Lunch is the focus this week! Your goal will be to become “color-minded” when deciding what you will eat for lunch — at least 3 to 4 different colors. Here’s what I mean...
How often have you survived most of the day with a cup of coffee and a bar? Chances are by the afternoon you are lacking energy and are finding it hard to concentrate. This is because men and women need between 400-600 calories for lunch as fuel to sustain us through a hectic working day. On the other hand, if we eat too many calories, we can become sluggish, and even fall asleep. This is because a high intake of carbohydrates encourages the body to produce serotonin, the chemical which brings on lethargy. The ideal lunch should contain a mixture of vitamins, minerals, fat, carbohydrates and protein.
When To Eat Lunch
Enjoy your lunch about one to three hours after your morning snack. If you eat breakfast around 7:30 and your morning snack around 10, aim to eat lunch around 12. Or if you like to exercise at noon, enjoy your lunch when you get back around 1. If you tend to forget to eat because you're so busy, set an alarm on your phone or computer to remind you to stop and nosh!
Colors Are Important
Think rainbow! To ensure your body is getting a good combination of nutrients make sure your plate looks colorful!
Orange/Red foods contain beta-carotene, which turns into Vitamin A. Green foods are the powerhouse foods, which contain potassium, dietary fiber, folate, vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin C. Yellow foods are high in alpha- and beta-carotenes, which have been linked to increasing immunity, decreasing the risk of some cancers, and healthy eyes and skin. Blue/Purple foods get their bright hue from anthocyanins, which have been linked with antioxidants and anti-aging properties in the body.
A good lunch will provide enough energy to sustain you throughout the afternoon. The key is not to eat too many carbohydrates and to eat the right kinds!
“Gorging on carbohydrate rich foods such as white bread, pasta and potatoes will make you sleepy,” says Catherine Collins of the British Dietetic Association. “This is because large bursts of carbohydrates encourage the body to produce serotonin, the chemical which causes lethargy.”
The carbohydrates you eat should be wholegrain - such as wholegrain pasta, brown rice, and quinoa. These release energy more slowly than white carbohydrates and are also high in B vitamins and fiber.
Chicken, egg, cheese and tuna sandwiches on wholegrain bread all contain low carbohydrates, protein and low fat.
If you want to shed the pounds, avoid salads with mayonnaise. For the best nutritional value, choose salads containing red peppers and tomatoes. This is because red peppers and tomatoes contain phytochemicals - or plant substances called lycopene.
Lycopene is part of a group of nutrients which produces ‘antioxidant’ activity in the body. This property gives lycopene the potential for reducing the risk of conditions such as heart disease and cancer caused by destructive molecules called free radicals.
Soup can be an excellent dish for lunch because it is warming, nutritious and sometimes low in calories. Choose mixed vegetable or minestrone soup for a variety of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Nutritionists recommend five different vegetables a day, and soup is an easy way to achieve this goal. Just BEWARE of high sodium (MSG), highly processed soups. Homemade is the best way to go, or opt for Whole Foods Lunch Bar—great selections of soup!
Beans and couscous
Legumes such as chickpeas, kidney beans and black beans are great sources of protein. They also contain soluble fibers, which help keep our guts healthy. This is because they provide an important bacteria in the gut known as 'friendly bacteria', which helps to defend the gut against infection.
Legumes are beneficial to the heart. This is because their fibers attach themselves to cholesterol in the gut, helping to remove it from the body.
12 Weeks Total Recharge
Our 12 Weeks Total Recharge blog series is dedicated to help bring your body to a place of rejuvenation, a strong and lively place. Each week we will focus on a specific topic and provide key information to help achieve the best YOU. You can use the links below to view the previous and next post in the series or you can view all posts here.
Body Basics offers personal training, group fitness classes (including mobility) and nutrition counseling at our facility in beautiful downtown Boise. Contact us to discuss how we can help achieve your goals for a better you.