4 Ways to Make Lunch Count

Premier Health Now

If you catch a quick lunch at your desk most days, take a break and celebrate Make Lunch Count Day on April 13. Founded by TGI Friday’s in 2016, Make Lunch Count Day encourages breaking the trend of eating at your desk to get out for lunch and have stimulating conversations. 

Premier Health Now talked to Diane Birchfield, RD, LD, a Premier Health dietitian, who says, “I think every day you should try to get away from your desk and do something pleasurable and not stressful.”

Birchfield suggests four ways to Make Lunch Count: 

  1. Interact socially: There’s no doubt, Birchfield says, that spending time with friends or co-workers can elevate your mood and mental well-being. Plus, studies have shown that you’ll be more productive if you “give your brain a chance to reboot,” she says.
  2. Eat mindfully: “If you’re at a computer, you may eat more, not mindful of what you’re eating,” Birchfield says. Ideally, select a lean protein, complex carbohydrate and healthy fat to satisfy you over several hours and keep your sugar levels balanced. Try a chicken sandwich on whole-grain bread with a handful of nuts on the side. “Soups are a good choice, especially broth-based with veggies or beans,” she says.
  3. Avoid calorie traps: Limit sugar drinks — even fruit smoothies — which have lots of calories. Limit mayonnaise and ketchup. Choose low-fat salad dressing and veggie toppings versus high-fat items on salads. Pick grilled chicken over chicken salad.
  4. Re-energize for a productive afternoon: “Don’t eat a heavy meal, and limit sugar and white flour to avoid a quick rise and drop in your sugar levels,” Birchfield advises. She says a little caffeine can be a good thing — but no more than about three cups of coffee over a day.