September Fuel

We have all been’s lunchtime, your stomach has been growling for hours now, and you are so ravenous that you will eat the first thing you come across. This often leads to downing calorie packed, heavy foods that may taste good at the time, but often leads to sluggishness the rest of the afternoon. Or you could be going the other route by ignoring your hunger pangs and skipping lunch altogether because you are “too busy” to eat. Both options can easily lead to problems emotionally, in your productivity, and an increase in weight gain.

Lunch is an important time to refuel and nourish the brain with healthy food, oxygen, and water after a busy morning, and it may offer an opportunity to rest your mind and recharge for a productive afternoon.
A recent study suggests that as many as one in four people are too busy to take a break for lunch, and one in three people eat lunch at their desk.  If you find yourself among those who don’t break away for lunch, you may be doing yourself more harm than good. The professionals seem to agree that it is absolutely beneficial to take a lunch break.  It’s good for your brain as well as your spirit.  For example, researchers believe that one of the reasons we sleep at night is that our brains need the downtime in order to rest and repair themselves. A lunch break gives your brain a similar opportunity

The key to a quality lunch break is eating a simple, nutritious meal and not burgers and fries laden with saturated fat. High-fat lunches fill your stomach, but they also clog arteries and leave carbohydrate-hungry muscles unfueled. Your best bet in controlling what you eat is to pack your own lunch. Same thing goes for your children’s lunches, packing them a lunch is one way to ensure that your child will have a nutritious mid-day meal. Children who eat a nutritious lunch perform better in school. The best lunch is a combination of foods that supply protein, fat and carbohydrates to sustain energy and concentration for several hours. Eating foods from at least three food groups gives children the nutrients and energy they need to feel good and do well in school.

Here are some lunch packing tips to get you started:

Start at the Supermarket. Good nutrition starts in the supermarket. When shopping, plan for at least three different types of foods to include in each lunch--preferably from different food groups:
Low-fat dairy foods. Low-fat milk (for a thermos), yogurt (may be unrefrigerated for 4 to 6 hours without spoiling), low-fat cheese (for sandwiches, or to eat with crackers or bagels), cheese sticks, cottage cheese.
Fruits. Oranges, grapefruit, bananas, dried apricots or other dried fruits, or any seasonal fruit.
Vegetables. Raw carrots, green peppers (to be seeded and cut into wedges), tomatoes (for sandwiches), vegetable juices, salad ingredients.
Protein. Turkey, ham, lean roast beef (from the deli or home cooked), peanut butter, hummus, refried beans, bean burritos, tuna.
Bread and grain foods. Preferably whole-grain breads, bagels, crackers or other lightly processed grain foods; pretzels, popcorn.
Keep It Fresh. To preserve freshness, keep breads in the freezer and take out slices as you need them. You can make a sandwich on frozen bread; it will be thawed within minutes--certainly by lunchtime!
Make It Quick and Easy. Cook extra dinner and then enjoy the leftovers for lunch. Leftover casseroles, pasta, burritos, bean dishes, pizza, and soups can easily be reheated in a microwave oven.

Also, check out these websites for more lunch ideas and fun combinations:

Packing healthier lunches for you and your family does take some planning and work, but it is definitely worth it in the long run. But start out slow, try packing lunches a few days a week at first and let yourself or your family buy lunch a few days a week. The Fuel Good Cafe is the perfect place to go on those days when you don’t get a chance to pack. Here you will find everything you need for that quality lunch break, and you will be able to face the rest of your day head on! Pressed for time? Call ahead and we will have your order waiting for you when you get there!

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