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Best worst choice: skipping lunch

The gist:

Missing lunch can cause mental fatigue, lead to overeating, and hinder muscle recovery. When your schedule forces you to skip it, there are a few ways you can minimize those effects.

Expert insight:

When you go too long without food, your blood sugar and energy levels drop, says Dominic Matteo, a level 2 master call instructor at Precision Nutrition in Cleveland. Instead of reaching for caffeine, take a 10-minute walk to stimulate blood flow and feel more alert.

Ideally, you’d wait until dinner to eat since consistent mealtimes help you sleep well. (If you feel strong hunger pangs, reach for a snack that contains carbs, protein, and fiber, like berries with yogurt or beef jerky with fruit, Matteo says.)

There’s no need to make up for the lost calories at dinner, he notes. Prevent overeating by chewing consciously and putting your fork down between bites. 

If you had an afternoon or evening workout planned, you’re cleared to complete it without adjusting intensity.

The bottom line:

In one-off situations, skipping lunch won’t do much harm. If you make a habit of it, the cumulative effects may worsen your mood, increase cravings, and set your training back.