Breakfast may be called the most important meal of the day, but a nutritious lunch is just as crucial. "A proper lunch will help carry you through the afternoon and a late day run," says Cara Marrs, a sports dietitian in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Yet, too many women rely on nutritionally suspect options at cafeterias, restaurants and in vending machines for their midday food fix.
"Making poor choices at lunch can send your energy levels spiraling downward and increase mid-afternoon cravings," notes Marrs. Getting in the brown bag groove is almost always a better idea than relying on a grab-and-go lunch. Taking the time to make a healthy lunch can boost your intake of vital nutrients, improve portion control and save a surprising amount of money.
Power Up Your Lunch
A lunch worth packing has to satisfy hunger while giving you a tasty energy boost. Here are the 10 golden rules for creating a power-packed meal.
Lunch Rule #1: Eat Enough, But Not Too Much
If you've ever gone to a steakhouse for a business lunch, you're familiar with the fact that an afternoon calorie tsunami can leave you feeling lethargic for the rest of the day.
On the flip side, too few calories will leave your body depleted of the fuel it needs to remain alert, and your tank will be empty for your evening workout. "Active women should aim for 400 to 500 calories at lunch," advises Marrs. So while a burger and fries is too much, a measly garden salad won't cut it either.
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