Most days, lunchtime for me is what others would call an early dinner (Linner? Dunch?). In any event, because I wait so long to finally eat, I usually grab something unhealthy in a rush, and then I scarf it down at my desk. I don't need a nutritionist to tell me this is poor practice, but I think we can all agree that a little guidance as to which foods you should be packing/ordering couldn't hurt, especially if you're trying to maintain your weight or help your jeans fit a bit looser.
The secret? Using a formula. According to Stephanie Clarke, RD, and Willow Jarosh, RD, of C&J Nutrition, who recently spoke with PopSugar, for those trying to stay the same weight, aim for a 500-calorie lunch—if dropping a few pounds is on your agenda, stay somewhere between the 400 to 450 range. Next, comes breaking it down into food groups, a method pretty much borrowed from the food pyramid.
- Carbs (whole grains and starchy produce—no refined foods or white flour): 50 to 65 grams
- Protein (leans meats, nuts): 20 to 30 grams
- Fiber (nuts, seeds, starchy produce, whole grains): 25 grams
- Healthy fats (avocado, olives): 13 to 18 grams
- Sugars: 4 grams
Now that you've got a breakdown of what to eat, let's focus on the when. Clarke and Jarosh recommend waiting no more than one to three hours after your morning snack (when you're starving, you tend to make irrational food choices). They also recommend not sitting in front of your computer when you eat and taking the time to get out of the office to nosh. On the surface, the element of multitasking may seem more productive, but you're unable to register that you're full when you're chewing, scrolling, and typing at the same time. Plus, the fresh air and new scenery will do your mind a world of good.
For healthy lunch ideas that fit these criteria, head over to PopSugar.