Like with breakfast, we often don’t pay enough attention to the importance of a healthy lunch. Many of us work through the lunch hour or have a quick bite to eat on the way to the next appointment. This is a more typical scenario in our culture than in others. In Europe, for example, lunch is a time to meet up with friends to share a leisurely meal that is often followed by a stroll in a nearby park or a siesta at home.
Taking Time to Eat a Nutritious Lunch
Has Many Health Benefits
Taking time for a lunch break does not necessarily mean cutting the day short and getting less work done. On the contrary. People, who allow themselves to relax and recharge their batteries during the day, usually have more energy left in the afternoon and early evening. Look at the French, for example. For them, lunch is sacrosanct. Yet, they are considered to be some of the most productive workers among industrialized nations.
One of my favorite eating styles is the so-called “Mediterranean diet,” which is basically a combination of the culinary cultures around the Mediterranean Sea. This entire region is known for its great love for food. People also spend a great deal of time to eat together with family, neighbors and friends. Often, the main meal is lunch, not dinner.
While this lifestyle doesn’t work for everybody, it is important to understand the health benefits we all can receive from eating a healthy lunch and taking our time to do so. So, let’s look at some the options.
Lunch at home
Having lunch at home, of course, gives you to most choices. If you work from home, you can arrange your breaks at will. Making lunch for yourself and other family members should be a quick and easy task. Sumptuous BLT- or tuna sandwiches come to mind. Perhaps, you have soup left over from the night before. A fresh salad always sounds inviting. None of these are difficult to make.
Lunch on the go
When you travel or your day is too full to squeeze in a regular lunch break, you may have to grab something at a deli or a fast food place, just to keep you going. Perhaps, it is not the best way to meet your nutritional needs, but even here you have choices. Believe it or not, you can actually get a salad at places like McDonald’s® or Denny’s®. It may not be their specialty, but they give you the option. Keep in mind that the healthiest salad can quickly be “ruined” in terms of calorie and fat content if you don’t pay attention to the dressings you pour on. A pasta salad may sound delicious, but it can be heavy and bog you down when you need your energy. A tuna- or turkey sandwich provides a good source of protein, but it can be quite filling.
When conferences and presentations go on for an entire workday, an office lunch is often included. While it is important to have a meal that can boost your energy, it also matters greatly not to overeat and get bogged down by heavy foods that are hard to digest. A chicken salad served on a croissant is a popular choice, but the calorie count can be high. Try a turkey sandwich on whole wheat instead. Seafood salads are good. When you have a salad, any salad, make sure you keep your dressings light.