This article has originally appeared on Huffington Post
You’ve made it halfway through the day! Your day started at 7 AM and lunch is right around the corner.
You go to your favorite salad place and wait in line to order food. Ten minutes passes by and you finally get to the front of the checkout line.
Then you patiently wait for food. You’re told: good food takes time (even if it is just a tossed salad.) So you keep waiting. Before you know it, you’ve waited 25 minutes for your food to arrive.
Going out for lunch can often be as much of a hassle as it is a break.
As you get back to your office, ready to rock and roll, you start feeling the afternoon slump. The day becomes progressively less productive. Next thing you know, you end up finishing work at 11 PM, with no time to hit the gym or reflect upon your day.
If you’re an ambitious and goal-oriented person, you’re probably frustrated that you can’t keep your productivity level high throughout the day.
This is a bit counterintuitive, but if you’re not getting the most out of your lunch break, you may not be getting the most out of your workday.
You should optimize your lunch break to recharge yourself to tackle your afternoon tasks. This one simple tip can boost your energy as well as productivity, and potentially prevent weight gain.
We’ve compiled three practical tips on how you can optimize your lunch break and maintain productivity all day long.
Tip One: Take Quality Time Out For Lunch
Take time out for lunch, just like you would schedule business meetings. Also, try not to eat at your desk.
Spending quality time on your lunch means taking the time to sit, relax and really savor your food. Quality time does not include fighting through crowds to get to your meal. It means taking the time to chew the food properly and mindfully.
Taking a quality lunch break, even for just 30 minutes, helps us recuperate and maintain energy levels throughout the day. Making decisions and doing tasks on a daily basis can deplete our mental energy – even though we may not be consciously aware that we are tired.
Kimberly Elsbach, a management professor at UC-Davis who studies workplace psychology, asserts that “never taking a break… sort of exhausts your cognitive capacity… If you’re skipping lunch to continue to push forward in a very intense cognitive capacity, then you’re probably not doing yourself any favors.”
When you can take a quality lunch break, you can focus on eating and chewing. Chewing properly will help your stomach work more efficiently and break down food faster. According to research presented at the Institute of Food Technologists, chewing thoroughly can lead to easier digestion and potential weight loss.
As you take your time eating lunch and making sure you digest properly, you’ll feel satiated faster and be less inclined to overeat. Apps like EatSlowly can help you slow down and savor your food.
This begs the question – how does one take a quality lunch break?
Tip Two: Spice Up Your Lunch Routine and Save Time Using Dining Apps
In addition to packing a meal or eating at your company’s dining hall, you have the option of eating out. You can spice up your lunch routine by going to a wide range of cuisines in your area.
When you spice up your lunch in various environments with different foods and flavor profiles, you’ll look forward to and be excited about your lunch break.
Here’s the kick. You don’t have to spend precious time during your lunch break waiting in line, waiting for your food to arrive, and for the bill to arrive. You can use dining apps like Allset to optimize the process.
According to Allset CEO Stas Matviyenko, “Today speed is the defining characteristic of lunch etiquette in big cities. People are focused on time, speed, and efficiency. The most important part of the lunch break is not the food, but how long it takes to eat. We fixed that. We proved that a nice hot meal at a restaurant, not only a sandwich or snack at the office desk, can be efficient and fast. Allset makes it possible for people to enjoy a nice sit-down meal at restaurants in under 30 minutes and be more healthy and productive as a result.”
Allset allows you to book, order, and pay from your phone before arriving at your restaurant of choice, saving you the time and hassle you’d otherwise experience. You can also sign up for a business account to provide your employees with company-paid lunches at local restaurants.
Tip Three: Choose Light, Nutrient–Dense Foods For Lunch
According to nutritionist and New York Times best-selling author Kimberly Snyder, a heavy lunch can lead to a post-lunch slump, as our body diverts our energy to the digestive process.
As such, having a light lunch with high energy foods can help you maintain your energy. You should prioritize eating raw vegetables and meals with healthy fats and proteins.
Here are a few strong recommendations:
· Dark leafy greens like kale, spinach
· Whole grains like quinoa, millet
· If you’re not vegan, lean protein like eggs or wild fish
Organic salads will do the trick. Places that make great salads are Gracias Madre, Lunchpad, Nolita, Blue Barn Gourmet.
You can use the Nom app to explore restaurants with healthy food through photos and live videos from food bloggers and award-winning chefs. You can read tips from fellow eaters and chime in with your own.
Try these tips for 21 days and you should be well on your way to a more productive afternoon.