We often hear that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but why are we not paying a lot more attention to our lunch? A nutritionally balanced lunch can play a key role in regulating both our calorie intake and appetite through the afternoon, making a solid argument for taking even a few minutes to enjoy a midday meal. So, if you are one of the many people who find themselves grabbing something on the go at 2 or 3pm each day because you’ve skipped lunch, here are the easy steps to make lunch more of a priority in your day.
Where do we go wrong with our lunch?
One of the biggest issues when it comes to our lunch choices and our health is that very few lunches we buy at cafes or food courts are good options nutritionally. Popular lunch options like sandwiches, wraps, pastas and even sushi that are commonly available can contain as much as double the calories of a healthy lunch we would make at home thanks to the liberal use of fatty meats, sauces and oils.
What should I eat for lunch?
Achieving the right lunch balance to support weight control is relatively easy. To get the amount of vegetable bulk we need to keep full for 3-4 hours we need at least 2-3 cups of salad and / or vegetables at lunch.
Next, a decent serve of protein such as canned tuna, lean chicken breast or beef or beans or tofu if you prefer a vegetarian eating plan.
The amount of carbohydrate you will need will depend on your level of activity. If you sit down all day for work, just ½ -3/4 cup sweet potato, beans or brown rice or a slice of bread or a few crackers will be adequate, more active people may require 1-2 cups.
Finally, do not forget the good fat – olive oil dressing, nuts or avocado will help to slow your digestion after lunch and keep you full. In fact, a recent study published in Nutrition Journal found that individuals who included ½ an avocado with their lunch felt more satisfied and had lower blood glucose levels than dieters who did not.
What are some good lunch options?
The average female who spends much of the day sitting will need a lunch that contains 300-400 calories or the equivalent of a small sandwich or a couple of sushi rolls. Or even better is a nutritionally balanced yet calorie-controlled options as offered in the Lean Cuisine range. *** Frozen meals are extremely convenient as you can purchase them in advance and keep them at both home and work for a quick, nutritious, calorie-controlled lunch option.
The secret to lunch success
A simple way to not only improve your nutritional intake at lunch, but to actually enjoy the process of having a lunch break is to make sure your lunch is a meal you enjoy and are looking forward to eating. A portion controlled serve of some of our favourite meals like Spaghetti Bolognese or Thai Green Curry you can find in the Lean Cuisine range means you can enjoy warm, comforting food whilst keeping your nutritional goals on track.