What Lunch Break Looks Like In Greece

Okay, we can all admit that Greece is a dream travel destination, right? Whether it is Athens or Santorini, the views and the food are to die for in the southeast European country. Greece is known for its fresh meats and vegetables that combine to make the perfect, dip, salad, or, as The New York Times reports, the classic gyro. In America, we, generally, have three meals a day. Per TODAY, it is suggested by dietitians and health experts that breakfast be reserved for the largest meal of the day. But, for some, dinner might be their largest, as Wide Open Eats explains. However, we should mention that, personally, we are big fans of brunch.

Yet, back in the '60s, '70s, and '80s, Greeks, traditionally, focused on lunch as the main meal of the day. From 1:30 p.m. until 2:30 p.m., schools and shops were closed for the day and parents came home from work. This meant that more people had time to eat a big meal with, hopefully, some good food. According to Olive Tomato, lunch included vegetable casserole with cheese, bread, salad, and wine. For the wealthy, meat was a popular addition.

In modern-day Greece, big lunches are not as common due to the accommodations of the typical 9-to-5 workday, which matches the lifestyle of working professionals in America, too. Vegetable casserole may still be on the menu in Greece; however, pasta, grilled meat, and sandwiches are more likely to take over the lunchtime slot.

Lunch is more of a midday snack

Greek lunches are usually light in order to save room for the best time of the day: dinner. According to Tour Hero, common lunch dishes include gyros or stuffed flatbreads and moussaka — a popular dish comprised of potatoes, eggplant, zucchini, and ground meat. These are commonly referred to as midday snacks as opposed to a full meal. However, as The Telegraph explains, mesimeriano (or late lunch) is the largest meal of the day in Greece. You're likely to find dishes filled with roasted meat, feta cheese, and grilled fish on the plates of hungry Greek diners during this time.

Dinner is an entirely different story there. This is the time Greeks reserve for their family and friends. As you might imagine for these social gatherings, there's plenty of food to go around. Souvlaki is one of the items on the menu, per Tour Hero. Souvlaki is a famous dinner staple akin to gyros, in that it is made with pita bread, grilled meat, and tzatziki sauce. Currently drooling! Spanakopita (aka "spinach pie") is also a popular Greek dish.

Of course, as with Americans, Greeks typically save dessert for last after dinner. Ever heard of baklava? It consists of layers of buttered dough stuffed with cinnamon-scented walnuts and drizzled with honey syrup. Okay, now we are drooling even more. Be right back while we book a plane ticket to Greece.