Lunch doesn’t get enough credit. Breakfast is famous as the most important meal of the day, and dinner prides itself on being a time for relaxing, unwinding from work, and connecting with family and friends. Lunch, on the other hand, is often wolfed down at a desk or squeezed in between classes. This is a shame, because lunch has a lot of potential – it can make the difference between experiencing the all-too-common afternoon crash and having energy that lasts till the evening. Keep reading for five ways to make the most of your lunch.
Go for whole grains
Do your lunches involve white bread, processed pasta, or white rice? You could be setting yourself up for a blood sugar crash mid-afternoon. To avoid a slump in energy, choose whole grains instead. Because they’re less processed, whole grains take longer for your body to digest and won’t spike your blood sugar – but they’ll still give you the slow-release energy you need for a productive afternoon.
If you find yourself reaching for a snack every afternoon, a low-protein lunch might be to blame for your hunger pangs. Protein promotes satiety, meaning it fills you up and keeps you fuller longer than other foods do. To stave off a growling stomach, try incorporating lean meats, beans, and even eggs into your lunch.
Skip the sweets
That cookie or soda might look tempting, but you’ll pay for it later. Sugary foods cause your blood sugar to climb rapidly and then plummet, which results in tiredness, headaches, and brain fog. You’ll feel more alert all afternoon if you steer clear of sugar at lunch.
Eat your veggies
Vegetables are versatile, and lunch is a great time to get some of your five a day. Veggies add flavor, fiber, and variety to your lunch without adding a lot of calories. Try a stir-fry, a salad made with your favorite greens, or a veggie wrap with hummus.
Brown bag it
If you’re used to going out for lunch, consider bringing your own instead. Restaurants don’t always foster the healthiest of eating habits, and by making your own lunch, you get complete control over your nutrition. You’ll save money, too.
Don’t make your lunch an afterthought! A few tweaks in your midday eating habits can make or break your afternoon. Are you inspired to give your lunch the attention it deserves?