Why do we have to take care of our lunch meals?
When you are trying to lose weight it is very important to take care of your meals.
As I have been posting previously, even if you are not following an specific diet, it is important that you go back to the kitchen to be able to take control of what you eat away from the highly manufactured food with ingredients difficult to control and not too weight loss management friendly. By cooking your meals you can control exactly what goes into your mouth.
Let’s face it. Cooking for fun from time to time is great. But having to cook every single healthy meal for yourself (or for the whole family) can get very tiring and boring. It is imperative that you try to use your imagination and creativity that may lay hidden somewhere deep in your brain, to create your own unique recipes and to have fun during the process. At the same time you (and your family) won’t get bored of eating the same healthy and weight loss management friendly menu again and again.
The thing is that the lunch meal is the core of your day. You get there usually very hungry and you still have a long way to go until you have your dinner.
We tend to underestimate our lunch needs throwing to our bodies almost whatever we can find around. Which is OK if what we find is also OK. So let’s find an OK option for each day of the week.
The right combination for weight loss purposes
Lunch meals are the ones that should require more dedication and the ones that we take less care. When you want to lose weight lunch meals need to include some carbohydrates for energy, protein for long-term maintenance, and vegetables and fruits for vitamins and minerals. There is a reason why the importance of this composition of meals that I will share in future posts. For now, just trust me.
Examples of right ingredients for weight loss purposes
Examples of carbohydrates include whole grain bread, pasta, legumes and cereals in general. Examples of protein include: meat, fish, chicken, ham, salami, cheese, tofu (soya), beans, etc.
The basic secret is to master five easy meals, one for each day of the week. You can choose your favorite recipes that you can cook and you like or choose some weight management friendly recipes from my blog.
If you are eating your lunch in the office, school or anywhere away from home, cook meals that are easy to eat (no chicken drumsticks, for example), and not too smelly (fish, cauliflower, etc.).
You have to learn to make them so well that you need to be able to almost cook them with your eyes closed. If you or somebody in your family has ever played an instrument, you’ll know that practice makes perfect. I believe it is true for most of our daily activities: driving, ice skating, dancing, climbing, cycling on two wheels, etc. It is the same for cooking. Once you have mastered at least your five meals to cover the week, you can start experimenting with them. Once you have mastered to cycle on two wheels, you can learn mountain biking.
Now, play with it!
Let’s mountain bike now. You have mastered to cook, for example, chicken with vegetables. Then, one week you can change the vegetables for different ones, another week you can change the type of chicken (chicken thighs instead of breasts), and every week change the carbohydrates you are serving with it (whole-wheat pasta, quinoa, whole-grain couscous, etc.). If you remember any of the math you learned at school, the combinations of the three variables (chicken, vegetables and carbohydrates) gives you an important variety of dishes to play with during the weeks not having to repeat them very often.
And you still can play with the vegetables you add, the type of pasta, rice or quinoa, and the type of chicken (breast, thighs) or beef.
You can start experimenting with one of two of the dishes that allow for variation to offer different meals every day/week. In the meantime, you can start learning new and easy dishes or invent new variations of the existing ones.
There are other recipes that will not allow for too many variations. You should keep those ones to use every other week or every two weeks.
Another tip to try to make lunch and dinner more appealing is to add something interesting in the menu. Let’s say that fish is not your or your family’s favorite food. Well, reserve some treats for the day you cook fish, like ice cream, cake, a piece of chocolate, some lemonade, a candy, etc. But then, the day you have rich macaroni with meat, eat only fruit as a dessert.