Feed Yourself! Making Lunch A Priority

eat lunch every day, mixed martial arts and crafts

At least once a week, sometimes more, there’s a flurry of “Oh crap, I forgot to each lunch!” tweets. In the interest of full disclosure, I’m often one of those people. Lunch, and breakfast!, seem to be the most overlooked meals of the day particularly for work from home types.

Why?

I conducted a very unscientific poll amongst my fellow creative entrepreneur friends. Their reasons included being too busy, getting sucked into the zone, putting it off until later and that the idea of lunch is too stressful.

I fall into the last camp. Most days, I have no idea what I want to eat so I end up not having anything. It seems to be overlooked by most cookbooks as well! Leftovers aren’t an option for me either, since most of them are earmarked for my husband’s lunch at work.

Another problem is cultural. When I worked an office job, it was easy for me to remember to eat because I saw other people eating at their desks. So I ate at my desk too. Suddenly, I was working through every lunch. Or I would go to a lunch meeting where we were busy working on a deadline and not eating. At home or at the office, we’re forgetting to take a break and nourish our bodies. We are putting work first and ourselves second.

These excuses and impediments are masking the real (for most of us!) problem: By making time to refuel my body, I’m making myself a priority. I can’t make myself a priority when the gremlins in my mind say “No!” They urge me to put other people and things (I’m looking at you, Facebook!) ahead of my own needs.

So what can we do to make ourselves a priority and get food into our rumbling bellies?

The first step is to acknowledge that it’s OK to take care of yourself. It’s impossible to take care of others, if we don’t also care for ourselves. So go ahead, consider this your permission slip to take care of you and your needs.

Next step is to eat when you’re hungry. Maybe you’re not hungry as soon as you wake up. Or eating at 12pm just doesn’t fit into your schedule. That’s perfectly fine! Just know what your hunger signs are. Check in with your body throughout the day. Don’t wait until you feel dizzy or cranky before eating. Once you start reading the signs your body sends you, step three becomes easier.

Build it into your day. If you’re prone to forgetting or putting off eating, schedule it. Set a reminder on your calendar to get up and go eat. This is also a great way to get into a new habit like working out or drinking more water. Habits take time to form, so be patient!

Make your lunch ahead of time. Did you know you can put the fixings for a salad into a mason jar and it’ll keep for a week? Just put your dressing first and the greens last with everything else in the middle. Best of all, it’s portable in case you need to take your lunch on the go.

Make it a special meal. I love hard boiled eggs but my husband doesn’t. Lunch means I can make myself egg salad and not gross anyone out. The days I plan on eating something that I love are days that I eat and feel satisfied with my meal.

Lastly, view it as an investment in your business. By eating delicious and nourishing food, you’re improving the heart and soul of your job. You’ll feel better and so you’ll produce better work. Better work will attract better clients and customers. And isn’t that a simple solution?

Do you struggle with eating regularly or are you an eating all-star who has already earned your Eat Lunch Every Day badge? Share your stories + link us up with your favourite lunch ideas and recipes in the comments!

blog_icon_smallVanessa blogs over at Mixed Martial Arts and Crafts. She writes about knitting, kung-fu and how she kicked cancer’s butt. She’s @MMAAC on Twitter and NessaMcTastic on Ravelry.

  • http://eefdesigns.com/ Erin

    Oh man, I forget to eat lunch and/or breakfast ALL the time. I even DO have it scheduled, it just seems like I’m always in the middle of something else (that I don’t want to stop) at the time. =

    • Vanessa

      When I feel myself get into the zone like that, I try to make myself a cold lunch and just leave it by me. More often than not, my hand will wander over and grab it. It is hard but there are solutions! You just gotta experiment.

      • http://www.ohmyhandmade.com/ Jessika Hepburn

        That is genius Vanessa-if I can make myself something even when I am not hungry inevitably I will eat it. It is the thinking about needing to eat that always feels overwhelming, just need to do the work!

        • Vanessa

          Making myself “Grown up lunchables” has been the best thing ever. I get some fancy water crackers, nice cheese and some good deli meats. Bam! Lunch is done. Toss in some fruit and it’s pretty balanced And if you’re low carb/paleo/vegetarian/vegan it’s easy to tweak.

  • Eleanor

    This is such a great point! I saw the post title in my inbox and directly got up and made myself a nice hot lunch!

  • http://www.tillyandthebuttons.com/ Tilly

    I kinda have the opposite problem in that I spend ages preparing an epic lunch like fajitas. At least I stay healthy though! Currently sitting in the park eating quinoa salad with asparagus, chick peas and parsley. Nom!

    • Vanessa

      That sounds like a GREAT problem to have. I’ll be over for some fajitas later. 😉

    • http://www.ohmyhandmade.com/ Jessika Hepburn

      YUM! Maybe you need to write us a follow up post with some yummy lunch recipes to inspire us to do follow your example!

  • http://www.MyBeautifulAdventures.com/ Andi Perullo

    Ugh, I forget to eat lunch every single day, great reminder!

    • Vanessa

      I forget more often than not. I try to remind myself that I’m a work in progress and today I can make up for yesterday.

  • http://www.SewBeastly.com Citlalli

    Guilty! Lunch always seems like too much. I guess it is easier to think that I don’t have time for it; which is a horrible thing to do…especially when I feel dizzy, cranky and just about to fall over!

    I find it easier to eat lunch when I have quick and easy things to prepare. Salad with a hardboiled egg is quick & easy! A simple pasta with marinara sauce does me well, too! Not the healthiest, but frozen pizza is quick + setting the over and a timer while I get some work done is helpful.

    See? I guess I just need to make a habit of it…like you mentioned: habits take time to form, but hard to break once you are committed to them!

    Thanks for all the tips! I will be more intentional at this task…I really want to be able to sport the badge!! ;]

  • Half Asleep Studio

    Oh my goodness. One time I mentioned to my grandma that I get into my work so much that I forget to eat. I said it to mean that I was in love with my job, but all my grandma heard was that “I forget to eat.” Ever since then she calls to ask, “Have you been eating?” and always brings me bags of food whenever she sees me! Haha.

    • http://www.ohmyhandmade.com/ Jessika Hepburn

      That is the cutest thing I have ever read in all my days-will your Grandma adopt the rest of us?

  • Casey Carroll

    I do this ALL THE TIME. I almost always forget to eat lunch and lunchtime and end up eating it around 2pm or later.

  • alicia

    I am so bad at this. Glad I’m not the only one!

  • ceara_red

    i am 180 degrees polar opposite of this. lunch is the only meal i have had in the past six days. i am NOT hungry and my energy levels are NOT low (at least no lower than they normally are).

    i am, however, VERY concerned about the effect this is having on my body. it’s not that i’m approaching anorexia or anything close to that. but i am worried that this behavior is shrinking my stomach and will affect me poorly for the long haul.

    i know i should talk to my endocrinologist, rather than to complete strangers who have no medical expertise (or do you?). yet i’m still not doing that.

    • Vanessa

      I’m not a doctor nor do I play one on TV. I’m just a gal who has learned the hard way about a lot of things.

      Talk to your doctor and figure out what’s “right” or “normal” for you. One size doesn’t fit all with my advice and I’m the first to admit it! Figure out what works for YOU and do it, is my general advice.

      • http://www.ohmyhandmade.com/ Jessika Hepburn

        I agree with Vanessa! I am so not a doctor but I spent over half my life eating one meal a day. it is doable but it just isn’t healthy. My energy levels are always high regardless of whether I eat and I don’t get hungry BUT this pattern does have more insidious long term damaging effects (see for one example http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starvation_response). Now that I am not 20 anymore I am seeing the effects of creating a routine around not eating & trying to retrain myself out of a decade of behaviour is really hard. If you can stop the cycle of not eating now before it becomes entrenched you’ll thank yourself for it later!

  • Emma Gwillim

    Oh, I know this one!!! I have the intention of making some nutritious lunches ahead of time … but somehow everything else gets prioritised and I feel i should just get going (rather than “waste time”!) and, before I know it, I have the shakes and eat the first thing to hand (probably something unhealthy!)! I’m ashamed writing this – must do better!!!! Let’s make it our joint intention for at least a week … and hopefully it then becomes habit!

    • http://www.ohmyhandmade.com/ Jessika Hepburn

      You are so not the only one Emma, no need for shame (unless it helps you eat regularly in that case whatever works;)

  • http://www.lushyboutique.com/ Naomi

    i never forget to eat lunch lol, i used to when my son was very small. But these days i need lunch with my busy life, need my energy 🙂

    • http://www.ohmyhandmade.com/ Jessika Hepburn

      GOOD! Instead of just pushing past it & using up your energy reserves you are filling up your tank so you can keep up-smart lady!

  • Bev F.

    Most days I schedule what I need/want to get done for the day into my Google calendar, including lunch (although I must admit, I usually also use that time to catch up on e-mail or reading or writing blog posts). I really like having a time dedicated to making myself something (it’s usually my favorite meal of the day!) and I try to eat something that is at least somewhat healthy.

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  • Bethany

    So guilty of this! A big issue for me is that when I do remember to eat, I’m often in a hurry and just want to grab something easy so I can get back to work- could be anything from chips to cookies left over from a party. It’s soo bad. And if I didn’t have a husband around who makes me something quick for breakfast before leaving for work, I wouldn’t eat breakfast either! Just snacking all day…
    Make ahead salads sounds like the perfect idea!

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