Eating lunch is just as essential to energy levels for breakfast. Learn why!
We always hear that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but what about lunch? Lunch is easy to put off during those busy work days, when parenting or while you’re in the midst of conquering a forever-to-do list! There may even be days when you only get in two bites before you’re distracted and find yourself famished right before dinner. Just like with breakfast, many people think that skipping lunch may seem harmless, but if it becomes the norm, then it can negatively affect your health- mentally and physically.
Whether you simply lose track of time or don’t realize you’re hungry until you’re famished – skipping lunch happens to the best of us! If you find yourself leaving out lunch on a regular basis or you’re just not doing a good job of planning for something healthy, you might find yourself often grabbing unhealthier options such as candy bars, chips and whatever is at the vending machine. Let’s dive into reasons to eat lunch and how to get ahead of the insatiable hunger before it starts!
Stay on Track with Your Goals
Even if you generally make healthy choices, when your body feels hungry from skipping a meal, all your great efforts to eat well can go out the window. You may overeat and end the next meal feeling like you ate everything in sight. You reach a point of desperation and all your body wants is food. When it gets to this point, you are more likely to eat something that packs a punch with the calories and provides you with little nutrition. Make lunch part of your routine, just like getting to work on time. In a study, people who ordered before 12:00 pm (before they got hungry) were found to order fewer calories and healthier beverage options than those who ordered after that time. (2) Here are a few ways to stay on track:
- Add it to your to-do list. At first, this may seem to just make your to-do list longer, but over time it will become part of your routine, and you’ll feel great crossing it off the list every day!
- Prepare food on Sunday that you can portion out for at least three lunches that week.
- Make a list of healthy go-to take-out options. When you place an order, you can order an extra dish, or save leftovers from dinner for lunch the next day.
Keep Your Blood Sugar Stable
Skipping lunch can make your blood sugars plummet. We all know that feeling of being shaky and trembling, where our minds start to feel a bit foggy and something just doesn’t seem right. This usually sets in when you’ve gone too many hours without putting any type of food (especially carbohydrates!) into your system. No matter how big your breakfast was, skipping lunch can bring about these uncomfortable symptoms. Here are a few tricks to keep in mind:
- Keep wholesome snacks available. If you are running late for lunch, this will keep you from crashing and reaching for junk! Think whole grain crackers, dried fruit, non-fat Greek yogurt, low-fat cheese sticks, homemade trail mix, or even a spoonful of peanut butter with some fruit!
- Hydrate healthy and stay away from beverages with added sugars! Try making your own fruit and herb infused water and pair it with a piece of fruit or crackers instead.
Now that you’re on your way to befriend lunchtime, here are a few of our favorite quick meals to get you started:
- Sweet Potato Macaroni and Cheese
- Mango Kale Black Bean Quinoa Salad
- Easy Lentil Tomato Feta Salad
- Black bean, quinoa and corn salsa salad
- Breakfast for lunch: overnight oats