7 Reasons to have a protein-rich lunch
Lunch is the most underrated meal of the day. The focus is usually on breakfast or dinner. Breakfast is often seen as the most important meal of the day. And we are happy to set aside a lot of time for dinner. We look forward to it and spend the whole day thinking about what we would like to eat in the evening. Lunch, on the other hand, receives little attention due to the busy work life. That’s why we quickly make a sandwich in the afternoon or we get a cold pasta salad, a bagel or even a muffin or donut. All those carbohydrates and especially the fast sugars give you an unnecessary energy dip afterwards that you could have easily prevented. A healthy and especially protein-rich lunch has many benefits for your body and for your mental focus. Discover 7 good reasons to trade that portion of carbohydrates for a protein-rich lunch.
What is a high protein lunch?
A protein-rich lunch provides you for a large part in your daily requirement of proteins and is relatively lower in carbohydrates. For an adult of 70 kg, the daily protein requirement is about 100 grams. You can, for example, divide this over 4 eating moments, each time taking in 25g of protein.
A protein-rich lunch should therefore provide at least 25 grams for an average person. If you are curious about your personal protein requirement depending on your weight and lifestyle, you can calculate this with our calculator.
Not only the absolute amount of protein is important. By a protein-rich lunch we also mean that you eat relatively few carbohydrates. A piece of fruit for dessert is always possible, but if you take 4 slices of bread or a plate full of potatoes or pasta, we don’t really speak of a protein-rich lunch, but of a “normal” meal.
7 reasons to have a protein-rich lunch
Let’s see why you should have a lunch high in protein and low in carbohydrates. There are more benefits than you might expect.
1. No Cravings
Proteins satiate well and provide a more stable blood sugar level after meals compared to carbohydrates. This will keep you satiated all afternoon without experiencing cravings. It is much easier to say no if your colleagues come by at 3 pm with sweets or cake. You feel a steady energy and have no problem waiting to eat until you get home for dinner.
2. No unnecessary sugars
We often overestimate the amount of carbohydrates we need. Even if you plan to exercise after work, you don’t need a lot of carbohydrates during lunch. Suppose you exercised the day before, then your body has had almost 24 hours to replenish the glycogen stores in the muscles: with your dinner the day before, and then with your breakfast. That is more than sufficient for normal efforts.
In addition, you can also eat 1 piece of fruit with a protein-rich lunch. And if you need an extra boost before a hard workout, take a piece of fruit or a healthy energy bar later in the day, ideally an hour before.
3. You burn more fat
Those who sit still all afternoon or are quietly moving do not need to take in unnecessary calories. The carbohydrates that you do not use are stored as fat. And if you’re sitting at a desk, or if you’re walking around a shop, you can function just fine without extra sugars.
In fact, because you do not consume carbohydrates and your blood sugar level is stable, your body will switch more easily to burning fat. Whoever takes a smart lunch can burn fats all day long , even if you have a sedentary job.
4. Restore your muscles
Your muscles recover and grow mainly at night, but that doesn’t mean that nothing happens during the day. Recovery takes place almost all the time, except during exercise and stressful situations. If you have quiet work and you provide your body with sufficient nutrients, and therefore especially proteins, you can also let your muscles recover from an intense workout during the day.
5. Ensure your RDA in proteins
It may sound obvious, but a protein-rich lunch will help you meet your daily protein requirement. In our example we calculated that an adult person weighing 70 kg needs about 4 eating moments with 25 grams of protein.
If you mainly consume carbohydrates at lunch, you have to make up for this in the evening and provide almost 50 grams of protein in your dinner, which is difficult. Spreading out your protein needs makes it much more practical to hit your daily total.
6. Save your carbs for later
The reverse is also true. What you don’t eat during your lunch you can compensate at another time. Carbohydrates are tasty and good for you, the problem is that we eat too much of them. Especially by eating snacks and desserts and on social occasions such as birthdays, we often get an abundance of sugars.
Limiting your carbohydrate intake during the day can afford you a little more at a social gathering later in the day. No one will understand how you can eat all those carbs at every party without gaining weight.
7. Sharper Focus
A protein-rich lunch is not only ideal for your body, but also for your mental focus. And that has everything to do with stabilizing your blood sugar. The energy dip that we know is caused by (fast) sugars. These enter your bloodstream very quickly, causing your body to overreact with insulin. As a result, the sugars are massively removed from the bloodstream, making you feel lifeless.
You can prevent this with a protein-rich lunch low in carbohydrates. Ideal if you have important work to do or if you have to attend a boring meeting.
Protein-rich lunch recipes
Here’s a preview of our delicious protein-rich recipes:
- Cabbage salad with smoked chicken and avocado
- Edamame salad with goat cheese and roast beef
- Salad with smoked chicken, orange, and chickpeas
- Niçoise salad with tuna steak