Breakfast may be the most important meal, but an equally nutritious lunch comes in a close second. “What you eat can determine how much energy you’ll have for the rest of the day and whether you’ll overdo it at dinner,” says Marissa Moore, R.D., a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. Here are ways to sneak in a power lunch no matter your schedule.
1. You’re hitting the gym at noon
Have a 100 to 150 calorie snack, like a cup of low fat yogurt, an hour before your workout. Afterward, refuel with a green salad topped with lean meat, such as grilled chicken or tuna. “The fiber in the vegetables fills you up, while the protein keeps fatigue at bay. Also make sure to re-hydrate with at least one cup of water,” says Moore.
2. You don’t have time to fit in a real meal
Give yourself permission to graze – healthfully. “Stock your desk with nutritious 200-calorie mini-meals and have one every three to four hours to fend off hunger,” says Moore. Good picks: a packet of oatmeal topped with seven walnut halves (194 calories) or a cup of a applesauce and a quarter cup of raisins (213 calories).
3. Your post-work plans include beers and burgers
If you have a splurge in store, you may be tempted to skimp on lunch to save calories. But that approach will only lead to a binge. “Instead, have a midday meal of a cup of vegetable soup and half a sandwich, like turkey and avocado on whole wheat,” says Moore. “Then eat the other half around 3 or 4p.m so you won’t be ravenous at the restaurant.”