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The Lunch Hour

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  • The Lunch Hour

    Found this on pretty good article.

    The Lunch Hour
    Ten ways to maximize your midday break.

    For too many of us, the lunch hour has become just another extension of our already overburdened day. Although the lunch hour was originally designed for just that--lunch--today we spend our midday break running errands, pecking away at a computer keyboard, or returning personal phone calls. When we do actually sit down and eat, it's often to consume whatever comfort food we can scrape together from the company vending machine or cafeteria. Yet your lunch hour offers the perfect time to break this hectic cycle. Rather than spend the hour stressing over what you still need to accomplish or quickly inhaling fatty, salty, high-calorie foods, consider the following advice.

    1. Go outside. If you work in an office or a retail establishment, you likely are stuck in the same building all day long. Now's your chance to escape. Soak in the sun, watch the rain, or feel the wind. Breathe some real air, and disconnect for a moment from the job. At least once every workday you should make the time to step outside, even if just for two minutes. It will recharge your body and your mind.

    2. Daydream for 15 minutes--and then eat, run errands, or return to work. "Creative daydreaming is not only a way to get out of the daily lunch hour grind, but also a way to put your creative juices to work," explains Patricia A. Farrell, Ph.D., psychologist and author of How to Be Your Own Therapist. If you're feeling particularly stressed about a project, spend your 15 minutes mentally exploring ways you can tackle it. If you feel mentally stale and burned out, spend the 15 minutes in la-la land, on a mini vacation. Imagine yourself strolling the beach, climbing a mountain, or generally spending time in a location that makes you happy. "Take yourself somewhere and have an adventure," says Dr. Farrell.

    3. Nap for 10 to 15 minutes. Studies increasingly show the value of short naps during the day, and progressive employers are becoming more lenient about them. So if you can, curl up under your desk, nod off in your car (unless you're driving!), or otherwise arrange yourself in your office chair so you can snooze without anyone noticing. "Your nap will refresh your mind and put a whole new perspective on the afternoon, because it breaks the tension of the day," says Dr. Farrell.

    4. Pack a frozen dinner. They're not just for dinner anymore. You can pop your dinner into your break room microwave for a quick-and-easy meal that allows plenty of time to run errands or power walk during the rest of your lunch hour. Today's frozen food aisles include organic, vegetarian, low-fat, low-carb, and numerous other healthy food options. Look for a frozen dinner that supplies fewer than 400 calories, 15 grams total fat, 800 milligrams sodium, and 15 grams added sugars. It should contain at least 8 grams fiber and 7 grams protein. The fiber and protein will give you staying power during the afternoon, preventing the post-lunch refrigerator raid. The protein will also keep you alert. Good options include Amy's Country Dinner, Celentano Eggplant Rollettes, Linda McCartney Southwestern Style Rice and Beans, Seeds of Change Spicy Peanut Noodles, and Taj Ethnic Gourmet Chicken Tikka Masala.

    5. Practice the art of quick-and healthy brown bagging. Packing your own lunch need not take a lot of time or creative energy. Include a source of lean protein, fruit or vegetables (raw carrots, celery, broccoli or cauliflower florets with a bit of low-fat ranch dressing work great), and whole rather than processed grains. Leftovers from last night's dinner work wonders, as do the following quick-and-easy sandwich options:

    •Peanut butter and banana sandwich: two slices whole wheat bread topped with two tablespoons peanut butter and half a sliced banana.
    •Chicken or tuna salad sandwich: six ounces water-packed tuna or 1/2 cup cooked chicken breast pieces mixed with one tablespoon light mayo and relish or shredded carrots, served between two slices of whole wheat bread.
    •A whole wheat pita "pizza": one pita stuffed with low-fat pizza/spaghetti, sauce, part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese, carrot shreds, broccoli pieces, peppers, tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms,or other veggies of choice, Canadian bacon, and fat-free veggie sausage. Melt in the microwave before eating if desired.
    •Tortilla roll-up: one whole wheat tortilla spread with one tablespoon fat-free cream cheese, topped with two slices fat-free lunch meat and various veggies such as chilies, lettuce or spinach, tomatoes, onion, cucumber, sprouts, or shredded carrots.
    •Veggie sandwich: two slices whole wheat bread spread with one tablespoon fat-free mayo or mustard and stuffed with one slice low-fat or fat-free cheese, along with lettuce, sprouts, and sliced avocado, tomatoes, and peppers.
    6. Pack ready-to-eat soup.

    Your grocery store stocks numerous healthful soups sold in microwavable cartons. According to research conducted at Pennsylvania State University, broth-based soups weigh down your stomach, enabling you to feel full on fewer calories. Toss a bean and vegetable soup along with a cheese stick and a carton of skim milk into your lunch bag. In just a few seconds, you'll have packed all the protein and fiber you need to power your body and brain through the afternoon.
    7.Get away from your desk--even if it's just for 15 minutes. No matter how pressing that big project is, physically remove yourself from your office for at least 15 minutes. Walk the hallways, chat with a friend, or as mentioned, go outside. The time away from the desk will refresh your mind, allowing you to return to work more invigorated.

    8. Choose smarter fast food. If coworkers invite you out for fast food, you don't have to decline on the basis of health considerations. Just choose wisely. Opt for a broiled chicken breast sandwich without the sauce or purchase a salad (store your own homemade or store-bought lowfat dressing in the break room fridge). At sit-down restaurants or the company cafeteria, opt for broth-based soup, fresh fruit cups, and grilled or steamed items.

    9. Create a sandwich-o-matic chart and stick it on your refrigerator. This prevents the early morning haze from overcoming your better judgment and allowing you to leave the house without a packed lunch. In one category on your chart, list your bread options (whole wheat bread, pita, tortilla wrap, and so on). In the next column, list your protein options, such as turkey breast, low-fat cheese or soy cheese, lean roast beef, hummus, or tuna or chicken salad. In another column, list vegetable toppings such as broccoli, sprouts, spinach, romaine, cucumber slices, tomato slices, roasted red peppers, and shredded carrots. Finally, in the last column, list your condiments, ranging from mustard to low-fat mayo to Italian dressing. You can also include a list of accompaniments such as cheese sticks, apples, oranges, yogurt, baby carrots, lowfat milk, and ready-made soup. Then, every morning (or, even better, the night before) pick one item from each column to pack. Voilà! A Stealth Health lunch!

    10. Mini-size your sandwich. When purchasing sandwiches from a deli or company cafeteria, ask for a half portion. In one study, participants presented with a 12-inch sandwich ate the entire sandwich but felt just as satisfied afterward as when they ate an 8-inch sandwich. Apparently, seeing less translates into eating less.

    Mussy by birth.....Native by the Grace of God.......

  • #2
    I love that website. The article is great, I know I feel different in the afternoon if I can get out in the sun at lunch. Thanks for posting it!!
    "To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible." ~St. Augustine


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