At your desk or home office you can brown bag it and control what goes on your lunch plate but when invited to a business lunch or mid day meeting, sometimes options are limited or temptation is too much. The restaurant with the great photos in the menu, the conference continental brunch, the all you can eat chocolate snack break table and the serve yourself bagel sandwich buffet in the boardroom. Our best intentions to eat healthy are sabotaged when we smell the creamy pasta waft by or the fruit filled danish staring back at us. How can you ensure the next lunch meeting is as healthy for you as it is for your business?
Rules to remember for a healthy business lunch
Lunch to Refuel
Look at lunch hour as a time to refuel and give our body energy for the rest of the day, not just a way to fill up. Lunch is the perfect time to have your biggest meal of the day as you will still be fairly active for the remainder of the afternoon & evening. Plan ahead to feed your brain not just your stomach! Start with protein first, preferably rich in Omega 3s, and add in lots of greens. Spinach salad topped with salmon or tuna and a light vinaigrette served on the side is the perfect midday boost. If you are craving pasta, try to avoid the heavy cream sauces and include heart smart fish or shrimp. For dessert splurge on fruit & cheese tray if you must, but don’t be fooled by the raspberry cheese cake . . . it’s not the same thing!
If you think healthier choices will not be available or fear hot cheesy pizza may be the only option at the boardroom lunch meeting, bring your own salad from home or opt for a very small portion of pizza and fill up on healthy nuts like almonds, greek yogurt and hard boiled egg at your desk before the meeting.
No, I’m not suggestion wine or a frozen fruity cocktail, or forgoing food entirely. I am referring to drinking lots of water. Water before lunch, during lunch and after lunch to avoid filling up with sugary soda’s or being tempted to cheers on the rocks with a twist. Water flushes out toxins, helps nutrients travel to your organs & tissues and regulates body temperature and transports oxygen to your cells. Add sliced strawberries, cucumbers, mint or lemon wedges and enjoy a naturally flavoured glass of water.
Breaks are for Stretching
Look out for those continental breakfasts and snack tables, laden with danishes, high fat muffins, chocolate brownies and big calorie bagels. Use your break time to fill up on water, get a good stretch in and maybe find a flight of stairs to climb and get the blood flowing. Studies show sitting too long can have many negative effectives on your joints, muscles and cardiovascular system. Make the most of your business break and go for a short walk and munch on snacks from home that include some fresh veggies, granola or a handful of roasted chickpeas.
If you know it will be a day of catered meetings or a business lunch full of temptations, plan ahead. Pack snacks from home, drink lots of water from your favorite water bottle, and if a heart smart salmon & spinach salad isn’t on the lunch menu, be sure to make dinner as healthy as you can!