Our complete guide to coming up with healthy lunch ideas to keep yourself healthy and chock full of those good nutrients.
There are far too many working people out there who skip lunch, if you ask our opinion.
It’s one thing if you have no time, if you’re strapped for cash, or if there are any major circumstances preventing you from eating normally and healthily.
For those who have no excuse to do so, however, skipping lunch can be bad for more than just your long-term health — in the short term, it can affect your productivity and happiness.
But what does a good lunch look like for people who work in an office? Should you always pack, or can you order in sometimes? What are the major parts of it you should keep in mind?
Fortunately, we here at Zippia wondered the same thing. Here are a few tips to help you figure out your own answers to all of the above questions (and more lunch-related quandaries).
Skipping lunch is a lot like going on a miniature hunger strike, and as a result, your body reacts in comparatively unhealthy ways.
Your brain needs a new batch of glucose every 4-6 hours if you hope to remain functioning at normal levels. The only way you can get that glucose is by eating — and once that 4-6 hour timer runs out, your body starts running through its stores, and once those are depleted, then things start really getting dour.
At this point, your body starts fuelling your brain by using fuel that would normally be powering other (similarly essential) body functions.
Not to mention that with the way human brains have developed their survival functions, the longer you go without food, the more you’re going to be thinking about it. It’s just the way you’re programmed.
If you’re working a normal 9-5 and have only eaten breakfast, you’re going to start getting hungry around 11am-1pm. Four or more hours is a long time to be thinking about your next meal, and you’re virtually guaranteeing that even if you do manage to get work done, you’ll be at least partially distracted the whole time you’re doing it.
At that point, there are still many miles to go before you sleep (or eat, as the case may be).
But getting a healthy lunch in can be tough — not to mention expensive, if you find yourself eating out more often than not.
So what are some methods for getting in a good lunch, without requiring too much prep time or breaking your bank account in the process?
Whether you’re eating out or bringing your lunch from home, it’s important to remember that not all lunches are created equally.
You need a few major elements in place to ensure that your lunch doesn’t end with you either still hungry, too full, or otherwise hunched over your desk clutching your stomach for your remaining hours at work.
Here are the biggest things to keep in mind when constructing (or ordering) your lunch for the day:
So with all this in mind, we come to the final piece of our advice for the day:
What are some good examples of these kind of healthy lunches?
But real quick, before we get into that, let’s wrap up one question still hanging in the air: is it possible to eat healthy and cheap if you’re only eating out for lunch?
The short answer is no, unless your work is compensating you for every one of these lunches. And even then, the odds are low that you’re going to find a restaurant that’s healthy enough and has enough variety for you to be eating healthy lunches every time you go out.
Eating out for lunch once or twice a week, if you can afford it, is fine, and probably won’t destroy your walking-around money.
But you’re going to want to learn how to start bringing at least three out of your five weekly lunches from home, at least if you hope to make any real progress when it comes to eating cheap and healthy meals on the reg.
Now, onto the main event. Here are some excellent healthy lunch examples you can try for yourself (recipes can be found online in a number of varieties):
That’s all for this one! Just keep in mind:
The main thing to keeping up with a healthy diet is to remain consistent with it — not with eating specifically the same foods over and over, but with the commitment to healthy eating itself.
The easiest way to do so is to keep things cheap, simple, and, above all, tasty.
You want to do your best to make it easier for you to think about and prep healthy lunches than it would be for you not to do so.
Humans are creatures of convenience — so find foods that you truly enjoy, and experiment to find the healthiest and easiest ways to put them together.
In no time, you’ll find yourself putting together your week’s worth of lunches without even a second thought.
Best of luck! Here are some other links to help you on your way:
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