Let's Do Lunch
Which Meal is Actually the Most Important?
Lunch gets neglected. We are told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and that dinner is family time. But lunch is often a rushed event. We’re at work, and we have an hour or less to run errands, fight the lunchtime rush, and get back to what we were doing. Some people work through lunch and turn to snacking as a stopgap measure to hold them over until dinner. Lunch is frivolous. Lunch is the province of fast food, fast casual, leftovers, or whatever else can be heated in a microwave. While breakfast and dinner get a world of culinary devotion, lunch is for sandwiches. Everyone is too busy to go out.
It’s a shame because lunch may be more important than we realize.
A Big Lunch Might Be Good for Your Health
Nutritionist Helen Bond told The Sun Online: "There is evidence coming through that having the majority of your calories earlier in the day seems to be more beneficial than having a heavier evening meal. It's about shifting the bulk of your calorie intake more to the middle part of the day—rather than eating a big meal late at night—and going to bed on an empty stomach. But it's also important to be mindful of your overall calorie intake throughout the day.”
In other words, if you are particularly conscious about what you eat, it might be good to also be aware of when you eat. Going to bed on an empty stomach may be better than having a heavy dinner to digest through the night. So, when breakfast comes around, you are literally “breaking your fast.”
"The old tradition is breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper, and I think that very much rings true today," Bond added. "Having a good breakfast refuels you after the overnight fast and provides you with energy to concentrate and improves your mood. For lunch time, if you are having a heavier meal, you have the afternoon to use all those calories."
A Lunch Break Might Be Good for Your Mood
It may be tempting to “power through” the afternoon with only a short break, but our productivity does diminish without a more substantial lunch break.
According to DeskTime.com: “A study of UK workers showed that only 30 percent take a proper lunch break (more than half an hour) and over half of the workers (52 percent) are skipping their lunch break entirely.”
A lunch break helps workers to reflect, reset, and renew their efforts in the afternoon. The human brain isn’t capable of working eight hours straight.
"If you're pushing people well beyond that time they can really concentrate maximally, you're very likely to get them to acquire some bad habits," K. Anders Ericsson, an expert on the psychology of work, said.
Also, Eating Away from Your Desk Might Help You Not Get Sick
One final interesting note: Research shows that your workspace is incredibly filthy. From DeskTime.com, “The average workplace desk can be 100 times less hygienic than your kitchen table, and 400 times filthier than the average toilet seat!” Yikes.
When you eat a quick lunch at your desk, you are sharing your meal with more germs and microbes. It might be a good idea to no longer neglect your lunch break and step away from your workplace.
Return of the Lunch Box
The good news is that you can always fix your meal at home the night before and bring it to the break room, if you don’t want to go broke eating at the closest restaurant every day.
Fixing lunch is a good habit to get into, economical and healthy. Small changes in your mealtime routine can be make a huge difference, and possibly giving lunch greater priority would be a good place to start in this new year.
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