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The pros and cons of a hot lunch

  1. If there is something Dutch, it is the cheese sandwich at lunch. In almost all other countries, hot food is served around noon. Foreigners often look weird at our lunch habits. But… something is changing. More and more often you also see real, hot meals on lunch cards. Instead of just soup and bouncers, you can also opt for pasta dishes, stir-fries and meal salads. Lunch is upgrading, also at home. But is that healthy?

  2. If there is something Dutch, it is the cheese sandwich at lunch. In almost all other countries, hot food is served around noon. Foreigners often look weird at our lunch habits. But… something is changing. More and more often you also see real, hot meals on lunch cards. Instead of just soup and bouncers, you can also opt for pasta dishes, stir-fries and meal salads. Lunch is upgrading, also at home. But is that really healthy?

  1. The funny thing is that around fifty years ago, hot food was quite normal in the Netherlands. In most households, a hot meal was served at home every afternoon around noon. Hubby cycled home and the kids came walking or cycling home from school to eat the potato-vegetable-meat meal mothers had already cooked in the morning. In the evening they usually ate bread, possibly with soup or some leftovers from the midday meal. That has all changed. The average Dutch lunch now consists of bread topped with savory and sweet, possibly supplemented with a bowl of soup or a savory snack. The hot meal is generally only eaten in the evening.

  2. The funny thing is that around fifty years ago, hot food was quite normal in the Netherlands. In most households, a hot meal was served at home every afternoon around noon. Hubby cycled home and the kids came walking or cycling home from school to eat the potato-vegetable-meat meal that mothers had already cooked in the morning. In the evening they usually ate bread, possibly with soup or some leftovers from the midday meal. That has all changed. The average Dutch lunch now consists of bread topped with savory and sweet, possibly supplemented with a bowl of soup or a savory snack. The hot meal is generally only eaten in the evening.

The benefits of a hot lunch

  1. A hot lunch has its advantages. Usually a hot lunch contains some vegetables, or you eat a salad with it. Since we usually eat far too few vegetables in the Netherlands, that is a nice bonus. Another advantage of a hot lunch is that it is usually a more complete meal than just a sandwich with cheese, cold cuts or sweets. Most hot meals contain vegetables, meat, fish, grains and / or legumes. These provide your body with good nutrients and thus contribute to a healthy diet. A warm meal also contains less sugars than an average Dutch lunch, with sweet toppings still scores high. In addition, a complete meal ensures much more satiety. That means your stomach and intestines take longer to digest the food. This prevents the feeling of hunger in the course of the afternoon and prevents unhealthy snacking or snacking in between. A hot lunch is also much more varied than a bread lunch. And a varied diet is one of the basic principles of healthy eating. Another advantage of the hot lunch is that you really have to spend some time on it. It's not so easy to eat a hot lunch at your desk while you are still working on some emails. For a hot lunch you have to take some time. And that is a good habit, because those who eat with attention, eat more consciously and therefore generally less likely to overeat. Taking a break from work for a meal can also help you deal with work stress a little better.

  2. A hot lunch has its advantages. Usually a hot lunch contains some vegetables, or you eat a salad with it. Since we usually eat far too few vegetables in the Netherlands, that is a nice bonus. Another advantage of a hot lunch is that it is usually a more complete meal than just a sandwich with cheese, cold cuts or sweets. Most hot meals contain vegetables, meat, fish, grains and / or legumes. These provide your body with good nutrients and thus contribute to a healthy diet. A warm meal also contains less sugars than an average Dutch lunch, with sweet fillings still scores high. In addition, a complete meal ensures much more satiety. That means that your stomach and intestines take longer to digest the food. This prevents the feeling of hunger during the afternoon and prevents unhealthy snacks or sweets in between. A hot lunch is also much more varied than a bread lunch. And a varied diet is one of the basic principles of healthy eating. Another advantage of the hot lunch is that you really have to spend some time on it. It is not so easy to eat a hot lunch at your desk while you are still working on some emails. For a hot lunch you have to take some time. And that is a good habit, because those who eat with attention, eat more consciously and therefore generally less likely to overeat. Taking a break from work for a meal can also help you deal with work stress a little better.

The after-lunch dip

  1. Are there no disadvantages? Yes! It is not so easy to take a hot lunch with you to work. You are dependent on (expensive) restaurants and company canteens. Or you have to invest in thermos flasks and trays to take something warm when there is no microwave or oven at work. Another disadvantage is that a hot meal is usually a bit larger than a standard lunch. And such a copious meal during the lunch break can provide the infamous after-lunch dip. Your body needs some time to get started with the meal you just received. Everything in your body is then focused on that. That means you may feel a little tired after such an extensive meal. Best give in to that. Have a quiet cup of tea or coffee to finish, or take a leisurely walk before returning to work. All in all, the hot lunch will also take you a little more time.

  2. Are there no disadvantages? Yes! It is not so easy to take a hot lunch with you to work. You are dependent on (expensive) restaurants and company canteens. Or you should invest in thermos flasks and trays to take something warm with you when there is no microwave or oven at work. Another disadvantage is that a hot meal is usually a bit larger than a standard lunch. And such a lavish meal during the lunch break can provide the infamous after-lunch dip. Your body needs some time to get started with the meal you just received. Everything in your body is then focused on that. That means you may feel a little tired after such an extensive meal. Best give in to that. Have a quiet cup of tea or coffee to finish, or take a leisurely walk before going back to work. All in all, the hot lunch will also take you a little more time.

Enjoy a healthy hot lunch like this

  1. Of course you can also choose a hot lunch in such a way that you are absolutely not healthy. A pizza, meal with chips or a kebab sandwich every day may be warm, but really not the best choice. A healthy hot lunch provides you with the right nutrients and prevents you from getting hungry and sniffing during the afternoon. A healthy hot lunch contains: Vegetables: take a generous portion. It is best if half of your meal consists of vegetables. This way you get a lot of vitamins, minerals and fiber. The vegetables can be prepared in all kinds of ways, it does not matter: boiled, stir-fried, roasted, as a salad, in a sauce or in a soup. Protein. Proteins make you feel full and prevent you from feeling hungry again soon after a meal. Choose chicken, meat, fish or eggs or a vegetarian protein source such as bean curd or tempeh, legumes or nuts. A portion of rice, pasta, potatoes or bread does not have to be very large. About a quarter of your plate is sufficient. Choose potatoes, wholemeal pasta, couscous, brown rice or wholemeal bread, because they provide you with a lot of fiber and that in turn ensures that you don't get hungry so quickly. Oil or butter to prepare your meal is also included. These fats ensure that the fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D and E are better absorbed by your body. And fat, just like fiber and protein, ensures satiety: it prevents you from getting hungry again quickly. Always drink with your (warm) lunch, because your body needs a lot of moisture. A glass of water is fine, but it could also be a cup of milk or a cup of tea.

Hot twice a day

  1. If a hot lunch means eating hot twice a day, is that a problem? No. It doesn't matter whether a meal is hot or cold. It's always about the composition. And because the composition of a hot lunch is generally healthier than a sandwich meal of bread with toppings alone, hot food twice a day is not an issue.

6 Tips for a healthy hot lunch Thai noodle soup Zucchini soup with shrimp Lukewarm rice salad Pasta kale pesto Quick broccoli and seafood pasta Quick spinach omelette Also read Lunch walking keeps you healthy Lunch at your desk is that unhealthy Swedish trend: exercise during the lunch break 6 tips for adding more vegetables to your hot meal Don't miss anything anymore?

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