Are these 6 mistakes at lunch setting you back?
It’s the middle of the morning, and your stomach is already growling. Your mind starts to wander, thinking about all the all the delicious options you can choose during this lunch break that you’ve earned. Careful though, because this meal plays a massive role in your productivity for the rest of the day. It’s also going to impact your fitness goals, especially if you are trying to get lean and healthy. Here are some of the most common lunchtime mistakes. Are you guilty of any of them?
Mistake 1 - You eat out (almost) every day
Do you go out to eat at restaurants with your colleagues most of the time? Or do you grab a fast food meal? Eating out once in a while is perfectly fine, but eating out all the time can lead to poor meal choices. They may bring you some gratification in the short term but are they helping you reach your broader goals and the satisfaction you will feel when you achieve them?
Takeaway - Taking the time to cook something extra in the evenings or doing some meal prep is a simple way to avoid this trap. As a bonus, it's also a great way to save money which you can spend on something else you find enjoyable. If we’re all honest not having enough time is just an excuse and usually not a good one at that.
Mistake 2 - You eat too fast
Work is busy — back-to-back meetings and appointments. Everyone wants something done yesterday, and you can’t make the time for a relaxed, leisurely lunch. When you eat too quickly, it's easy to forget about portions and overeat. Furthermore, your food probably isn't chewed properly meaning your digestive system has a much harder time breaking down your food and absorbing nutrients. Interesting fact: A study published by the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found a direct correlation between higher speed of eating and a higher Body Mass Index
Takeaway - Try to schedule in your lunch break and make it your sanctuary. Take your time to enjoy your food and to chew every bite thoroughly. You’ll not only be recharged and more productive, but your digestive system will thank you for it too.
Mistake 3 - You eat on the go or in front of your computer
If you’re not paying attention to what you eat, you will most likely consume more calories and overeat. This is easy to do if you like to squeeze your lunch in while you’re rushing from place to place or at your desk.
Takeaway - Take the time to eat mindfully. Try to make lunch a social activity and sit together with colleagues for a chat while you eat. This will not only help build trust and friendships but also promote better digestion
Mistake 4 - You only have a green salad for lunch
A plain salad won’t fill you up and isn’t a balanced meal. Even if you’re trying to cut calories or lose weight, you can boost your salad without making it an unhealthy choice. Overeating may be detrimental but so is undereating.
Takeaway - Make sure your salad includes all three macronutrients. Use dark leafy greens as a basis but add some veggies (the more colour the better!), toss in a protein source of your choice (lean meat, eggs and chickpeas are an excellent choice), include some complex carbohydrates (like quinoa or beans) and top it off with some healthy fats like olive oil as dressing or avocado.
Mistake 5 - You only drink soft drinks or fruit juice
Soft drinks and juices don’t quench thirst; they supply you with large quantities of empty calories.
Takeaway - Go for water instead. If you feel like it's too dull, you can add some fruits or ginger or mint to your water to spice it up. Coconut water or sparkling mineral water also make for refreshing alternatives.
Mistake 6 - You only eat when you’re starving
It’s all too common that we skip meals, especially the first meal of the day. By the time we do get around to eating our appetite is so ravenous it tempts us to eat anything we can get a hold on and can often lead to poor food choices.
Takeaway - Plan to eat regularly and even keep some snacks around like yoghurt, berries and nuts for those moments between meals. This avoids the hungry monster and will also help your weight loss or fitness goals. Be in control of the situation and not the other way around.
Break these bad habits and replace them with new ones that will lead you to success. We are creatures of habit, and we tend to do a lot of things without realising. Once you can notice and name things, you are empowered to make a change. Set yourself up for success, dominate the day and make it a great one!
As a Certified Online Trainer and Precision Nutrition Coach, David is committed to helping busy professionals build healthy habits that are the keys to success.