Lunch — Should This Be Your Biggest Energy Grab?

A Plate Clock with Utensil Hands

Lunch should absolutely be your biggest energy intake of the day. Yet, even saying that somehow feels wrong. Why? Because we are taught to eat balanced meals and having a larger, energy filled lunch somehow seems to defy that. Well, relax because having a balanced lunch that is full of energy does not mean you cannot have other balanced meals, too. So why pack on the energy at lunch? In this power-lunch blog, we discuss why lunch is so important for gaining health and energy.

The "Dietary Energy" Hierarchy of Meals

We read constantly that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but in all honesty, it is not more important than lunch or dinner. The reality is that each meal has a job to do and most of us do not understand completely the role that meals play in our daily life, healthy lifestyle, or how they affect energy, weight gain, weight loss, and even our mood. Breakfast is important, equally so. The job that breakfast plays is to restart your metabolism.

Think about what happens while you sleep for eight hours. One, you don't eat. Two, you don't feel hungry. Why is that? Because your bodily systems slow down and they require less energy, so when you wake up your blood sugar is low and you feel tired. We eat breakfast so that we can gain the energy to function during the morning hours. Food, after all, is our energy source. Eat good food and you get good energy. Eat junk food and you get cheap energy that does not last very long. A good example of healthy breakfast foods is this Avocado, Spinach, and Cheddar Scramble.

Say you eat breakfast at 7 am. Then you eat lunch at noon. That is a five-hour gap between meals. So at 10 am, have a snack. Good choices are these Broccoli and Cheese Quiche Muffins. That snack is a power booster that gets you through until lunch. If lunch is at noon and dinner is at 7 pm then your lunch has to last you for seven hours. That is the crux of why lunches need to be larger and full of long-term energy sources. Cut out the junk food at lunch and substitute energy-rich foods to stretch until dinner. For good energy at lunch, include whole grains, brown rice, and good carbs.

Are you a little overweight?

What do you eat for lunch? If you start naming off a list of bad carbs, you probably have four meals per day and not just three. That is how cheap bad carbs are in terms of energy. You need four meals worth of bad carbs to fuel your entire day. The problem is that those extra calories from all of those snacks stick to your ribs because with a fourth meal, your calorie intake is much higher than your energy consumption.

A good example of dietary energy for lunch is this Bacon Garlic Cauli-Mash. Bad energy choices include white bread, pizza crust, potato chips, and sugary snacks such as soda or candy. When you eat bad energy foods, they dump you about 4 pm and then you are starving again. That is the problem with bad carbs. They load you up and then drop you like your hot.

Why is Lunch Biggest?

Breakfast needs to supply energy for four or five hours. In between meals, you have fuel stops where you should take in healthy snacks like an orange or an apple. Lunch is biggest because it has to do more. It has to provide your energy for six or seven hours. Dinner has to supply active energy for three or four hours and then you coast. In short, lunch should be the biggest energy grab because you need it to supply the most energy. Dinner should be a calming experience. If you eat at 7 pm then you only need energy to get you through until you go to bed. What is left over - fuels your body while you sleep. For less carbs at dinner, add more veggies and lean meats with this sensational Riced Cauliflower Vegetable Sushi that's perfect evening meal.

If you'd like to know more about how to balance your diet and how to build healthy lunches, stop by the Metabolic Research Center and discover why eating healthy never tasted so good.


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