Lunch should be relaxing, but is it? We sometimes find ourselves racing through it so we can get back to our desks and stress out some more.
“But you don’t understand, Ellie. I don’t have time! I’ve got to stand in line at Burger King or the corner deli, eat quickly and get back in a half hour!” Oh, you have to go to the deli? What about bringing your lunch? “But that’s boring and even more time-consuming.” Oh, is it? I make “planned-overs” when I create dinner. I place them in containers and take them with me to reheat. I also make a batch of pasta sauce or homemade soups that will last for several lunches.
Remember to bring a mid-morning snack. Fruit is a good choice because fruit is full of nutrients and will keep your brain working with its glucose. Bring non-messy items like bananas, apples and cut up fruits. Grapes are perfect because you can pop one in your mouth and keep working. Graham crackers with a small amount of peanut butter or a low-fat yogurt is easy to carry.
Now Let’s Discuss Lunch. Have a Plan:
Lunch should consist of good quality proteins such as chicken, turkey, tuna, lean ham or roast beef. Protein will keep you energized for 2-4 hours, without that afternoon lull so many encounter.
- Create homemade crock-pot soups on your day off and freeze some. I love split pea and ham, a light corn chowder, zesty chicken noodle, vegetable beef. Use only low sodium broth or bullion and low-fat evaporated milk instead of cream. If you can’t cook, find a low sodium soup such as Healthy Choice. Place it in a cute container and microwave it at the office.
- A few times a week, pre-wash and cut your dark leafy greens and place in an air-tight container. In the morning, throw together a nutritious salad to bring to work. Include one slice of Swiss cheese, parmesan or mozzarella. The whiter the cheese, the less fat it contains so go easy on cheddar. Place only a tablespoon of dressing/vinaigrette in a small separate container.
- Create “planned overs”. Whatever you make the night before, keep some to bring to work. Leftover pastas, chicken, stews, Hungarian Goulash will taste even better the next day.
- Create wraps and whole grain sandwiches, using lots of vegetables and only 2 slices of meat. If you want juicy tomatoes, place in a small container to add later. Use mustard, not mayonnaise.
- Your children can create their own lunches while you explain why it’s good for them.
- Have ice water with lunch, not soft drinks, and you’ll stay more energized and refreshed.
With all the money you’ve saved on fast food, get a piggy bank and start stashing away your new-found cash. Soon you’ll have enough to present yourself with a non-food reward!
With extra time, you can exercise by going up and down stairs or benefit from a walk. Get out of the office, sit in a park, enjoy the air and people watch, savor the sunshine on your face! Rushing back to a hectic paced workplace is stressful. Is that how God wants you to live?
If you must eat out, know before you go so you’re not tempted with something breaded and fried. Choose:
- A low-fat Subway sandwich on whole grain bread. Make sure you load up on all the great veggies they offer!
- Chick-fil-A chargrilled sandwich
- KFC Honey BBQ sandwich
- A slice of veggie pizza
- McDonald’s Wrap
Whatever you choose, you own it! So do you like it enough to wear it? If you indulge in a fattening lunch, vow to consume a low-fat dinner. Who’s in control, your intelligence or your emotions?!
I Corinthians 9:17 “but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.”