There has been a lot of discussion lately about school lunches and how to make sure your kids have healthy options but this applies for us big kids too!
Eating in the middle of the day, several hours after breakfast, re-energizes your body and helps balance blood sugar levels when focus and concentration are flagging. If you’re feeling sluggish, eating even a small lunch can renew your energy and help you feel refreshed and ready to take on the next several hours.
In addition, eating lunch keeps your metabolism stay active, especially if you have a moderately sized meal and a snack before and afterward. Not eating for long periods of time creates gaps in time that slow your metabolism and result in less fat burning.
Lunchtime can be a real battle for most 9–5’ers. There are a lot of temptations, especially if you don’t bring your lunch and need to venture to the nearest restaurant or food court to find food. It’s always advisable to bring your own lunch, prepared the night before, so you are not scrambling in the morning.
Having a lunchtime meal between the hours of 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. does more than stop the hunger pains. Eating a balanced lunch helps stabilize your blood sugar and replenish your carbohydrate storage so that you can think clearly and avoid those mid-afternoon cravings.
What Should You Eat for Lunch?
The simple answer is all three macronutrients: a carb, a protein and a fat. Having a balanced lunch means that you need to combine all three of these components into one meal. Below are some meal examples for you to choose from.
2 cups raw baby spinach
½ cup sliced cucumber with skin
½ cup celery
¼ cup sliced peppers
½ cup chickpeas
2oz. boneless, skinless baked chicken breast
5 large olives or 10 small olives
1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil +
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1 cup of low-sodium, tomato-based vegetable soup
3 oz. piece of wild Pacific salmon
½ cup bean medley – flavor it with 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1 chicken or turkey breast
1 cup stir-fried veggies – use low-sodium soy sauce to mix all ingredients together and add dressing
Tip: Add in ½ cup of beans or lentils to your lunch on most days of the week. Research has shown that those who consume beans, which are really high in fiber and an amazing vegetarian source of protein consume less calories in the remainder of their day. Additionally, those who consume ½ cup of beans or lentils with lunch report far fewer cravings in the afternoon.
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Yours in health,
Melanie Grime RHN
WOW! Weight Loss Practitioner
Melanie Grime is a holistic nutritionist, WOW! Weight Loss Practitioner and a member of the Better Health team (www.betterhealthclinic.ca) serving the Orangeville, Dufferin, Wellington, and Caledon areas. She treats everyone as an individual with their own specific needs and helps clients suffering from health issues by looking for the root cause of symptoms and working with them to reach their health, weight loss and nutrition goals.