Ayurveda says, lunch is supposed to be the most important and the heaviest meal of your day. With reason too. You need a substantial energy boost during midday to avoid an early evening crash. Here’s a lowdown on 5 things to keep in mind as you gear up for your lunch.
1. Never Skip It
No matter how busy you are or how badly you want to lose weight, missing your lunch is a no-no. Your body is ready for food and the stomach acids have started pouring in in anticipation of food. In fact, digestive juices begin to be secreted long before you actually taste food. The first thought, sight, or smell of food can be enough. In the absence of food, these attack the inner lining of your digestive tract. The result is pain, bloating, and nausea.
Another problem with skipping your lunch is that you’d willy nilly overcompensate for it in the next meal. That’s like throwing your metabolism off balance.
Not hungry at lunchtime? Oh no! What did you eat for breakfast? Or as your mid-morning snack?
2. Don’t Eat What You Don’t Like
Don’t force yourself to eat healthy but insipid food. You can carry on for only a few days before you attack junk food with a vengeance. Besides, unless you like what you are eating, your digestion doesn’t work as well. Like we said, the thought, sight, and smell of food can be enough to kickstart the digestive process.
Agreed, some healthy foods don’t taste that great. And it might take you years to develop a palate for them. Do not despair. Turn around boring food with flavorful spices and seasonings. A dash of black pepper and roasted cumin powder and a drizzle of lemon juice can add a lot of oomph to a broccoli soup. An orange vinaigrette dressing can lift the most boring of leafy salads. Get the drift?
3. Don’t Eat the Same Lunch Everyday
No, not even if you are eating the healthiest salad in the world. You need a variety of foods to get the variety of nutrients required to keep your body up and running; so repeating the same foods can easily lead to deficiency. Not to mention boredom.
Keep the macros constant – carbs, proteins, fat, fiber – but change the sources. For instance, you don’t need to get your protein from a braised chicken breast every day. Switch it up for some kidney beans. Looking for a source of fat in a salad? Switch up the olive oil for avocado. Play around with your many many food options.
And do cheat once in a while.
4. Don’t Eat Too Little or Too Much
Nobody ever lost weight for good by starving themselves. Rather, eat wisely to build muscles so that your metabolism gets a boost and you burn more of what you eat.
Don’t eat all you can at lunch if your job or life situation doesn’t need you to stay active for the next 2–3 hours. Eat till you are about 70% full – that is, when you feel you could eat one more helping if you tried. Don’t try.
5. Don’t Eat at the Desk or on the Go
Again, no matter how busy you are, enjoy your lunch. Give it your full attention. Chew every morsel mindfully. Savor the flavor. Only then would you digest it perfectly and feel satiated. None of these would be possible if you eat at the desk, your mind occupied by work, or on the go, worrying about future tasks.
Your brain takes about 20 minutes to realize you are full. So if you eat too fast or mindlessly, you’d already have overeaten by the time you realize you are full. You’d also be less likely to binge-eat in other meals.