Make Healthier Lunch Choices With This Little Trick

Elinor Block

Much like everyone else at work, we often find ourselves struggling to make “good“ food choices when it comes to lunchtime. While we're pros at drinking a lot of water (thanks, Bkr!), we're not always so adept at making the right nutritional selection come 1 p.m. 

Whether that's because we think we deserve a treat for working hard, we're slammed and need to eat something quick at our desks, or just because our colleagues went for a tasty burrito (food envy is real, people), we'd be the first to admit we have a slightly unhealthy lunchtime eating habit. 

But, thanks to a new piece of research, there is a way to dig ourselves out of this “bad” eating rut. In fact, there's a super-simple trick to cutting down the number of calories we consume of a lunchtime. Keep scrolling to find out what the trick is, plus other lunchtime food ideas.

PHOTO:

Wildfox

In a piece of research titled Advance Ordering for Healthier Eating? Field Experiments on the Relationship Between the Meal Order–Consumption Time Delay and Meal Content (catchy, we know), it was discovered that those who ordered their lunchtime meal in advance were less likely to consume too many calories. 

As part of the experiment, researchers looked at over 1000 orders at lunch. They found that there was "a significant (100 calorie, or approximately 10%) reduction in lunch calories" when people ordered significantly in advance. 

Two field studies examined the online lunch orders of 690 employees using an on-site corporate cafeteria. The results from the studies revealed that there was a higher calorie content on the orders that had a shorter or no waiting time between placing the order and receiving it. 

Lead author on the paper, Eric M. VanEpps, said: "Our results show that ordering meals when you're already hungry and ready to eat leads to an overall increase in the number of calories ordered, and suggest that by ordering meals in advance, the likelihood of making indulgent purchases is drastically reduced."

As the Science of Us has also pointed out, this delay on food choices also stretches to grocery shopping, with another study showing how shoppers make healthier choices the longer the time is between ordering and receiving a food order. Hello, Ocado.

So there you have it. Want to eat fewer calories at work, or in general? It just comes down to a simple bit of planning ahead. 

What do you think about this? How do you stop yourself from over-eating at lunch?

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