Everyone knows the saying about breakfast… it’s the most important meal of the day. It “breaks the fast” from the night before, as well as providing you with important nutrients and energy to start your day off right. But as we focus on breakfast, often lunch gets over looked. Lunch, and dinner for that matter, is just as essential as that first meal of the day.
We need to continually provide our bodies with food to keep our brain awake throughout the day. The best lunches often contain a balance of complex carbs and lean proteins with about 500-600 calories. Complex carbs, such as whole wheat breads, brown rice, legumes and fruits, provide our bodies and brains with energy. They also provide a gradual rise in our blood sugar, so we won’t have a sugar “crash” later in the day. Lean proteins like skinless poultry, nuts, eggs or fish, help to keep us alert, and fuller for longer.
Be sure to limit fats and sugars – both which can drain your brain and decrease your performance. Meals higher in fat tend to sit in our stomachs longer make us drowsy. Although caffeinated drinks may give you quick energy, it won’t last for long.
Here are some suggestions to help you find a lunch that works for you:
- Tuna fish made with light mayo made with olive oil, on whole wheat bread with lettuce & tomato, a piece of fruit, a glass of milk.
- Salad made with spinach leaves, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots and broccoli. Add black or kidney beans for fiber and protein and top with oil and vinegar dressing. Have a cup of strawberries on the side.
- Stir-fry of tofu, peppers, onions, broccoli and mushrooms. Place over 2/3 cup of brown rice.
If you would like more suggestions on healthy lunches or help with your overall diet, consider scheduling a nutrition appointment with me. Call CNY Healing Arts in Syracuse, NY at 315-671-5755.
Heather Neely, RD, CDN
CNY Healing Arts Center