Whether you are a work-from-home contractor or a busy clerk in an office, workweek lunches can be a tricky meal. Did you know that up to 82% of people skip lunch at work?
Indeed, when workers are busy, they take fewer breaks, which means they work during their lunch break. Many feel guilty about taking a break to eat.
However, skipping meals is not a good idea. Contrary to common belief, not having lunch is unlikely to help you lose weight. In fact, it can even have the opposite effect, finding yourself over-eating in the evening. Additionally, skipping lunch doesn’t mean that someone doesn’t eat anything. Most people buy snacks to eat during the day, increasing the consumption of fat and sugar. Snacks are not always bad. But the typical office snacks often include donuts, chocolate bars, and chips rather than fruits and healthy protein!
Even if you avoid the snacks and keep your portions under control in the evening, you are at risk of developing vitamin deficiency and weakening your metabolism.
The bottom line: Many professionals skip lunch, which can have dramatic consequences on their health. So, how can you avoid the lunch trap?
Bring back the lunchbox
There was something endearing about having a lunchbox. It is a self-contained meal for when you’re away from home. While lunchboxes used to be popular at school and in the office in the early days, they’ve gone out of fashion.
However, now’s the perfect time to bring the old lunchbox back to ensure you can have something yummy and nutritious during the day. It is a change of habit and you’ll need to plan ahead and prepare your grocery shopping. You may be worried about grocery expenses if you pack a lunchbox. The good news is that you might find yourself saving money along the way! Indeed, you are less likely to crave unhealthy snacks. You can also fill your lunchbox with leftovers, which reduces food waste.
Healthy and quick sandwiches in your lunchbox
The ideal meal should include a healthy mix of protein, carbs, and fat. Remember that most of your energy comes from carbs: 1g of carbohydrate provides 4 calories of energy once the body converts carbs into glucose and glycogen. Glucose circulates in the blood to your organs, while glycogen provides energy to your muscles. You might think that sitting at a desk requires little energy, but your brain utilizes up to 25% of the body’s glucose. Additionally, carbohydrates also ensure mental sharpness, making them a necessary part of your lunch.
Sandwiches are the perfect quick pick-me-up during the day if you are short on time to prepare your lunchbox. What does the ideal sandwich meal contain?
- Aim for wholegrain bread for slow-release energy
- Use selected cold cuts as protein as they are high in energy
- A few slices of cheese will add healthy fat
- Add lettuce, cherry tomatoes, or pickles for taste boost
You can also pack fruit for dessert: Bananas replenish your energy levels and help you feel full. If you are not used to having lunch, make sure to pack a lot of small portions, so you can eat them during the day rather than in one sitting.
Leftovers and salad lunchboxes
If you choose to pack a full meal, it can be a good idea to prepare your lunchbox at the same time as you’re cooking dinner the night before. Leftover lunches are a great way to control your portions in the evening. If you cook too much for your family, you can reserve extra portions for lunchbox preparation. However, leftover meals often need to be reheated, so they are unsuitable for offices with no microwave oven. Leftover meals tend to be satisfying as they keep you full for the day!
Salads are also a time-demanding process, as you need to prepare all ingredients. Yet, if you don’t use dressing (which shortens the lifetime of fresh ingredients), you can pack your salad lunchbox days ahead and grab it when you need it. What should a healthy salad lunchbox include:
- A source of protein such as chicken breast, salmon, boiled egg, etc.
- Healthy, slow-release carbs such as grains, whole-grain bread croutons, beans
- A source of fat, such as avocado or as part of a packed dressing sauce
The idea that a healthy salad should only contain greens is incorrect. Lettuce and other leaves bring crucial vitamins and minerals. However, they are a poor source of macro-nutrients, which means they can’t fuel your body. Additional healthy ingredients means additional nutrients.
Having lunch regularly can completely transform your productivity at work and your health. The brain needs fuel to focus, which means you can avoid the typical afternoon slump. Besides, keeping your body nourished helps maintain your metabolism and immune system, keeping your health, weight, and even mood under control.
So do yourself a favor – Have some lunch!