What you eat for lunch affects your productivity for the rest of the day.
High-fat, high-sugar lunches make us sleepy and have low energy by 3 p.m., says Lisa De Fazio, a healthy lifestyle expert and registered dietitian, so it’s important to go heavy on the protein and healthy fats and easy on the carbs when choosing what you eat for lunch.
Of course, we can all come up with plenty of excuses to make poor eating decisions during the workday.
Luckily, whether you bring your lunch, buy it, or scrounge something from the noon meeting, there are plenty of healthy lunch options that will keep you from passing out at your desk.
'Believe it or not, a peanut butter and jelly on whole grain bread is a great choice,' De Fazio says.
She suggests choosing all natural almond or peanut butter and all natural fruit preserves. 'Pack some baby carrots and an apple, and you have a healthy vegetarian lunch that reminds you of your childhood,' she says.
For those who prefer to order lunch, De Fazio says she prefers bowls to burritos because they're less messy, and she likes that restaurants like Chipotle let you personalise your burrito bowls with healthier options. She suggests ordering your bowl with rice, lettuce, chicken or beef, salsa, guacamole, and go easy on the cheese.
'The rice will give you just enough carbs to feed your brain without overdoing it,' she says. 'The chicken or beef give you protein to keep blood sugars steady, and guacamole is a healthy fat that keeps you fuller longer. If you want to order double protein, go for it.'
De Fazio says you should skip the chips and beans. Fried carbs will only slow you down, and you don't want to be bloated and gassy at work, she says.
And if you're snagging lunch at a conference or work meeting, De Fazio suggests skipping the high-fat croissants and opting for sandwich platters with basic white or wheat bread or wraps.
Again, opt for the leaner meats like turkey breast, or go vegetarian. If there are baked chips available, go for them. But always choose fresh fruit instead of high-fat potato salad, De Fazio says.
Or you could opt for a grilled salmon or chicken entree with a side of rice and vegetables.
'These choices are balanced meals, higher in protein and vegetables, and are easy and neat to eat while discussing business,' De Fazio says. 'The last thing you want at a business lunch is to be eating a messy plate of pasta or a burger that gets sauce all over your face!'
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