Lunch is also an important meal of the day like breakfast. It provides essential fuel for both the body and mind to maintain energy levels throughout the day. Consuming lunch every day can contribute to development and nourishment both physically and mentally.
In this guide, we will further explore the benefits of having lunch, the potential consequences of skipping it, and the healthiest options to consider for your midday meals.
Why Lunch Is Important?
Lunch is an afternoon meal of the day. It is considered a vital meal, which provides the necessary energy in your body to sustain energy level throughout the afternoon, or a couple of hours thereafter. It is also important for your brain function because it helps you to keep focus on your work, increase productivity, and enhance cognitive abilities.
Furthermore, lunch is essential not only for adults but also for children. A complete lunch meal provides vital nutrients and vitamins to children to develop both physically and mentally. Based on the study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in 2023, researchers found out that children who consume complete meals during lunch have a higher chance of maintaining good health and reduced risk of falling ill.
Benefits of Eat Lunch?
Eating lunch can help you with several benefits. The benefits include stabilizing blood sugar, boosting metabolism, improving brain function, increasing nutrition, and enhancing social engagement.
1. Stabilize Blood Sugar
Having a balanced meal during lunch helps stabilize blood pressure and sugar levels in the body by maintaining sufficient energy and reducing frequent mood swings. Consuming healthy foods rich in protein, fiber, and fat slows down the absorption of sugars into the bloodstream and keeps you active for longer periods.
Besides, protein foods like fish, chicken, and meat along with fiber foods like vegetables and fruits will regulate blood pressure levels by providing a consistent source of energy and reducing hunger levels during work.
2. Boost Metabolism
Consuming healthy protein food at lunchtime helps to boost metabolism, which is essential for your body functions such as breathing, digestion, movement, blood circulation, and repairing damaged tissue or cells.
According to research from the National Library of Medicine, individuals who constantly skip lunch are more likely to experience weight gain compared to those who eat lunch regularly.
3. Improve Brain Function
Nutritious lunch can severely improve brain function by enhancing mood and reducing stress. Having a satisfying complete meal releases neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, which are important for your mood and to keep you healthy. Moreover, reducing stress thus helps you to increase your cognitive function and decision-making abilities.
4. Increase Nutrition
A balanced lunch provides many nutritional benefits like fiber, protein, and carbohydrates that keep your mind and body functioning adequately throughout the day. A packed lunch or bringing your own lunch allows you to control your food and ingredients, thus helping you to provide a healthier lifestyle and stay fit.
5. Enhance Social Engagement
Lunch break enhances social engagement with people, colleagues, or family. It helps you to build better communication and understanding of people effectively. It makes your mind and body recharge or refresh and thus improves work performance and socializing.
What Happens if You Skip Lunch?
Skipping lunch can significantly deteriorate your body and mental condition. Here are some of the consequences that you would likely face if you skip lunch for a longer period.
- Avoiding lunch for a longer time gains excess weight in our body by having the usual amount of food.
- Decreases the activity of metabolism, therefore reducing the shortage of breathing, movement, digestion, blood circulation, and rehabilitating ability of damaged cells or tissue.
- Lead to tiredness and lack of energy level due to less fuel in our body we get from the food.
- The body can get weak and sometimes it can result in fatigued and shaky.
- Lack of food can impact cognitive function, affecting memory, and decision-making.
- Consistently skipping lunch can have long-term health issues, and result in chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
8 Best Healthy Lunch Food
Here are some of the healthy lunch food options, which are suitable for your workplace and balanced diet.
1. Lentil Soup
Lentil soup can be a good option to start with your lunch as it contains high protein, fiber, micronutrients, and complex carbohydrates. It will help you with the dehydration, blood sugar, and digestion. Also, it will boost the immune system of your body.
2. Chicken Wraps
Chicken wraps can be a lighter choice, but it is considered healthy due to its ingredients. It comes with a generous portion of chicken, tomatoes, red onion, avocado, and charred aubergine, which is good for cholesterol and weight maintenance.
3. Avocado & Egg Sandwich
Avocado and Egg sandwich can have a positive impact on the balanced macronutrients. Avocado contains healthy fats, potassium, fiber, and magnesium, while egg provides protein, vitamin B, and vitamin C.
The combination of both creates a balanced meal to keep you full for a longer period.
4. Chicken Burrito With Rice & Beans
A chicken burrito with rice and beans provides a well-rounded balance of ingredients and essential nutrients. Chicken offers protein, carbohydrates, and fats. On the other hand, rice and beans are known for being nutritious and low in calories.
5. Canned Tuna
Tuna is a seafood that is high in protein, and consuming it keeps you full for long. It is a valuable source of omega-3 fatty acids, which is beneficial for your heart and cognitive health. Besides, it’s inexpensive and convenient to take anywhere.
6. Veggie Burgers
A plant-based meal like a veggie burger can be a good healthy treat for your lunch. It is often made with wholesome ingredients such as vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, which are a great source of vitamins, protein, minerals, and fiber.
7. Protein Salad
Consuming ample portions of proteins in a salad can help with your weight loss, enhance metabolism, and reduce hunger for a longer period. Protein salads such as chicken salad, avocado & egg salad, lentil tuna salad, and many more will keep you in good shape and health.
Hummus, a traditional Syrian dish made with chickpeas, tahini, garlic, olive oil, salt, and lemon juice offers a substantial amount of protein and fiber. It’s not only nutritious but also a powerful food that can satisfy your appetite fully and can able to work longer actively.