Dinner has become the biggest meal in developed nations simply because it is most practical to eat a big meal at night after work (and mostly in front of the TV nowadays). It might be practical, but it sure isn’t logical. Giving your system a calorie shock at night after you have been starving yourself throughout the day is much like filling up the oil and water in your car after a long trip of overheating and and engine wear. Not exactly the brightest strategy.
Just like you should top up the oil and water in your car before any big trip, you should top up your calories and nutrients early in the day. A hearty breakfast as described in the previous post will get your systems going and keep you running smoothly up to lunch time when it is time for a refill.
The number of calories you take in at breakfast and at lunch should be similar, but your emphasis should shift somewhat from carbohydrates to protein. A little more protein is required at lunch to build and repair cells throughout the remainder of the day. Also, this should not be heavy, fatty protein sources like red meat that will make you sluggish and drowsy after lunch. Prefer leaner protein sources like fish, white meat, beans, whole grains or a lean cut of red meat if you really have to.
But the theory is easy to understand. The hard part is putting this theory into practice within our modern 9-5 lifestyles. This is where your healthy nutritional environment comes in…
The way in which I make a big lunch practical is by making a big quantity of food over the weekend and then freezing it in containers which can simply be heated up during the lunch break at work. This might limit the options a bit, but you really only need to equip your healthy environment with 3 or 4 good recipes to make this work.
In order to bring more variety to my lunches, I have also arranged with my employer that I come into work after lunch on Mondays and work from home on Tuesdays. In this way, I can eat fresh lunch from Saturday to Tuesday and only eat frozen lunch from Wednesday to Friday. Nutrition certainly is sufficiently important to make these kinds of arrangements.
In the next few posts, I’ll share some recipes which make a big and healthy lunch very practical in my life at the moment. Such recipes form an integral part of your healthy nutritional environment and I hope that these examples will help you set up something similar in your own life.