Australia’s eating habits are not improving as much as they should with a recent survey showing that three-in-four of us do not prioritise nutrition at lunchtime.
The annual SumoSalad National Lunchtime Habits Survey found that less than one-third of Australians eat healthy lunches only once or twice a week. Only 42% of us eat health lunches 3-4 times a week.
According to dietitian Georgina Moore, this is a big concern.
“The hardest time of the day to maintain healthy food and exercise habits is during the afternoon and evening. Lunch is the single biggest influencer on our choices during the afternoon. A poor lunch choice can completely derail the rest of the day.”
She says that with 14 million Australians classified as overweight or obese, lunchtime nutrition needs to be a higher priority.
“Lunch needs to be the ‘new breakfast’. Everyone knows the importance of a good breakfast and now it’s time to focus on lunch, which is equally important in terms of its impact on our health,” Georgina said.
Celebrity health and fitness coach, Amelia Burton, believes that motivation is the key.
“Skipping lunch is just as bad as eating poorly. Doing either of these things can impact your desire to exercise and have a spiral effect on your health.
“Making poor choices at lunchtime just makes it even harder on yourself, especially if you’re trying to lose weight,” said Amelia.
Georgina’s and Amelia’s tips to stay healthy in summer
1. Stay fuller for longer
To keep you feeling fuller for longer, choose foods that are high in protein, such as tofu, salmon, eggs and lean beef. Adding foods that are low GI into your diet such as vegetables and legumes, will also keep you satisfied throughout the day.
2. 10 minute workouts
Did you know three 10-minute workouts are just as effective as one 30-minute workout? Try these simple exercise tips at lunchtime or even at your desk.
- 10 squats
- 10 push-ups
- 10 tricep dips
- Repeat four times.
3. End the 3pm sugar binge
To help maintain blood sugar levels, avoiding the large spikes and troughs that lead to 3pm sugar binges, snack on foods that have a low glycaemic index, such as unsalted mixed nuts, hommous or low fat yoghurt.
4. Tone first, cardio after
To improve fat burning, always try to do the toning component of your workout before your cardiovascular workout. Therefore - push-ups before you run!
5. Veggie load
Load-up with veggies. They provide a whole host of nutrients and fibre without being energy dense.
Georgina recommends SumoSalad's new range of summer salads developed by Chef Pete Evans.
6. Become a morning person
There's no excuse for not getting up a little earlier during daylight saving time, for a morning workout. Blood sugar levels are lower in the morning, which helps burn body fat. Getting up early will also jump-start your metabolism and set you up for the rest of the day.
7. Keep up your lean protein
Eating chicken, salmon, turkey and Greek yoghurt after a workout will help build your muscles as they are more receptive to the effects of protein.
8. Avoid unwanted weight gain
To avoid unwanted weight gain and foods that have empty calories with no nutritional benefits, opt for foods that are low in fat (especially saturated fat) and low in salt.