Let's Do Lunch
While most people agree that eating a healthy lunch is important, one in three skip it at least once a week, and one in 10 rarely or never have it according to a recent ACNeilsen Omnibus poll of 1,400 Australians. ‘Too busy’ is the main catch-cry of lunch-skippers. ‘We don’t have time to go out or make something to eat’ said 43% of the skippers; while another one in ten said they had too many personal chores to do to fit food into their break. A further 20% of respondents simply said that they weren’t hungry at lunchtime. Dietitian Cathy McDonald of the Sanitarium Health Food Company who commissioned the poll said the research shows that many people are clearly not making lunch – and their health – a priority. ‘Eating lunch assists in ensuring you get all the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients you need each day. Taking time out can also help improve concentration levels, give you time for building relationships and even increasing fitness levels if you do some exercise during your break.’
She said that the poll also confirms that many people grab a bite to eat rather than ‘doing’ lunch. One in three people have a 20–30 minute lunch break; a further one in five take less than 20 minutes; 5% don’t stop for lunch at all; and one in five eat at their desk or on the run. ‘This might seem great for productivity, but a rushed lunch-time means you are missing out on important health benefits both from a nutritional, stress management and a relaxation perspective,’ she said. ‘Taking time to eat lunch is critical to maintaining health, controlling weight, boosting energy and concentration levels and simply feeling better overall.’ The team at GI News wholeheartedly agrees! In fact it can be more productive to take a break from office stresses, to ‘do lunch’ with friends/co-workers and get back to your desk with a fresh perspective on the job in hand.
Check Out the GI Group’s ‘Let’s Do Lunch’ Basics
Lunch doesn’t need to be a big meal. But you need to choose a food from each group – carbs, protein and fruit and vegetables. Here’s how:
Start with a low GI carb such as wholegrain or sourdough bread, pasta, noodles, sweet corn, legumes (pulses).
Add some protein like fresh or canned salmon or tuna, lean meat, sliced chicken or turkey, reduced fat cheese or an egg. Legumes (pulses) also can count as protein.
Plus vegetables or salad to help fill you up. A large salad made with a variety of vegetables would be ideal.
Round off with fruit. If you opt for juice, remember, about ¾ cup (200 ml) is one serving. So if you are thirsty, make it a spritzer and top it up with sparkling mineral water.
Try these simple suggestions for a cup of soup, a sandwich or filled roll or a salad bowl you can make yourself or pick up from the local deli.
- Minestrone soup made with plenty of beans and vegetables and served with a little grated parmesan and a grainy roll.
- Salad sandwich made with mixed grain, soy and linseed or sourdough bread (or a roll) and filled with lean turkey slices, tomato, sprouts, grated carrot, finely sliced onion rings and mixed salad greens. Try a smear of avocado on the bread instead of margarine and add a dollop of cranberry jelly.
- Chilli salmon salad: In a bowl, combine 1 small can red salmon (drained and flaked) with ½ punnet cherry tomatoes, slices of red onion, red and yellow capsicum strips and mixed salad and baby spinach leaves. Toss in a chilli dressing made from olive oil, lemon juice and minced chilli and serve with a grainy or sourdough bread roll.
Photo: Ian Hofstetter, The Low GI Diet Cookbook