How to eat a power lunch….

How to eat a power lunch….

power_lunchBreakfast and Dinner are the meal times always in the news. But lunch too is as important as any other meals. Now you may wonder why is it important to have a good lunch. Mid day is the time when the brain supply of feel good chemicals namely dopamine and norepinephrine which are required for alertness, start waning. These chemicals keep you mentally active, attentive and more proactive. You can think more clearly, if these chemicals are in optimum levels.

These chemicals are produced from the protein you eat. So if you feel the afternoon slump after lunch, you may be either eating more calories than what your body needs or a high fat, high carb diet.

The best way to eat to stay alert is to have a lunch that contains protein, enough carbohydrates basically complex carbs and is low in fat. When you supply protein in your diet, these alertness chemicals are produced and your noon slump also vanishes. More alert you are, more is the productivity(happier bosses too).

Protein sources than can be included are beans, legumes and all pulses, lean chicken, cottage cheese, low fat yogurt, fish, shell fish, soyfoods and eggs occasionally.

Do not eat red meats such as beef, pork, processed meats such as sausages, bacon, salami, organ meats, full fat dairy products etc.

What about carbs? Indians being genetically born to eat carbs, cannot imagine lunch without cereals. Choose complex carbs such as whole grain breads, brown rice, wheat, ragi, bajra, jowar etc.

Whole grains or complex carbs help to soothe and relax the mind, not sleepy and sluggish as carbohydrates provide another type of chemical known as serotonin. You will be more focused and calmed. These help to sustain the energy levels and prevent you from feeling “low”. If you eat more of the refined carbs variety such as maida or refined wheat flour, white rice, white breads, you will end up feeling more slumpy, too relaxed and sleepy(sounds familiar, does it not!). Now you know why you are snoozing off after the lunch with poor protien or nil protein and white carbs.

What about fat? Low fat food choices bring out the best in your lunch. Hence do not opt for meat with skin, deep fired food, fried chicken too many egg yolks, ice creams with lot of sugar(refined carbs) and fats(slump food), desserts(same as ice creams) and also that sneaky chocolate after food.

A few pointers:

  • Dont eat too much of the good stuff, the effect will be reversed.
  • Keep the foods low in fat. This will help in better digestion and make you alert.
  • Do not arrive too hungry for lunch, you will end up eating too much. So opt for a healthy midday snack.
  • Avoid alcohol as it dulls your mind and can make you do wrong choices.
  • Do not polish of the breads in the complimentary bread basket or choose a high fat appetizer.
  • Do not eat to much of carbs or you will end up having a late afternoon slump with an extra calming effect by serotonin.

This can also apply to your dinner, if you are meeting up with a cleint or a boss so that you stay alert through the meal.

Stay alert, stay active…

Sanjana M Shenoy is a A dietitian from Mangalore, Karnataka, India. Having worked as a Dietitian for the Manipal Group of Hospitals namely KMC hospital Mangalore, India. She is also a consultant for corporate's like Infosys and others, conducting talks and presentations for various associations and local television shows. She consults at her Diet and Nutrition clinic "Nutrihealth" in Mangalore. Also is a visiting consultant to various hospitals in and around Mangalore and also runs an active online consultation.

2 Replies to “How to eat a power lunch….”

  1. DEAR SANJANA

    THIS IS DHANYA. I AM ALSO FROM MANGALORE BUT I AM Settled IN SINGAPORE. I AM VERY HAPPY ABOUT YOUR SUGGESTIONS .

    I WOULD LIKE REDUCE MY WEIGHT ALSO. NOW MY HEIGHT IS 5.1 ” AND MY WEIGHT IS 57 KGS. I WANT TO REDUCE TO 52. BUT IT IS NOT SO EASY , I AM STRUGGLING .

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