LifeSynch, a Humana subsidiary, offers extensive health behavior resources, including behavioral healthcare, employee assistance program (EAP)/work-life services, behavioral pharmacy services, health coaches and Web-based wellness tools. As part of their commitment to change health behaviors and improve lives, LifeSynch’s health coaches will be contributing a series of articles that demonstrate how easy it can be to make a healthy change.
How often do you actually take a break during lunch? Enough time to warm up your meal in the microwave and get back to your desk to answer more email and phone calls? Do you even remember to eat at all? Studies show that taking some time during the middle of the day to recharge and refocus helps us work more effectively the rest of the day.
What do you eat?
Fueling your body during lunch is critical in helping you stay on track the rest of the day. If you don’t eat a filling and healthful lunch you will be reaching for snacks and caffeinated beverages (many times filled with sugar) the rest of the day to compensate. Here are some suggestions for easy lunches that can be prepared ahead of time and will keep you going.
- Wrap/pita bread: Pretty much anything can be put into a wrap or pita bread and become a delicious meal. Try leftover grilled or roasted chicken, hummus, rice, veggies, lean freshly sliced deli meat, or peanut butter and jelly.
- Energy-packed salads: Lettuce, tomato, and cucumber with ranch won’t cut it. Like wraps, anything can go into a salad. Add any leftover meat, bean, vegetable, cubed and toasted whole grain bread, tuna or sardines. Add a few pieces of your favorite cheese, a handful of nuts or seeds, and you will have a delicious salad that will leave you energized.
- Tasting plates: This is a fun way to taste a lot of foods and leave you feeling satisfied and fueled. A great combination can include a handful of olives, a hardboiled egg, sliced pita bread with hummus or other healthful dip, a few bites of cheese, snap peas, a sliced apple and a few pieces of leftover prepared meat or tofu.
- Pasta salad: Use leftover whole grain pasta and a ton of chopped vegetables with a can of tuna and your favorite healthful salad dressing. Think you will miss mayonnaise? Try mixing a little mayo with plain Greek yogurt for a high-protein, low-fat dressing.
- Rice bowls: Throw in leftover meats, vegetables and beans with a few drizzles of lime or lemon juice and olive oil for a balanced meal that fits into an all-in-one container.
- Add a social element: Talk to co-workers who have the same mindset as you about sharing the the burden of bringing lunch and try different things – maybe as easy as the tasting plates suggested above?