Creating a Nutritious Work Lunch

### Prioritizing a Balanced Lunch for Better Energy and Focus

Trying to make time for a nutritious lunch during the workday can feel like a losing battle. Between meetings, deadlines, and a never-ending stream of emails, many of us give in to the convenience of fast fare — or worse, skip the meal altogether. But no matter your schedule, a balanced lunch deserves to be a priority.

“When you skimp on lunch, your blood sugar dips. That zaps your energy, focus and stamina,” said Lina Begdache, a dietitian nutritionist and associate professor of health and wellness studies at the State University of New York at Binghamton. And low blood sugar takes your mood “from happy and motivated to hangry and stressed out,” she said.

### Strategies for Making Time and Choosing the Right Foods

So how can you make time for lunch? And what should you be eating? The goal with a midday meal is to consume the right mix of lean protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. That generally works out to about 25 percent protein, 25 percent unsaturated fats, and 50 percent complex carbohydrates.

“Complex carbohydrates (found in foods like brown rice and whole wheat bread) are better choices than simple carbohydrates (like those in white rice and white bread) because your body won’t convert them into sugar immediately, and then run out of energy,” said Erin Palinski-Wade, a dietitian nutritionist in New Jersey.

### The Importance of a Balanced Meal for Sustained Energy

Because complex carbohydrates are rich in fiber, they’re harder to break down, so they move through the intestines more slowly, keeping you fuller for longer and providing a steadier stream of energy. Adding sources of lean protein (like grilled chicken, fish, or black beans) and unsaturated fats (like avocado, olive oil, or nuts) will slow digestion even further, helping you stay satisfied and productive for the rest of the afternoon.

To help you achieve a balanced lunch, nutrition experts recommend following these guidelines and preparing meals in advance to ensure you have a nutritious option readily available during your busy workday. By prioritizing a balanced lunch, you can improve your energy levels, focus, and overall well-being throughout the day.

Original Story at www.nytimes.com – 2024-06-18 09:00:59

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