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How to Tackle the Business Lunch

Keeping to a nutrition plan while dealing with client lunches can be hard. Fitness trainer and nutrition consultant Cheryl Lin tells you how to balance both.

  • How to Tackle the Business Lunch
  • Being-and-Doing

So, it’s 6:30 in the morning, you’ve made it to the gym, sweat is pouring out your pores and all in all you’re feeling pretty virtuous. Before you know it, you’re at the desk and your calendar bleeps at you with a reminder about the 12 o’clock lunch meeting. Today, it’s Japanese.

Week after week, you go through the motions of early morning sessions in the gym, 3 course business lunches and more often than not, client drinks in the evening. Such is the life of most suits today, and the reason why so many exasperate “I’m going to the gym but I can’t seem to lose any weight”.

The harsh reality is, you can never out-train a bad diet. If you spend ten hours each day hunched over a desk, and you’re consuming copious amounts of rich foods and alcohol, something’s got to give. Over time, ‘energy in’ far exceeds ‘energy out’ and this surplus manifests itself in a bulging waistline.

So question is, how do you keep your bosses happy and still make significant gains towards that new years resolution of dropping a few kilos? Here’s our Business Lunch Survival Guide:

  1. Viva la resistance
    Freshly baked bread at French restaurants is hard to resist but wave that flag of resistance! Not only will the bread encourage you to have butter, cheese and dips with it but it will also result in overeating, stomach distention, bloating, spikes in blood sugar levels and a vicious cycle of carbohydrate dependence.
    When having French, opt for oven-roasted meats, fresh salads, stew, ratatouille and grilled fish.
  2. Beware the wheat trap
    Make smart meal choices when having Italian and avoid dishes that are wheat-based such as pasta, noodles and pizza. Wheat is the most poorly digested grain and can often result in bloating and indigestion. Yeast and salt used in pizza dough can also cause water retention. This is why many often feel poorly, bloated and lethargic the day after a rich meal.
    When having Italian, select refreshing gazpachos, salads, grilled meats, fresh seafood, arrabbiata sauce and polenta.
  3. Tempura and Katsu
    Whilst many have the impression that Japanese is the healthiest type of cuisine, it isn’t if you’re eating deep-fried tempura and katsu! Did you know that sugar is a common ingredient in Japanese cooking and that Shoyu (Japanese soy sauce) has a high sodium content of about 14-18%?
    Opt instead for sashimi, edamame, soba (made from buckwheat), miso, yudofu, shabu-shabu and tataki.
  4. Stir-fried or Steamed
    Cooking methods of Chinese food can affect how healthy a dish is. Generally you would want to avoid anything deep-fried, broiled or fried due to the amount of fats and sugar used. Thick sauces such as “sweet and sour” are also incredibly unhealthy – just judge it by its colour and texture. Bite-sized dumplings are also dangerous as they are high in sodium and fat, and easy to overindulge on.
    When ordering at a Chinese restaurant, select dishes that have been steamed, braised or stir-fried, avoid noodles drowned in sauce, and include green leafy vegetables, broccoli, mushrooms and lean meats into your meal.
  5. Alcohol
    Avoid the alcohol and you avoid the sugar. Aside from being really high in sugar, alcohol adds no nutritional value to your body. When the body is metabolizing alcohol, other metabolic processes such as fat-burning are halted. Alcohol can also have detrimental affects on the body’s gastrointestinal tract and damage its ability to absorb nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Lose the pint and lose the weight.
  6. Portion control
    If you are not hosting the meal, you may not have control over what is ordered. You can however, control how much of it you consume. Exercise good portion control and for the less healthy items, be gracious and just sample a bite.

Keep your goals in mind, make smart choices and you won’t be putting your efforts in the gym to waste.

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About the Author

Cheryl draws on 15 years of experience in the fitness and dance industry to help clients map out strategies that fit with their lifestyles, coach them out of limiting mindsets and prescribe bespoke exercise regimes and nutrition plans. Services by Eat Train Love include personal training, wellness and nutrition counseling, weight loss programmes, pre and post natal fitness, pilates and yoga, outdoor bootcamps, corporate workshops, nutrition seminars and cooking classes.

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