Countries with the highest obesity rate in America 0:51
Editor’s note: Lisa Drayer is a nutritionist and a CNN health and nutrition contributor.
(CNN) – If you’ve tried eating healthier foods, you’ve probably heard of the benefits of breakfast. But you may be wondering if a lunch break is important even with a busy schedule.
“If you take the time for a filling and balanced lunch, you can better organize our day in terms of eating and make us more aware of our hunger signals,” says nutritionist Tamara Duker Freuman. “That way, we can eat when we’re hungry and we are less likely to be snacking all day long.”
Even if it’s only 30 minutes, a lunch break helps “avoid the afternoon low and keep you energized for the rest of the day,” says nutritionist Lisa Young, author of “Finally Full, Finally Slim”.
Skipping lunch can lead to more than just hunger pangs, low blood sugar, and irritability. It’s also almost a guarantee that most of the calories will be consumed in the afternoon. According to Freuman, this can have a devastating effect on your waistline and health. It can also contribute to sleeping problems.
“I often find that patients struggling with excessive, uncontrollable late-night meals feel much more comfortable when they come to dinner sufficiently satisfied and not particularly hungry because they have a good breakfast and a very complete and balanced one Got lunch, ”he says. Freumann.
How to take time to eat
Making time for lunch doesn’t have to mean preparing a large meal. The key is to think of lunch as any other date of the day and plan it from the moment you wake up.
Planning your lunch will help avoid cravings for junk food when your blood sugar starts to drop.
First, choose an approximate time for your lunch break. Next, decide what to eat. If you work from home, it is a good idea to prepare your food the night before so you can get it out of the refrigerator at the time of eating.
While lunch breaks may not work for everyone, it is a good idea not to eat anything in the late afternoon, especially when trying to manage your weight. In a study of 420 obese people, those who ate lunch before 3 p.m. lost more weight over a five-month period than those who ate lunch later, even though they had the same number of calories and comparable amounts of fats, proteins and Consumed carbohydrates.
Don’t forget to use lunchtime to switch off and refresh your mind. Taking a break from the screen can slow the speed at which you are eating and allow you to pay more attention to the texture and taste of the food so you can enjoy every bite.
And it’s not just about work: according to a study cited by Young in his book, people who played solitaire on the computer during meals ate faster, almost twice as much, and were less satisfied than people who weren’t distracted. while eating.
Simple and tasty lunch
An easy way to think about lunch is to combine vegetables, healthy protein, and high-fiber carbohydrates. If you want to add fat, choose healthy fats like olive oil, avocado, and nuts, says Young.
For a simple lunch strategy, you can use your plate as a visual guide.
Fill half the plate with non-starchy vegetables. Spoon the second half with protein like grilled fish or chicken and slow-digesting, high-fiber carbohydrates like beans or quinoa. (Note: beans and chickpeas can also count as protein.)
“It’s a formula that most people use for dinner, though perhaps not in these relative proportions,” says Freuman.
“One of my favorite foods is to make a Mexican-style bowl with crispy red cabbage, diced tomatoes, pickled onions, black beans, cheese, avocado, coriander, hot sauce, and some leftover corn on the cob or a handful of shredded tortilla chips. This meal makes it easy to go five or even six hours to dinner, ”says Freuman.
A grilled chicken salad is okay, but try adding a full tablespoon of chickpeas or a thick, hearty lentil soup as a side dish, Freuman said. A turkey or tuna salad sandwich on whole wheat bread is another great option for lunch, but add a few pieces of spinach and top with hummus on vegetables like cucumber, baby carrots, or strips of pepper.
Another Freuman’s favorite dish is a chicken fillet (which can be cooked in advance) mixed with cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers, accompanied by crispy toast with hummus and bagel seasoning.
“They are large lunches that help me get through the second half of the day without the distraction of hunger, and they assure me that after a day of work in the basement I won’t come home starved to finish everything in the closet,” says Freuman.
One of Young’s favorite foods is a vegetarian hummus wrap – a whole grain wrap with hummus, various vegetables, chickpeas and avocado. And if you want to eat something but are not hungry, Young recommends a high-protein Greek yogurt with berries and flaxseed.
Last but not least, the leftovers from yesterday’s dinner can be eaten for lunch. At home, it could be a small piece of fried chicken or grilled salmon with vegetables and a wheat salad.
Tips for preparing a healthy meal 1:50
Five delicious lunch ideas
Here are some other creative lunch ideas:
Pizzas in Flatbread with Spinach and Egg: “This recipe is a staple for me at any time of day, but it makes a particularly filling and stimulating lunch,” said nutritionist Ellie Krieger, presenter of Food Network and Public Television and author of a book-winning kitchen .
Turn pizza into a quick, balanced meal by using whole wheat pita as a crust and topping it with spinach and sun-dried tomatoes, plus a protein-rich egg and just the right amount of melted cheese, Krieger explained.
Lemon and Herb Orzotto with Garbanzo Peas: This “orzotto” is a type of risotto but is made from orzo with chickpeas to increase protein, according to Jackie Newgent, culinary nutritionist and author of an award-winning cookbook.
“Thanks to its range of vegetables and a generous amount of fresh herbs, it makes for a complete and delicious lunch – hot or cold,” said Newgent.
Tomato Avocado White Bean Bowl: This light lunch bowl is filled with spinach leaves. They’re high in lutein, an antioxidant that keeps eyes clear and glowing. There are also juicy tomatoes and creamy avocado. White beans and quinoa provide protein to satisfy your appetite.
Grilled Hummus Quesadilla: Filling a whole grain tortilla with hummus instead of cheese increases fiber and reduces saturated fat, according to Newgent. “If you cover it with a fresh, easy-to-prepare Mediterranean-style sauce, it becomes a colorful and filling meal.”
Avocado Mango Black Bean Wrap: This delicious and nutritious lunch option combines black garlic beans, sweet mango, and creamy avocado for a filling, high-fiber lunch.