Making lunchboxes and taking them to work with you is a proven way to make sure you eat healthier food. For a lot of people, however, it’s easier said than done, and needs planning, preparation, and know-how about how to put together a lunch that’s good for your gut flora, fills you up, and doesn’t take too long to prepare.
Save time and use your lunch break to move around
Making your own lunch box might need a bit of forward planning, but in the long run it can save you time and be rewarding for your health in more ways than one. Besides ensuring that you and your gut bacteria are fed tasty and nutritious food, you can use your lunch break to take a walk and breathe fresh air, instead of standing in a restaurant queue at lunchtime. Fresh air, movement, and daylight can help to reduce stress, among other things, which is important for your gut flora to stay strong. Studies have also shown that people who eat a home-cooked lunch tend to have a lower BMI as well as consuming healthier foods like fruits and vegetables.
Avoid the energy drop in the afternoon
A common problem that a lot of people experience in the afternoons is feeling tired, craving something sweet and being hungry just a couple of hours after lunch. This is often connected to blood sugar which in turn is affected by gut bacteria. A low-fibre lunch that contains a lot of animal fats, fast carbohydrates, and very few vegetables can cause a drop in your blood sugar, which causes tiredness and a sugar craving since the body wants to get the blood sugars back up to normal levels again quickly.
To avoid this energy drop, your lunch needs to include nutritious sources of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, as well as ensuring the gut bacteria get plenty of fibre to work on. A well-balanced lunch can therefore contribute to stabilising your blood sugar, mood, and energy levels.
A balanced and nutritious lunch box should include:
- Vegetables – Vegetables should make up the majority of your meal. They contain plenty of plant fibre and antioxidants that are an important part of an anti-inflammatory diet. Fresh plant foods also contain lots of vitamins and minerals which are needed to keep the body healthy and strong. Fill your plate with green leaves and colourful vegetables such as red cabbage, peppers, beetroots, carrots, tomatoes, and asparagus. Try to vary things and adjust to match the season.
- Slow carbohydrates – This type of carbohydrate has a milder effect on your blood sugar (compared with fast carbohydrates, such as pasta and white bread, for example) which means that you avoid the energy drop after lunch and instead you stay energised and stable throughout the rest of the afternoon. Examples of slow carbohydrates are root vegetables (potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, etc.) which have been cooked and allowed to cool, as well as quinoa, durra, amaranth, and buckwheat. These can easily be prepared in bulk at the beginning of the week or during the weekend to save time.
- Protein – Protein makes up the building blocks of your body and also contributes to an increased feeling of fullness. Plant-based protein sources include, for example, lentils, beans and chickpeas, also different types of seeds and cereals contain some protein, such as hemp seeds, chia seeds, and quinoa). Among the animal protein sources, wild-caught fish is our favourite. Red meat should be limited to 300 grams per week.
- Fats – healthy fats are important for the body to be able to manufacture different hormones and for fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K to be absorbed, among other things. However, it’s important to get the right fats in moderate amounts. The Ministry of Health Singapore recommends that fat should make up about 25-30% of our total energy intake. Based on an average diet, this means the total fat allowance is about 55 to 65g a day. It’s easy to exceed this allowance if you’re not mindful. Avocados, olives, nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts, etc.), oily fish and seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, chia, hemp, etc.) are some examples of sources of fats. Try to use real food as a source of fats, rather than processed products.
How to make your own lunch box
Start by filling at least half of your food box with mixed vegetables, preferably fresh to maximise the nutrient content. Then you can add your choice of carbohydrates, protein, and fat sources, choose one of each or combine different ones. For example, you can mix spinach, lightly-steamed broccoli and red peppers (vegetables) with boiled quinoa (a carbohydrate which is also high in protein) and chickpeas (protein). Then add in some avocado and sprinkle a few extra seeds and nuts (fats) over your food and your meal is complete.
Also keep in mind that certain foods are a combination of different macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins) which helps towards a more complete meal. Some examples of this are hummus, which is a good source of both protein and fats, and quinoa, which is a nutritious combo of carbohydrates and proteins.
Last but not least, it’s important to remember that plant-based food is often lower in calories than meat and dairy products. So, make sure to eat enough and increase the size of your meals if you feel you’re still hungry.
A supplement for your gut health
Want more energy and less bloating? It might be time to take better care of your gut. To strengthen or restore the balance in your gut flora, it's important you feed your gut with a daily dose of pre- and probiotics. A healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables is usually sufficient. If you want an extra boost or make sure you get a daily dose of good bacteria, you can complement your diet with a supplement.
Why should you take Synbiotic15?
A daily dose of Synbiotic15 helps to boost your immune system, improve your digestion, prevent inflammation, strengthen your gut flora, improve your skin and take care of simple stomach problems. It's a powdered mix of 4 patented lactic acid bacteria and 4 grams of prebiotic fibres, which act as food for the good bacteria. Based on over 15 years of research, developed in Sweden and 100% natural.
Add it to your daily (morning) routine and stir it in water, mix it with your smoothie, or take it as is! Get started today. Buy Synbiotic15 now.