Lunch is an important meal but very often we don’t give it enough focus. If you’re trying to lose weight, what you choose for lunch is as important as your breakfast and dinner. You can help and support your weight loss goals when you’re smart about lunch.
1 Drink Some Water
Recent research suggests that drinking about 16 ounces of water about half an hour before a meal will help with weight loss. It occupies some space in your tummy and even helps settle feelings of gnawing hunger that make you eat more. You can also sip water right before and throughout your meal to prevent overeating. Avoid soft drinks that contain artificial sweeteners because they stimulate appetite and make you eat more.
2 Count Your Calories
It’s important to keep an eye on your calories when you want to lose weight. Your lunch should be no less than 300 calories and should not exceed 600 calories. You can find several websites and tools to add up your food and get the calorie count for different recipes before you make them for lunch.
3 Have a Fiber-Rich Lunch
Fiber is an excellent choice at lunchtime. Fiber takes time to digest and keeps you full for hours. It will help stave off the craving for a mid-afternoon snack. Opt for a low-calorie, high-fiber lunch recipe that provides you with at least 10g of fiber.
4 Pick a High-Protein Lunch Recipe
You can search online to find hundreds of low-calorie, high-fiber recipes that also provide your body with lots of protein. Research shows that doubling up on protein could keep you from overeating without making you deal with hunger pangs. Leptin is a hormone that helps you feel full, and protein makes your brain more sensitive to this hormone. As a result, you don't feel hungry after lunch and don't require a post-lunch snack. Your lunch should have at least 15g of protein to help you achieve your weight loss goals more efficiently.
5 Don't Eat Your Lunch Mindlessly
Take a break from your desk/workstation, your computer or your TV and concentrate on your lunch. Mindlessly chomping on your lunch makes it difficult for your brain to register exactly how much you have eaten. This often results in overeating. That's probably the reason why you still feel hungry after finishing a full bowl. So, take a short break for lunch, chew slowly, and let your brain and belly register how much food you're eating.
6 Feel the Heat
Try to eat your lunch when your food is still hot or at least warm. When your food is hot, it will have a stronger smell that affects the satiety center in your brain. It makes you think you've eaten enough, which in turn helps you feel fuller faster. Moreover, you will be forced to eat more slowly when your food is hot, which will give your stomach time to signal your brain that it's full.
7 Don't Try to Eat Everything on Your Plate
You have to break the habit of forcing yourself to clean what's on your plate or in your lunchbox even when you're already full. Be sure to eat slowly and enjoy each bite. Learn to stop when you feel the sensation of fullness. If there's still something left on the plate, pack it up and use it for an afternoon snack, if you feel hungry again after lunch.
Do you treat lunch as important as breakfast and dinner or do you tend to grab it on the run?