How many times have you skipped breakfast and lunch and tried to survive a rigorous work day on only coffee and maybe a snack bar? If you did, chances are by the afternoon you lost concentration, almost all your energy, and maybe suffered a headache and felt sick. In another case, if you skipped breakfast or had very little, you may have been tempted to overeat at lunch, which may have left you feeling sluggish and sleepy. Although breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day, lunch presents a crucial opportunity to provide your body with much needed nutrients and energy to bridge the gap between breakfast and dinner. The average woman needs between 400-600 calories for lunch as fuel to sustain her through a hectic working day. The ideal lunch should contain a mixture of vitamins, mineral and nutrients found in healthy protein, carbohydrates and fats. Carbohydrates and fat provide energy and protein is essential for the structure and function of the body.
Lunch provides energy your body and brain need to sustain you through the afternoon, without pulling on the body’s reserves. Lunch also helps keep your blood sugar levels stable. If you skip lunch, your blood sugar levels drop and you can become irritable, sluggish and lose concentration. Your body’s brain and organs rely on glucose (which is what is created from the food you eat) to provide energy to keep going. If you skip lunch, your body will start to scream out for glucose, while your blood sugar levels drop. If this continues for several hours the body will start to self-cannibalise itself, which means it will start to feed off its own reserves. If you are skipping meals in hopes of losing weight in Mississauga and Oakville, the exact opposite will occur! Your metabolism will slow down because your body thinks it is being starved and goes into survival mode. As a result, instead of losing weight, your metabolic rate slows down and your body stops burning fuel – a recipe for putting on weight and fat!
The best time to eat lunch is between 12-1pm. If you wait too long to eat lunch you are more likely to pick at snacks that are very low in nutritional value and will hinder your in-home personal training Mississauga and Oakville weight loss goals, like: sweets, chips or baked goods. Your largest meal should be breakfast, followed by lunch, and your lightest meal dinner. Also, try to limit starchy foods in the evening, as you are physically less active that time of the day and excess calories from food will more likely be stored as fat.
Some great choices for lunch are:
Wholegrain or gluten free sandwiches and pasta – the key to eating a lunch that sustains you till dinner and will not put you to sleep is not overdoing the carbohydrates. Downing carbohydrate (carbs) rich foods like white bread, or pasta and potatoes will make you sleepy. Large bouts of carbs encourage the body to produce serotonin, the chemical which causes lethargy. Even cut down on your portions (have an ‘open-face’ sandwich, or less altogether) to help with this. Choose wholegrain or gluten free bread or even wraps for sandwiches and pastas. They will digest and release more slowly that the white versions, and are also higher in fiber and B vitamins. Add to your sandwiches or pasta sliced chicken, eggs, cheese or tuna, which will help balance out your meal.
Salads – are a great option for lunch as they can contain loads of nutrients, vitamins and minerals that are not only amazing for your body, but will also fuel you with lots of energy for your afternoon. Furthermore, you can load on other vegetables, fruits and nuts and seeds onto them for added benefit. Top your salad with chicken, eggs, tuna or a healthy cheese like feta or goat for added good fats and protein.
Soups – are an excellent choice as they are warming, nutritious and usually low in calories. Choose soups with lots of vegetables, lentils, fish or chicken flavours. Can be eaten with a wholegrain or gluten free slice of bread, or add a nutritious grain like quinoa to fill you a bit more and for a healthy carbohydrate source.
Fish – research shows that high levels of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish (salmon, trout, mackerel, herring and sardines) help keep the brain and blood healthy. Eating fish also helps to prevent a number of conditions including: heart disease and high cholesterol. It is also high in protein and has anti-inflammatory properties. Add some healthy vegetables and carbohydrate source to your plate and you have a great lunch.
Beans and grains – chickpeas, kidney beans, and mung beans are all examples of excellent sources of protein to add to your lunches. They also contain soluble fiber which helps to keep your gut healthy and guard against invaders. Furthermore, they are beneficial to the heart as they fight the ‘bad’ cholesterol that is harmful to the heart. They also help boost and sustain energy in the body as they are absorbed and digested at a slower rate. In addition, quinoa and cous cous are excellent vegan, and complete sources of protein, carbohydrates, and energy for the body and will leave you feeling fuller longer.
For more help compiling a healthy and weight conscious lunch to assist you in your in-home personal training Mississauga and Oakville weight loss goals, CONTACT US TODAY!
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