Health Watch -- A Good Lunch

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

You hear a lot about the importance of a good breakfast, but what about a good lunch?

A nutritious breakfast will help get you through the morning. Then you need a good lunch to help get you through the rest of the day. But what is a good lunch?

Nutrition experts at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas say a well-balanced meal is key. It is true that a meal full of carbohydrate-rich foods will increase levels of tryptophan and serotonin, which can lead to sleepiness. But UT Southwestern nutritionists say you're unlikely to get this effect from a balanced meal that contains a mixture of carbohydrates, protein and fats.

To avoid a mid-afternoon slump, try to make time to eat a light, well-balanced meal. Don't just grab some pretzels, chips or cookies from a vending machine. On the other hand, you don't want a heavy meal. That could make you sleepy while your body is busy digesting.

Drinking alcohol with lunch can make you sleepy during the afternoon. While caffeinated, sugary beverages may give you a little boost that can wear off in the long run and lead to an energy slump.

A quick walk around the block during your lunch break is another way to get a boost to help get through the rest of the day.


May 2004