What I see more often than not is women (specifically Moms) completely forgetting to have lunch OR instead, constantly “grazing” throughout the day. When I look at their food record, there are little mini-meals or snacks from about 10am to 4pm instead of a good balanced lunch. I get it though- there are play dates to attend to, doctors appointments to get to and work to be done. Oh, and of course making sure that our little ones are fed. It’s amazing how much time and energy we put into our kids, only to completely forget about our own health isn’t it?
Here’s the truth- lunch is important (the 2nd most important meal of the day) for proper health and maintaining a healthy weight. If that’s not motivation enough- your kids are watching you and modelling after you. Why should they eat a healthy lunch if Mom doesn’t? It’s not normal unless Mom does it (is what they’re thinking)…
The Three Keys to Lunch Success:
1. Create a routine:
Make sure that you sit down for a healthy lunch between noon and 1pm everyday (as an example) whether it’s at home, the mall, at work, wherever…
2. Plan ahead:
Whether you do some meal planning on the weekend or have a list of easy healthy options next to the fridge, make sure you do a bit of planning. Always make sure that you have healthy options on-hand.
Here’s a list of foods that I ALWAYS have on hand that I can mix and match for lunch: Yogurt, cottage cheese, soy milk, individually wrapped cheeses, hummus, cut-up washed veggies, fruits like apples, pears, bananas, berries, canned light-flaked tuna, nitrate free deli meats, whole grain bread and pitas, whole grain crackers, salsa, spinach, peanut butter, almond butter, home-made muffins, canned beans, low-sodium vegetable soups and of course chocolate (for dessert).
3. Make it easy:
Choose 3 things. Some protein, a whole grain and some veggies or fruit. Don’t overcomplicate it. Here are some examples:
- Grilled tomato and cheese sandwich with vegetable soup
- Yogurt and frozen fruit smoothie with a homemade muffin
- Pita wedges, hummus, raw veggies and an apple
- Peanut butter and banana sandwich
- Mini cracker sandwiches with meat and cheese with either veggies soup or raw veggies and dip
- Leftovers from last night’s dinner!
Grazing thoughout the day may seem like a good idea, but it’s not. You will never really feel satisfied and you’ll keep reaching into the pantry (likely for snacky starchy foods) only to create a blood-sugar rolloercoaster until dinner time. Skipping lunch also promotes overeating at night and may even send you into sumo-mode. It’s important to insert healthy snacks in between meals if they are longer than 4 hours apart, but it’s a completely different scenario if all you’re doing is snacking all day.
Lunch is super important and should not be forgotten. Not only does it refuel your brain and body for the rest of the day, but it also keeps your metabolism going strong and decreases your chances of overeating later. If you’re on the go, pack some healthy options in an insulated lunch kit. If need be, grab a healthy sandwich or some sushi and fruit when you’re out and about. Don’t let it slide though- your body will make up for it later (and more).
For more tips, tricks and recipes check out my Facebook page where I post articles daily.
Did you know that we provide one on one nutrition counselling services for families? If this is something you’d like to learn more about, check out our The Centre For Family Nutrition page.