Lunch marks a critical midpoint to your day. Choosing what you eat for lunch can set you up for success. However, a poorly planned lunch may result in you consuming excess sugars, fats, and empty calories that can make you feel sluggish a couple of hours later.
In contrast, a well-balanced meal at lunch will help you feel fully satisfied, regulate hunger, reduce your chances of overindulging at dinner, and improve energy levels and mood. Contrary to what many people think, prepping a well-balanced meal for lunchtime doesn't require much more work than throwing an unhealthy lunch together.
Wellness on Demand is here to help you learn how you can prepare a balanced lunchtime meal that will set you up to feel more energized and stronger throughout the day. Follow these tips and read our regularly updated health and wellness blogs to switch to a healthier lifestyle. You can also find podcasts for mental wellbeing in our collection of some of the best fitness podcasts for men and women. Stay tuned.
Here are some tips for creating a nutrient-dense and balanced meal to replace your unhealthy lunch habits with healthier ones.
#1- Use Lean Proteins
Building your lunch around a healthy source of protein can help you feel satisfied in two ways. Protein requires more time to eat and even more time to digest. This means a protein-rich meal may last longer while you're enjoying it and will simultaneously help you feel fuller for longer.
Protein-based meals are also usually rich in energizing nutrients like iron, zinc, and vitamins. Moreover, it also helps to build and retain muscle mass, which is the key to tackling daily tasks strongly and vibrantly.
#2- Choose Fiber-Filled Foods
Foods with high fiber content are crucial for sustaining energy. Your body takes longer to digest fibers and proteins, helping you feel full for extended periods. Fill your salad bowl with high-fiber ingredients or fiber-rich bread to feel energetic throughout the day.
By adding adequate amounts of fiber to your diet, you'll also reap benefits like lowered cholesterol levels, improved digestion, and reduced risk of various cancers.
#3- Keep Your Lunchtime Portion Size in Check
Large portion sizes can also be a culprit in unhealthy lunching habits. While everyone has different calorie needs and activity levels, you still need to keep your portions in check.
For those who are very active or work out during the late morning, a higher calorie lunch may be needed to facilitate muscle recovery and replace glycogen stores.
Less active people should opt for lunches with fewer calories. It's best to eat smaller meals throughout the day as long as the portion sizes are adjusted.
Packing Nutritious Lunches
Packing lunches that will provide the nutrients our body needs doesn't have to be complicated. Try to prep meals at home and bring one portion to work. It helps save costs and ensures you consume enough food in the right combinations and proportions to keep you energized and full for longer periods.
Pair lean protein with healthy fibers and fats. You can prep easy grab-and-go lunches with a healthy mix of nuts, veggies, and fruits that pack well. Ensure to drink water throughout the day because not getting enough hydration can cause some people to experience brain fog or feel tired.
It's also a great way to avoid sugar-filled beverages or caffeinated drinks that provide an energy boost in the short run but leave you zapped and dehydrated while contributing nothing to your nutrition.
Most experts emphasize including well-balanced, satisfying, nutrient-dense, and enjoyable meals in your daily routine to feel your best throughout the day. Wellness on Demand has a bunch of recipes that would make your lunch feel like a welcome reprieve from your busy day. Our health and fitness blogs and podcasts focus on helping you reconnect with your physical and mental needs.
While well-balanced and nutritious meals provide the reset you need to remain productive and choose foods you enjoy is smart. This way, it will be easier to stay consistent as you upgrade your lifestyle to a healthier one. Find delicious recipes you'll want to add to your lunches here.