Food is a basic necessity of every living thing on Earth. From plants to animals and humans, we all need to eat to live. Eating a balanced diet is the key to maintaining good health. Good health is one of the best assets a working person can offer. Employees might have a hard time doing so but nonetheless, eating lunch is important. But what constitutes a healthy lunch?
What is a healthy lunch?
Preparing your own food for work may sound like a tedious chore but it sure has benefits. You get to monitor your nutrient intake. Here are 6 things to consider in assessing if your lunch is healthy or not.
1) Is my plate composed of non-starchy vegetables? Non-starchy vegetables fill you up faster without compromising the calorie content. They have high water content and cholesterol helping fibers along with vitamins and minerals. Broccoli, cucumbers, leafy greens, and bean sprouts are a few non-starchy vegetables you can try.
2) Am I eating protein? Protein helps the brain function well. You can’t skip your daily protein intake because you need it to power through the rest of the day. The recommended protein intake is 20 to 30 grams or about a piece of salmon or chicken breast.
3) Have I taken a moderate amount of healthy fats? Healthy fats may be healthy but they are high in calories. They help you keep full for a longer time. Healthy fats are found in avocados and olives.
4) Am I taking in whole grains? Whole grains are full of fiber. It helps you keep full. You can eat whole grain bread, wheat, quinoa, oats, and brown rice.
5) Am I getting enough nutrients like fiber? Did you know women needs at least 21-25g of fiber in a day while men need around 30-38 g. You can get fiber through beans, whole wheat bread, fruits, and many more if you check.
6) Am I drinking enough water? Water is essential to humans. It is said that you can last 8 to 21 days without food but you can’t last more than 3 days without water. It carries on multiple of your bodily functions that’s why it has become more important than food. Men are recommended to drink 15.5 cups or 3.7 liters. While women need 11.5 cups or 2.7 liters a day.
Importance of eating a healthy lunch
Some say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But actually, it’s lunch! Especially for working people, eating a healthy and balanced lunch will help them power through the remaining hours of the day. Getting enough nutrients through food will help us develop our physical, cognitive, social, and psychological well-being. It may not be easy to plan your meals ahead or prepare your own meal because of how busy their schedules are so hectic that some people choose to skip their lunch meals.
Side effects of skipping meals
Experience energy decline.
As your blood sugar decreases, you might feel more tired than usual. Our brain relies on glucose. If there is not enough glucose that our brains can use, there would be disruption in our thought processes and other bodily processes.
Skipping a meal or not eating for a long period will have a serious take on your mental health. As your blood sugar experiences a drip, our bodies will produce cortisol – the stress hormone. Our body reacts to the cortisol hence leaving us feeling anxious or depressed or irritable.
Mess up your Circadian rhythm.
Circadian rhythms are bodily changes that follow the 24-hour cycle. It’s a part of the internal body clock. It includes body processes like our sleep-wake cycle, eating habits and digestion, and temperature. Messing up with the circadian rhythms can affect our sleeping patterns and even our eating habits.
Develop strong food cravings.
If you are skipping meals because you think you will lose weight – you’re wrong! Since your blood sugar decreases, your body will be in need of a quick and short burst of energy. Your body will settle to having energy through uncontrolled snacks and meals. This might lead to binge eating and obesity.
Be at risk of nutrient deficiencies.
If you don’t eat, you are missing your opportunity to replenish your body with essential nutrients. While carbohydrates is essential, one should not resort to consuming refined carbs because it has no nutritional content.
You can become more constipated when you skip your meals. It will be your body’s response to the irregularity in your intake. Plus, you will have lesser opportunities to eat fiber-rich foods which will aid your digestion.
Higher risk of eating disorders.
People may not just suffer from binge eating but it can also lead to other eating disorders like anorexia, bulimia, and many more. It isn’t only healthy for your body but also for your overall well-being.
Eating becomes a chore.
Eating is an experience. You have to use all your senses and make it meaningful and enjoyable. After all, it’s your body’s way of gaining what you lost.
The bottom line is – EAT! You should listen to your body’s need to be a fully functional individual. Your body needs all the nutrients it can get to get through your everyday life.
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