bananas, stores like Big Y, Stop and Shop are my favorites. Locate a store close to you, where you can get easily get your supply of fresh peaches and bananas.

Until I began to write this article I never knew that peaches could refresh the body, the face, the appearance of the skin, and may even slow the ageing process. You don’t need any more reasons to include peaches in your menu, do you?

One particular afternoon I was searching for what to eat for lunch in place of almond nuts. Normally I skip lunch because I think lunch is unimportant, especially if you are like me, with a sedentary lifestyle. I sit around all day, occasionally getting up to stretch a hand, but quickly sitting back down on a chair.

The point is that I don’t do much and therefore do not deserve much food. Some days, however, when I felt hungry (not without a sense of guilt), I would drive to a nearby store and buy a sachet or two of almond nuts. Immediately I got back to the car, my finger would rip open the small plastic bag and decant nuts, three or five at a time, until I was done. After that I would face the other pack and deal it a blow just like I did the first. Each bag was a walloping 130 calories, so together this little snack gave me 260 calories.

Most times my hunger would vanish, allowing me to continue through the day with my sedentary lifestyle of sitting on my stool, occasionally standing up if I have to stress a point when talking to parents and their children, doing the best I can to alleviate, even if only temporarily, their physical and sometimes their mental afflictions.

Don’t misunderstand me. There are times I will go from one consultation room to another, across the short hallway to the refrigerator to select a vaccine or stretch out a hand to rummage through the wall cabinets for a needle, syringe or gloves.

Nobody in their senses would call any of these activities anything but sedentary, for which a heavy load of food, such as pounded yam or Garri, or rice or goat meat or soup or French fries or hamburger or sandwiches, would be unnecessary. That is why I tried to keep my lunch very simple and limited to almond nuts.

So, that afternoon when I was searching for what to eat in place of almond nuts, my mind settled on banana and peaches. Well, it wasn’t that I never ate banana or peaches, but I never knew it could be such a good replacement for my two packs of almonds at about 260 calories. Somewhere in my brain, banana and peaches had been hiding in plain sight since I saw my son Jermane bite of a wedge of banana and my daughter Amy bite of a chunk of peaches.

“Is that all the peaches you bought?” I had asked Amy, when I saw her eating a big peach. ”Yes, Dad, sorry,” she said.

Next day at lunch time, instead of purchasing two packs of almonds at the corner store, I went to the ‘Stop and Shop’ food store and selected two ripe but firm peaches and a bunch of four ripe, firm bananas.

Back in my car I searched under the seats and found a half-full bottle of water with which I washed the peaches. I set one peach on a clean napkin on the front passenger seat and held the other one, reexamining it for dents and soft spots, which I dislike in fruits.

Satisfied, my teeth bit into it and took a chunk of juicy peach. What a delicious, refreshing, slightly tangy flavor! The velvety feel of the skin made me want to hold the fruit a little longer, but hunger was getting the better of me.

Peaches are nutritious, with plenty of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. I don’t think they are given the respect they deserve among the fruit family.

Banana is a very popular and ubiquitous fruit, so there is no need to discuss it in any detail, only to say that I take time to choose my banana since I want it exactly the right way, not overripe or under-ripe, just ripe, and strong and easy to peel from the top, not squishy. Like peaches, bananas contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

As usual the banana did not disappoint, and I ate two of the four. Soon after my hunger went away I began to suffer from post-gluttony despair.

Perhaps I have overindulged in food, sweet food which I still remember my grandmother warning me against when I was a young boy. I had run away to stay with her in my village at Akokwa, because I wanted to escape the scrutiny of my parents. My mother in particular would come so often to my room to check on me and ask, “Are you okay, my son?” even though all she wanted to know was who I was hanging with. Grandmother never bothered with any of that; she would bring some bitter leaf soup with dry fish to me, her eighteen-year-old grandson: bitter leaf soup, cooked with dry fish.

Oh, I miss Grandma. Forgive me where I have digressed, but I thought you should understand the kind of person I am – at least a little bit of what I was as a child.

Forced by the kind of person I have become, I added up the calories and the cost of two peaches and two bananas. A peach, the size I ate, was about 70 calories, two of them, 140 calories. Say a humongous banana contains 150 calories, two would contain 300 calories. Together, two large peaches and two humongous bananas add up to about 440 calories; not so expensive either – all for the price of just $2.00.

Peaches and bananas fill the stomach better than two small packs of almond nuts. Next time you are wondering what to eat for lunch, try two peaches and two bananas. I promise you will enjoy them. If you are a weight watcher, don’t feel guilty; you will have had a healthy meal and only consumed about 500 calories.


By Papa

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