Ayurveda, the ancient system of medicine that originated in India over 5000 years ago, gives a lot of importance to having the largest meal during the middle of the day (aka lunch), when digestion is believed to be strongest. Having a nutritious and well-balanced lunch imparts the energy required to motor through the rest of the day. It provides the necessary fuel to sustain mental and physical activities, ensuring individuals can perform optimally till the end of the day. Lunchtime also serves as a break from work, school and college activities, allowing individuals to refuel and recharge and provides an opportunity for people to take a break from their daily responsibilities and enjoy a nourishing meal. Contrary to popular belief, skipping lunch is not an effective strategy for weight loss, especially for individuals who are diligently counting calories. While it may seem like skipping lunch will help cut down a lot of calories, it can actually lead to overeating during dinner and late-night hours, sabotaging weight loss efforts. So, instead of skipping lunch altogether and starving till dinner time, we list out small lunch time tweaks to boost weight loss. Read on:
1. Plan your Lunches Ahead of Time:
The first and the most important thing to do is to plan all your meals – breakfast, lunch, dinner, even snacks ahead of time to ensure you have nutritious options readily available when hunger strikes. By avoiding last-minute decisions, you can avoid easily available yet unhealthy options that are often calorie-dense and can derail your weight loss goals. Not sure about to plan weight-loss friendly meals? We are here to help! On the Rati Beauty app, there are weekly diet plans available that help you to plan all your meals ahead, all of them can be made under 30 minutes, and all of these lunch options can be packed to office as well. Planning ahead, particularly from a diet plan, would make sure you are having a well-balanced nutritious meal with controlled calorie intake. Subscribe to the Rati Beauty app to access all our diet plans.
2. Start with a Salad:
Research says that starting a meal with salad on the side can help cut down calories in the following meal and prevent overeating. Having a salad would mean you would feel full with lesser amount of calories. For our Indian meals, we don’t even need fancy dressings either – just a very basic salad with cucumber, carrot, tomatoes, would do the trick. Also read: “17 Best Salad Ingredients for Weight Loss.”
3. Include a Lean Protein and Fiber Source:
Including lean protein and fiber in your lunch can make your meal more satisfying and enjoyable. The combination of these nutrients can make you feel fuller for longer and you would be less likely to seek out unhealthy snacks later. Lean protein sources such as lentils, legumes, tofu, Greek yogurt, paneer, chicken, fish, eggs, etc., impart a feeling of fullness and help curb appetite. Both protein and fiber digest slowly, keeping you satisfied for longer periods, which can prevent overeating and snacking on unhealthy foods. Protein is also essential for the maintenance and repair of muscle tissue. When trying to lose weight, preserving muscle mass is important, as it increases metabolism. Fiber adds bulk to your meals, promoting healthy digestion and regular bowel movements. Fiber-rich foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes, help regulate blood sugar levels. They slow down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, preventing spikes and crashes in energy levels. Stable blood sugar levels contribute to better appetite control and reduced cravings for unhealthy foods. So, make sure there’s a source of protein and fiber on your plate.
4. Fill Half of the Plate with Vegetables:
Vegetables, with only a few exceptions, are low in calories and rank high on high satiety factor. They provide the body with vital vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, protein, and minerals necessary for synthesizing essential hormones and enzymes, thereby promoting weight loss. Health experts recommend consuming 2 to 3 servings of vegetables daily to support overall well-being and weight management, and filling up half of your plate with vegetables is a good idea without getting out of the calorie deficit. Looking for interesting ways to include veggies in your diet? Check this out – “9 Interesting Ways to Eat More Vegetables for Weight Loss.”
5. Ditch Desserts and Sweets Post Lunch:
Indians love to eat dessert after every meal, whether it is breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Gulab jamun, jalebi, barfi, ladoo, halwa, peda, a little bit of kheer/payasam – these are extremely popular sweet treats people love to dig in after a sumptuous lunch. But all these sweets are calorie dense and have heaps of sugar in them, so ditch desserts and sweets post lunch to lose weight.
6. Prepare Your Lunch at Home:
By preparing your lunch at home, you have full control over the ingredients and portion sizes. This way, you can ensure that your meal is full of nutritious ingredients, good-quality oil, and does not have harmful ingredients or excess calories.
7. Avoid Deeply-Fried Treats:
Avoiding deeply fried foods at lunch is beneficial for weight loss because they often are calorie-dense due to the absorption of a lot of oil during frying. Also, deeply-fried foods tend to have high amount of saturated fat and calories contributing to an increase in body fat percentage. They are also heavy and greasy, which can cause digestive discomfort, bloating, and feelings of sluggishness. This can impact your overall energy levels and motivation to engage in physical activity for the later pat of the day, which is crucial for weight loss.
8. Control Portion Sizes:
Pay attention to portion sizes to avoid overeating. Avoid going in for seconds. Use smaller plates or bowls to help control the amount of food you consume. Eat your food slowly, chewing each bite, to allow your body to register when it’s full.
Additionally, incorporate a short walk or mini stroll in your post-lunch routine. Taking a leisurely walk after your mid-day meal would aid in digestion, promoting the movement of food through your digestive system. This would prevent bloating or discomfort often experienced after eating. Additionally, going for a walk would help to increase your overall daily calorie expenditure, contributing to a calorie deficit necessary for weight loss. It would also promote physical activity, boost metabolism, leading to improved energy expenditure and fat burning.