- Directions for a Chrononutrition lunch
- When should you have lunch?
- The traditional lunch next to the chronolunch
- An example of a chronolunch
Lunch isn’t the most evident meal in our society where almost everyone works full-time and runs from place to place. Nevertheless, it is worth the effort to stand still for a moment. Between breakfast and snacktime, you should refuel. It is good for your body, but also for your mind. Noon can be seen as a breakpoint to enjoy delicious food (even at work!) and to take a deep breath. After which everyone can pick up his or her tasks with replenished courage!
Directions for a Chrononutrition lunch
Here, you’ll find the directions for a person of about 160 cm (that’s me!). The volume of your lunch is also depended of your daily exercises. In my case, it is rather lightly active, because except of the few hours in which I teach standing, I pass a lot of time behind the computer while preparing classes or writing for my blog.
Lunch consists of two components: animal proteins and carbohydrates. For vegetarians, this will be hard to swallow, and because this is the reality for more and more people, soon I’ll write a blogpost in which you’ll find some suggestions to reply to the needs of vegetarians.
- red meat: 180 gr or
- white meat and poultry: 230 gr or
- charcuterie: 200 gr or
- eggs: 2+1/2
- 1 small bowl of about 25 cl
When should you have lunch?
In Dutch, there is the expression: “Tussen twaalf en één, eet iedereen”. This means: between twelve and one, everyone has his meal. It says a lot about the daily schedule in our region. Lunch breaks at work are often organised in a way that everyone can go eat at the same moment. Some shops close and in offices it gets very quiet.. I mostly eat between one and two. The reason is that I teach until half past twelve and then I have to travel half an hour to get home and be able to cook. You read it well: I can get home, cook and eat at ease at home. I understand that this is a luxury that not many people can permit.
If you are obligated to eat on a moment which is decided by others, you best take care to adapt your breakfast accordingly. Is there a long gap between breakfast and lunch? Then you should consider a more elaborate meal in the morning.
Try, even if you can’t eat at home, to always bring home made food. This way, you’ll at least know what you are eating. In many buildings, there is a microwave oven in the lunch room where you can heat up your meal and it is advisable to ask for it if there isn’t one yet. Everyone could benefit from it. There are also many interesting recipes which can be served cold, so lunch stays fun (even if you really can’t have a microwave oven). With Chrononutrition you aren’t eating a sad slice of bread with the same cheese over and over again any more, but complete meals. To be honest, some colleagues could get a bit jealous… Be prepared! 😉
The traditional lunch next to the chronolunch
“A decent meal exists out of a good portion of potatoes, rice or pasta, many vegetables and a piece of meat.” This is what in many families is the measure for a good meal. With potatoes, your stomach is quite filled and vegetables give you vitamins, it sounds a bit like a post-war message to promote reliability and thrift. As such, I can understand that in big families, putting a lot of meat on the table, it isn’t really a cheap decision. In the family I grew up in, that would have been more than a kilo of meat every day, I guess!! (four adults, active children + two working parents)
Nevertheless, it is worth considering reviewing the parts in the different nutritive groups. You can read more about the reasons in the books of Dr. Alain Delabos and on his website .
It can be difficult in the beginning, to step to a bigger meat consumption. You’ll thing you’re eating too much and it will have the exact opposite result of what you want. I found it difficult to. For a while, I was barely eating meat, only once a week. The reason for this were that I thought it was better for my health. In reality, I felt completely lifeless.
My favourite meats are rabbit, lamb and game (in the season). What good luck that in my aria there are quite some butchers who are specialised in those meats! I also buy quite often beef and pork. The more you vary, the more pleasant eating is!
When you see these sweet animals, you don’t want to eat them, only hug them. I understand the reasons that some vegetarians have completely. (Recently, I walked next to the huge slaughterhouse in my town and I saw a truck with some calves. One of them looked me right in the eye. My heart broke…) But being a vegetarian, doesn’t work for me. Eating meat stays in my opinion necessary and I believe that humankind had an evolution towards eating meat. Anyhow, the life quality of the animals is super important! That’s why we should all support more our local farmers in stead of buying extremely cheap meat in big supermarkets. I admit that from time to time, I burn myself on this point, put it is one of my resolutions to go more often to small butchers and buy my meat there. (Which I will certainly do once my boyfriend lives at my place!)
By going to smaller butchers in your area, you also support other aspects of your community. You’ll support the local economy, id est the butcher. Next to that, there is a bigger chance that the quality of your meat is better, but you’ll also be able to create a bond with other people of your community and you’ll be invested more emotionally in your direct environment. Which is a good thing!
Next to this, I believe that the production chain is shorter with local butchers and it is more transparent then when you buy at big anonymous chains. Maybe, if you’d go to a bio market, you’ll buy meat at a “travelling” butcher, you could also be certain of the life quality of the animals. Certainly, we often hear about the horrible practices that take place and it is terrible. But not all farmers are like that. We only hear the negative sounds. To be a farmer, you have to be absolutely passionate by your job and then you’ll also take care that your animals stay happy. I remember visits at farms where the technology is that way that the cow that is to be milked goes herself to a “milking station” when she felt the need. And Temple Grandin, a zoologist who specialised in slaughterhouses on big scale, worked on a very intrigant system to reduce the stress levels of the animals. It is possible to improve the “meat production”. We should support these researchers.
My advice: buy quality meat at local butchers!
Dr. Alain Delabos says that you’d best eat a small bowl of carbohydrates. On that point, I still need to work a bit and personally, I still find it strange to follow that rule strictly. I am very attached to my portion of vegetables and I believe that it provides my vitamins. The quantities should be more under control. When I learn more about Chrononutrition, I don’t know it all yet, it is a learning curve, then I’ll probably be able to accept it more.
Update: now I manage to follow the rule four out of seven days. I’m getting there!
Some examples of interesting products with carbohydrates are: potatoes, rice, couscous, quinoa, but also beans, chickpeas, lentils, green beans. You can have them in stock at home, so you’ll only need to grab for it when you prepare your lunch. Preferably, I take chickpeas and lentils in metal cans, so it doesn’t take much time to prepare. An ecological option, is the dried version, but you need to soak them the day before or they have to boil a long time.
Haricots and beans are delicious fresh in the season and out of the season when you can then (hmmm the nostalgia). It is also possible to freeze them when you don’t like the taste of canned haricots. Sometimes I buy, against my own principles, snow peas originating from Kenya (that is a looong distance to come to Belgium!). Next year, I’d like to cultivate them in my garden, to have them at all time (without having to feel guilty).
You best drink water with every meal, but if you like something with a taste, you can make some icetea (without sweetener!).
After a meal, I advise to drink a warm tea or coffee, so you make your body (and mind) think that you got an “extra”. Because, maybe you used to eat, just like me, always a dessert after every meal (a biscuit, chocolate, yoghurt). It is absolutely not good to have desserts. Keep your sweets aside until the snackmoment! Then you’ll choose more qualitative snacks (or whatever you want) and you’ll enjoy it more.
An example of a chronolunch
This meal approaches the directions of a good chronolunch:
Pork tenderloin with cajun herbmix, lentils prepared with carrots and onion
Which combinations would you make for your chronolunch to go? I’d like to read your opinion and experiences. Write your reaction below!
To read more:
- What exactly is “Chrononutrition”?
- What is your ideal size?
- A Chronobreakfast for beginners
- A Chronosnack
Delabos, A. (2005). Mincir sur mesure grâce à la Chrononutrition. Rouen, Frankrijk: éditions Albin Michel.