The optimal lunch
Goodbye greasy, heavy menus – the optimal lunch consists of light delicacies. But that doesn’t mean you only have to eat salad in the future. Carbohydrates should not be missing either – after all, they are among our most important energy suppliers. Overall, balance is important; the ratio of all components to each other is crucial. The plate model of the Swiss Society for Nutrition serves as a good guide. Whether in a restaurant or takeaway, it can always be implemented:
You should generously integrate this component into every midday meal – as a salad, raw vegetable, soup or part of a menu. If you can choose between a salad or a starch side dish in a restaurant, opt for the former and complement your meal with some bread, for example. Don’t fall into the calorie trap with the dressing: many salad dressings such as French, Thousand Island, and toppings such as bacon or croutons turn your salad into a calorie bomb. Instead, ask for vinegar and oil and make your own dressing.
Whole-food starch supplier
The proportion of whole-food starch sources should correspond to personal appetite and needs. If possible, opt for non-refined products, i.e. potatoes, polenta, pulses, wholemeal bread. For pasta, pizza or risotto, don’t be afraid to ask for half a portion and supplement your lunch with vegetables or salad.
Protein side dish
If you eat a portion of meat, it should not be too large (approx. 100 to 150 g) and not too fatty. This will help you avoid performance lows after the meal while your body is working on digesting it. Fish, dairy products (e.g. grated cheese), eggs or vegetarian alternatives such as tofu are also good options.
The drink with lunch deserves our attention, because whether we are well “watered” or not has a significant influence on our thinking performance. Water and unsweetened tea are perfect companions.
If you fancy a dessert, a fruit, fruit salad, or milk-based dessert such as yoghurt or quark is recommended.
Meal Prep: Healthy Takeaway
Whenever you have the opportunity, take something from home to work. This way you determine your own calorie intake from the start. Prepare meals for the next day or even for the whole week in advance – it’s less trouble than you think: cook more of dinner and pack the leftovers. Conjure up a new menu from leftover starch side dishes, such as a rice or pasta salad with vegetables and hard-boiled egg or tuna. Didn’t have time to stand at the cooker? Don’t worry. The supermarket shelves also offer healthy options. How about a wholemeal roll, accompanied by cottage cheese or cured meat and a salad or snack vegetables? Beware of prepared sandwiches – they often contain far too much butter and mayo.
Typical thinking mistakes when having lunch
“Only” having some fruit for lunch
Fruits contain fructose. If you only eat apples or pears for lunch, your blood sugar will shoot up and then drop again relatively quickly. The result: hunger returns very quickly. Combine fruit with protein (e.g. natural yoghurt). In this way, you can eat the optimal amount and slow down the rise in blood sugar with the help of the protein.
It is not advisable to skip lunch. If blood sugar drops, the risk increases of succumbing to ravenous hunger and raiding the snack machine or fridge for readily available, calorie overloaded carbohydrates.
Lack of protein and starch
If you rely solely on a salad or vegetable plate, this will not satisfy your hunger. Our bodies need protein and starch to fill us up. Starch suppliers ensure good thinking performance – our brain depends on them.
Take a real break!
To gather enough energy for the afternoon, it’s not only what you eat that counts, but also how you eat. Plan at least a 30-minute lunch break to recharge your batteries and celebrate the meal with relish. Step away from the computer and put the smartphone aside. Enjoy lunch consciously. This is the only way to feel full – which, by the way, only occurs about twenty minutes after eating. Once you are starting to feel full, stop eating, even if your plate is not yet empty. All in all, be mindful at lunch.
Recipe ideas for your power lunch!
To keep lunch healthy and interesting, enjoy a variety of different lunch dishes through the week rather than just having one or two dishes over and over. Try classics like spaghetti Bolognese, crunchy corn on the cob with coriander butter or baked asparagus with crème fraîche dressing. In our weekly growing Hermesetas recipe library you will also find lots of varied ideas for your power lunch.