It’s 11:00 AM and your stomach starts to growl – do you know where your lunch is?
The business lunch manifests itself in many ways: the quick lunch, the working lunch, the networking lunch with coworkers, the job interview lunch, or the lunch-with-your-boss lunch! Whatever type you follow, we recommend making sure it’s a true and healthy break from your busy day.
There are countless benefits of breaking from work for lunch; reducing stress, increasing concentration, sustained energy for your afternoon, feeling better, and many more. However, unhealthy food choices and overeating can greatly hinder, if not cancel out, those positive results. By including better-for-you food and beverage choices and being mindful while eating, you can boost the positive benefits and fuel your body to get you through the rest of your workday with energy and vitality.
Mindful eating is a skill that takes practice. Mindful eating means: avoiding emotional food decisions and distractions at meal time. When we eat “mindlessly” we are not present during our mealtime, which can lead to weight gain and health problems. Don’t let emotions, stress, or deadlines sway your ability to maintain healthy eating habits during a busy work day. Practice being present and enjoy a breather, savor each bite, and come back to work recharged.
Four B.Komplete Tips for Your Mindful and Healthy Business Lunch
#1) When eating out, research the restaurant ahead of time.
Most restaurants have online menus available for perusal. You can check out Healthy Dining Finder to find healthy dining options in your area. Another tool to use is Calorie King which reveals the nutritional content of many foods. By figuring out your meal ahead of time, you can avoid the risk of impulse ordering.
More tips for eating out – Restaurant dining can pinch your wallet and your waistline – choose wisely:
- Order the smallest size available
- Choose to drink water, unsweetened tea, or club soda
- Request that the bread/chips be brought out with your meal, or avoid altogether
- Ask for dressing on the side
- Ask for light sauce or sauce on the side
- Choose grilled, baked, poached, or steamed proteins
- Aim to make a meal out of a salad and additional protein
- Share your appetizer, salad, entrée and/or dessert
- Use lemon, olive oil, and/or vinegar to flavor
#2) Drink a big glass of water before you start your lunch break.
Research has shown that drinking about 16 oz. of water prior to a meal can help you avoid temptations like dipping into the endless bread or chips offered at many restaurants. Additionally, thirst and hunger triggers come from the same part of your brain, meaning that while you may feel hungry, you are in fact thirsty. Drinking water 15 minutes before eating can help curb your cravings and encourage eating less at meal time.
#3) Pack your lunch the night before.
Your work day is busy enough. Avoid a hectic morning and try packing your lunch the night before when you’ve had a chance to decompress and can make mindful decisions. Have you heard about “salad in a jar” – it’s a solution for a healthy, custom, and delicious grab-and-go option.
#4) When eating with others, remember to savor.
It’s easy to get distracted by office chatter when networking with colleagues. Eating becomes so automatic that you may look down at your plate and notice your food is already gone. Savor each bite (for example, notice the texture of the food in your mouth or identify the different sweet, salty, sour, and spicy flavors as you chew) as if it were your last, to help avoid problems like overeating.
There are many reasons to take a lunch break and keep it sacred. This is so important that we’ve even mentioned it before in a previous post. Remember that lunch can be delicious and healthy. Schedule a daily break for yourself to refresh your mind and feed your belly. We promise your body and your company will thank you for it!