When asked about my tips on packing a simple lunch the first thing that always comes to mind is leftovers.
I urge clients to intentionally make a little more than they need for dinner to make lunch easier. Cook an extra piece of chicken, enough brown rice or quinoa for a week instead of what you’re making just for dinner, etc… Use your time wisely, think ahead and save yourself time. This also lowers your risk of eating something convenient instead of what you need to fuel your body properly and keep you from craving. Making a little intentional leftover could be the key to you keeping your hand out of the 2:00 in the afternoon cookie jar (or if you’re like me the chocolate bar).
Here are my top 4 uses of last nights dinner…
- Just warm it up! If you enjoyed it for dinner why reinvent the wheel?
- Soup Starter. Use your meat from the night before, some veggies (you should have made those with dinner too), a little chicken broth or veggie broth and voila…lunch.
- Salad Topper. A staple in your healthy kitchen should be organic greens (I like Organic Girl). Grab a handful of greens, whatever additional salad toppings you have, some good quality dressing and you’re golden. Watch the ingredients on those salad dressings!
- Put a wrap on it. Tired of salad, wrap it all up in a flavored wrap to spice things up a bit.
Why do we eat lunch?
Something I think we need to remember about lunch is why we eat…for fuel. What does my body need for me to perform at my best for this day and this life? Lunch is not a mid-day emotional eating escape. Which opens up a whole new can of worms.
If life at work or home is stressful, frustrating, or boring we often will search for an escape. Lunch becomes that mid-day escape; I know from personal experience. We can give that place in us that is feeling unfulfilled a little food filling. Much of our problems with food is not the food…food is really our secondary nourishment. We place so much emphasis on food when what affects our health most are our primary foods; relationships, spirituality, career, finances, etc…
We have to shift our thinking. We must first deal with the primary foods (relationships, spirituality, career, finances, etc) and then we’ll find it much simpler to demolish our secondary food issues (craving, bingeing, yo-yo dieting etc…). I have to add that it takes so much more courage to sit with someone and start to dive into some of these primary foods than it does to just start one more diet alone that you know you will not be on a year from now. That’s why I am always so very proud of my clients. They have stepped it up a notch, they sought out accountability, they have decided that they will dive beyond the surface – they are ready to stop changing band-aids and start curing the underlying “disease”. I am so proud of all of them! And that is why I love my job so much. Thank you all for your courage!
Before I end this post I would also like to add this…some days make lunch super fun just for the heck of it! Don’t hear me say lunch should always be yesterdays leftovers and if you want more than that you have emotional eating issues. Not the case and I wouldn’t want you to think that. I’m just saying to check in with yourself every now and then and ask yourself why. Why do I want _________ food at ________ time. It’s a great way to dig up a problem at the root and throw it out for good.
Sorry for that little bunny trail, I was just giving you lunch advice. But as I like to say; Everything affects our health and our health affects everything. When speaking of lunch…still true.