We all know that what we eat can be critical to our health, wellbeing and even our weight loss goals but what about how we eat?
Perhaps it's not something that many of us think about often, let alone thinking about it in relation to our lunch meals.
It turns out, that how we eat can play a very important role in how well we digest and metabolise our food.
This ultimately can help influence how well our body works.
So, rather than wolfing down lunch while doing 10 other things, let’s show you now how to upgrade your lunch meals.
Pre-lunch meal tip #1 – Stress less
If you have the option to, about 10 minutes before lunchtime start transitioning into less stressful work.
Our body has an autonomic nervous system consisting of 2 branches, the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system.
Most of us know about the sympathetic nervous system as responsible for the fight and flight response.
While the parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for rest, digest and repair.
For you to properly digest your food and turn it into energy effectively, you need to be in a parasympathetic state.
And this means reducing stress as much as we can leading into meal times.
If you’re still feeling a bit tense from your morning of work, you need to try this below before you eat.
Lay down and then do 10 deep belly breaths
This can help drop you into that parasympathetic state and help you be more present with your lunch.
Pre-lunch meal tip #2 – Move a bit
Several studies have shown that some movement before a meal, whether that be an exercise session or simply just a walk in the fresh air, can help improve our cell’s insulin sensitivity and keep our blood sugar stable.
What does that all mean and why is it important?
Insulin sensitivity is a measure of how well our cells can take glucose from the bloodstream and put it into cells to turn into energy.
The more sensitive we are to insulin, the more stable our blood sugar will be throughout the day.
This translates to reduced cravings, more stable energy and lower risk of many metabolic diseases.
Another bonus is that walking can help reduce levels of cortisol, which is our stress hormone.
Eating lunch tip – Eat mindfully
This is the best part.
Mindful eating is simply being present with your meal.
Some ways to do this are;
- Eat away from your desk, laptop and phone
- Spend lunchtime in good company or by yourself if you prefer
- Find a calm environment to eat, bonus points if it’s filled with greenery
- Express gratitude before a meal (perhaps you’re grateful for this post)
- And plenty of other ways
It's a matter of finding what works for you when eating mindfully and also taking into account not looking like a dill around the office.
Think about your food, feel your food and be at one with your lunch for the ultimate results.
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After your lunchtime meal
Sit for at least a few minutes before getting up and heading back to work.
This lets your food start to digest and lets you have a bit of time out mentally before firing up for a big afternoon.
Walking after a meal is also incredibly beneficial as it helps to reduce your blood sugar spike.
So a few times round the block or walking to see Sharon in accounts at the end of lunch wouldn't hurt you before you head back to your desk.
Back to the office after lunch
One final tip for you is to take advantage of standing work stations (if they’re available).
A couple of studies showed that standing after lunch or even alternating between standing and sitting reduced blood sugar spikes quite substantially and even helping to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes!
So this definitely is more beneficial for you than a quick nap under your desk after lunch.
Putting it all together for your ultimate lunch
So what does this all look like?
What do you have to do to bring all of this information together to create the ultimate lunch?
Here's the plan for you.
- Do some easier tasks at work for the last 10 minutes before leaving for lunch
- Do 5-10 squats
- Walk to a nice, nature filled area to have lunch, preferably with friends and without work conversation or phones
- Enjoy your food
- Chew at least 38 times (just kidding, chew as much as you like!)
- Sit for a brief period
- Walk back to work
- Stand if possible – or alternate between standing and seated arrangements
Don’t be surprised if any or all of this reduces your cravings for the rest of the day and you feel much more energetic.
Feeling hungry? Where to from here?
This can seem like a lot of information for many.
Perhaps overwhelmingly so.
But, Fear not, you don’t have to do all of these above to get some benefits.
Just start by picking one, progress, get use to that one and see how your life (and lunches) begin to change.
We must say the Wholefoods Bars work extremely well as a lunch time dessert (or a dessert for breakfast, lunch or dinner for that matter!).
Which of these above is your favourite way to upgrade your lunch?