The Thriving Farmer – Information to Help Farmers and Their Families Make Healthful Choices

Joseph Maiorano, OSU Extension, FCS Educator Harrison County

Lunch: The Fuel You’ll Need

Farmer, you work hard. During a 10-15-hour workday, you will burn between 2,500 and 6,750 calories (, nd)! Before leaving for work, you may eat a nutritious breakfast, yet few farmers consume enough breakfast calories to fuel them for the day. In other words, you will need additional energy to fuel you through the afternoon and into the early evening.

One size does not fit all

Some farmers may go home for lunch, others leave home with a packed lunch, and some may have a loved one deliver their lunch. Also, some farmers stop working to eat lunch, but others may continue working while they eat lunch. So, lunch happens, yet what are some healthful lunches to fuel a hardworking farmer (Six healthy...ideas, 2019)?


Homemade soup, comprised of protein, vegetables, and legumes, can be nutritious. If you make a big pot-o-soup, then you could freeze, or pressure can, individual portions. Packing soup in an insulated or vacuum sealed container can help soup to stay hot or cold. A hot soup may not be a one-handed work-through-lunch option, but it could help warm up a wintry afternoon. 


By varying combinations of proteins, dairy, condiments, vegetables, and breads, sandwiches offer endless possibilities. Moreover, sandwiches made with whole grain bread may help lower your risks of health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers (Whole grains, 2020).


Salads, as sandwiches, have limitless combinations. A salad, made with fruit, cruciferous vegetables, dairy, protein, and whole grains, can be a hearty one-container lunch with plenty of fuel for a busy afternoon.

Leftovers, Planned Overs, and Make Aheads

Sometimes after dinner, you might have leftovers, which can be packed for next-day's lunch or frozen for another day. Similarly, planned overs, or intentionally making more food than one plans to serve for a meal, are set asides for lunches. A make-ahead is preparing and storing specific food for future use. For example, you might spend Saturday morning packing lunches for the upcoming week.

Farming is demanding work, so farmers burn many calories. Eating healthful lunches is one way to help you get the fuel you’ll need to be at your best.

Joseph Maiorano, FCS Educator Harrison County can be reached at 740-942-8823 or This column is provided by the OSU Extension Agricultural Safety and Health Team,

Sources (nd). Downloaded on October 27, 2021, from,,350%2D450%20calories%20per%20hour.

Six healthy and delicious lunch ideas. (January 23, 2019). Gina Abernathy. Downloaded on October 27, 2021, from,

Whole grains: Hearty options for a healthy diet. (August 20, 2020). Downloaded on October 29, 2021, from,