This is another installation in the #notatmydesklunch series, in which I share some small, actionable tips on how to get away from your desk at lunch, enjoy a great meal, and set yourself up to properly digest and get the nutrients your body needs. Please share your #notatmydesklunch meals on Instagram and tag me @small_eats.
The final step. We made it! Over the past three weeks I’ve been sharing tips on how to be in the best place to digest your food properly during lunch, meaning you’re going to get the most out of your healthy meals. Eating in an unrestful, or sympathetic state means your body isn’t digesting well, which means you’re losing out on nutrients your body needs to keep the hundreds of processes running that keep you running.
Being in the right state to digest and enjoy your meal isn’t for lunch, but in my experience, it’s one of the easier meals to just pass over, scarf down, or just skip, especially if you work in an office or something that involves working with your computer. The best thing you can do is disconnect from your work, relax, and focus on your food with a #notatmydesklunch.
As I’ve said before, to make this less overwhelming, I’ve broken down how to get to a digestion happy #notatmydesklunch into small steps. If you’re reading this post before the others, start with one small step a week to build up to this one.
Week one, we focused on getting away from your desk.
Week two was all about taking a deep breath to get in a more relaxed state.
Week three, it was time to put the shiny distraction object (probably your phone) DOWN and focus on the food.
And now, we get to the fun part, enjoy your food!
It sounds way too simple, but think back to the last time you really tasted what you were eating, thought about the flavors and the textures and chewed thoroughly. Outside of a fancy restaurant, when was the last time you did that at lunch…? Most of the time, especially with lunch, the food gets inhaled, you’re distracted, and you’re on to the next thing.
Enjoying your food means many things, some of which you may or may not already do. When you’re eating, really focus on how it tastes. This helps you pay attention to what you’re eating and continues to send signals to your brain to produce saliva to break down your food. Digestion actually starts in the brain, not in your mouth.
As you’re eating, chew your food throughly and slowly. There was a cartoon my brother and I watched a thousand times of Mickey and Donald eating corn on the cob as if they were a typewriter going 50 miles an hour. That’s not the best for our digestion. If you eat too fast, your body doesn’t have enough time to produce enough saliva to break down your food, and most likely you didn’t chew your food into small enough pieces for your stomach to fully breakdown. If the food particles are too big, that can lead to a lack of nutrient absorption and bigger problems like leaky gut (holes in the wall of your intestinal lining, yikes) over time. Lunchtime isn’t a race, so sloooowwww it downnnn.
Slowing down your eating can also trigger your “I’m full” signals faster, which become delayed when you eat too fast, which usually can cause people to eat more because their body doesn’t have enough time to catch up. Put the fork down between bites and look around at your surroundings while you chew. Do you like your meal? What’s your favorite part about it? What would you change if you made it again?
Eating is fun and so tasty, so give yourself that time to savor the healthy meals you’re cooking, as well as giving your body the nutrients it needs.
This Summer Cauliflower Rice is a great way to get so many vegetables and a nice side of protein. I’ve been making more and more cauliflower rice as I’ve cut back on eating grains. It’s a nice swap that will give you even more vitamins and minerals, along with the Swiss chard, sweet potatoes, and zucchini.
I used green zucchini, as summer hits full swing and the farmer’s markets/your CSA box are overflowing with summer squash, feel free to swap out squashes as needed. Same with the greens, if you find there’s another kind of green you want to use or that you already have on hand, go for it.
I usually love to just #putaneggonit when I make dinner, but since I work in an office with no stove (which is mostly everywhere and is a crime), I went with hardboiled eggs for this one. If you’re making lunch for a hungrier, bigger, likes to lift all the weights person like I do, consider adding in two eggs. Or, if straight hardboiled eggs aren’t your jam, make egg salad instead. For transporting/reheating purposes, store whichever style of egg you prefer in a separate container. I’m not the biggest fan of warm hardboiled eggs or egg salad.
I hope you enjoyed the #notatmydesklunch series! If you want to learn more about optimal digestion, more lunch recipes, or want to know more about healthy cooking, please leave your comments down below.
I would love to see what (and where if you really like it) you’re eating at your #notatmydesklunch, so add that hashtag to your lunch photo and tag or mention me (@small_eats).
Check out the other recipes and tips in this series:
Crustless Quiche with Salad
Beef Radicchio Cups with Tahini Dressing
- 1 head of cauliflower rice, cooked
- 2-3 large zucchinis, cut in 2" sticks
- 2-3 medium sweet potatoes, cubed
- 1 bunch of Swiss chard, leaves cut into bite sized strips, stems chopped into 1/4" pieces
- salt and pepper, to taste
- garlic powder
- cooking oil for roasting and sautéing, either extra virgin olive oil, extra virgin coconut oil, grass fed butter, or Epic Animal Oils
- 1-2 hardboiled eggs per person
Preheat oven to 425.
In a large baking sheet, rub your cooking oil/fat of choice on the entire inside surface of the pan. Arrange your sweet potatoes and zucchinis in a single layer. Lightly sprinkle salt, garlic powder, pepper and paprika over the vegetables and roast for 15-20 minutes, until vegetables are fork tender.
Put cooked cauliflower rice in a large mixing bowl. Add roasted vegetables when done.
Heat a medium sauté pan at medium heat with 1-2 tsp of the cooking oil/fat of your choice and add in Swiss chard stems. Sauté for 5-8 minutes, until softer. Add in greens and cook until wilted, about 5-10 minutes.
Add cooked Swiss chard into mixing bowl and stir to combine. Taste, and adjust seasonings as needed.
If enjoying now, portion into bowls and remove shells from hardboiled eggs.
If packing for later, keep hardboiled eggs uncracked and add into your food storage of choice. If the container you have is a little small of you're worried about the egg getting cracked in transport, a 4oz Mason jar is the perfect container for one egg, an 11-16 oz Mason jar works great. I do put a paper towel in there to give it some cushion with a bigger jar.