The Importance of Eating Lunch
Is lunch important to your training performance? Do you really need this meal or can you skip it? A quick and healthy lunch will increase your energy and keep you full between meals. Most bodybuilders and athletes take six or more meals a day, so it’s hard to tell which one is lunch. In general, they consume three main meals, and several snacks or protein shakes. A good lunch leaves them energized and boosts their physical and mental performance.
Is Lunch Really Necessary?
Lunch is definitely one of the most important meals of the day. Without this meal, you’ll lack energy, lose concentration, and feel fatigued. Opting for a combination of lean protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats is the way to go.
If you’re planning to hit the gym after lunch, have a light meal about an hour prior. Those who are having lunch post workout should eat a small amount of simple carbs along with a significant serving of protein. This helps replenish muscle glycogen stores, prevents fatigue, boosts your energy and maximizes your recovery. You can skip the carbs on non-training days if you’re concerned about body fat percentage but either way, your post workout meal should come not long after your training.
There are plenty of reasons to have lunch and whether you opt for a quick snack or a larger meal, it’s recommended to at least eat something in the afternoon. When you don’t eat for several hours, your body turns catabolic. In other words, you’ll eat away at your muscle for energy. The worst part is that your metabolism will decrease and you’ll burn fewer calories throughout your day to day activities. If you want to lose weight, don’t skip lunch, that’s a huge mistake. At least grab a protein bar or a light snack to keep your metabolism fired up and muscle from being eaten away.
If you work out regularly to build muscle and improve strength, you should never skip lunch! For those of you who are dieting to lose weight, eat mainly protein and small portions of carbs when possible. If you must consume carbohydrates do it on the days that you work out, but little or no carbs on your off days will be the way to go.
What Should You Be Eating for Lunch?
There are hundreds of recipes that you could try for lunch, determined by your free time and cooking skills. Ask your health conscious friends what they do and learn from them. If you’re always in a hurry, try preparing your lunch ahead of time. This may stop you from snacking or eating junk food. If you have to purchase food from a café or bar, stay away from fatty or deep fried options. Keep your calorie intake to around 300-350 if you’re being conscious of putting on weight. It’s more than enough for one meal.
People who want to drop body fat should get their carbs from green vegetables and avoid fruits with high sugar content like apples and strawberries. A good example would be fish and big colorful salads with tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, olives, onions, and spinach.
Try healthy lunch recipes such as tuna salads, turkey wraps, fish and brown rice, chicken breast and green beans, sweet potatoes with chicken or turkey, shrimps, stir-fry dishes, or protein pancakes. If you’re eating out, order simple dishes like a chicken salad, lean meat and veggies, omelet, or fish. If you don’t have time to eat for lunch, have a protein shake, cottage cheese, trail mixes, eggs, or blueberries. A healthy snack is much better than eating nothing!