Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, but lunch is of great importance too. Because lunch time must be accommodated within our working hours, many people either eat too much or too little or skip it altogether. According to Ayurveda, the body’s digestive power is the strongest between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Since this is the ideal time for lunch, most people take their lunch breaks somewhere in this duration. A body without food is like an automobile without fuel. Eating a balanced lunch is important for the body to function optimally. Here’s why you must not skip lunch.
1. Lunch Gives You A Break
Be it students at school or adults at work, our day starts early with breakfast. While the body digests it and burns calories, we immerse ourselves in activities. Lunchtime is the perfect excuse to give yourself a break from monotony. Taking your mind off for a while from work can help you focus better when you return to your desk. Taking a lunch break and walking around a little improves blood circulation in the body and refreshes the mind. Lunch in the cafeteria can also be the ideal way to bond with colleagues and friends. Make it a point to take a lunch break at a regular time every day, and ensure that you don’t eat at your desk or workstation.
2. Lunch Affects Your Performance
As the body uses up the energy from the morning’s breakfast, it requires replenishment. A wholesome, yet light and nutritious lunch can have a positive impact on your afternoon performance. Studies show a close relationship between a balanced lunch and our physical and mental performance.
According to the Student Nutrition Association, schools must provide students fruits, vegetables, low-fat or fat-free milk, whole grains and lean protein with every meal. Scientists have also established a link between student behavior and nutrition.1 That holds good for adults too. But remember not to overeat. A heavy lunch will make you drowsy and negatively affect your performance. Moderation is the mantra.
3. Lunch Rejuvenates The Body
A light and nutritious lunch must comprise all that your body needs to perform efficiently. Including fresh fruit juices and salads with your lunch keeps you alert and improves your performance. Your body feels rejuvenated and active. Around 94% of private and public schools in the United States participated in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).
The Healthy Meals for Healthy Americans Act of 1994 requires that NSLP-participating schools serve balanced and nutritious meals that comply with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products as components of school meals is an effective strategy to promote healthy eating behaviors among children.2 A nutrition-rich light lunch can boost your post-lunch productivity.
4. Lunch Stabilizes Blood Sugar
When you skip lunch, it causes the blood sugar level to drop. Instead of allowing your glucose to nosedive, have a light lunch. In fact, it is recommended that we eat small portions every 3-4 hours. This way, we can ensure that the glucose level does not fluctuate.
Surges and drops in blood sugar are both bad for productivity and bad for the brain. Smaller, more frequent meals maintain your glucose at a more consistent level than a heavy lunch. Nevertheless, don’t skip lunch. Instead, have a light lunch.3
5. Lunch Is Like Meditation
Lunch can become the self-time that need for yourself. Just for the duration of your lunch, stay away from computers and phones. Make it a time for solitude – just you and your food. Eat slowly and chew your food well. Pay attention to the flavors and colors of the food. Eating mindfully means fully engaging in the process of eating.
When we try multi-tasking while eating, our attention and energy are divided. This not only affects digestion but also makes other simultaneous tasks ineffective. It may also result in overeating. Since you want to eat in silence, power lunches at your desk must be avoided. Eating is a form of meditation that helps you take in all the goodness with all of your senses to help recharge your batteries. Even if it only lasts 30 minutes.
6. Lunch Prevents The Mid-Afternoon Energy Crash
Right between around 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. is when our nervous system becomes very active, needing a lot of energy. It is the perfect time for creative work if your nervous system is optimally fed. If you don’t consume enough nutritious food or eat mindfully during the digestive part of the day, you may feel hungry, craving sugary or salty foods, and/or become sleepy during the mid-afternoon. These may be signs of your nervous system demanding a refuel. A moderately sized mid-day meal can positively influence you personally and professionally. Bon appetite!
|↑1, ↑3||Gabe Duverge. Healthy Body, Healthy Mind: The Impact of School Lunch on Student Performance. Campbellsville University. 2016.|
|↑2||Bevans, Katherine B., Betty Sanchez, Rachel Teneralli, and Christopher B. Forrest. “Children’s eating behavior: the importance of nutrition standards for foods in schools.” Journal of School Health 81, no. 7 (2011): 424-429.|