Rethink your lunch schedule

Skipping lunch? Eating lunch at your desk? Stop!

With workloads being what they are today, many of us wind up eating lunch at our desks on a regular basis. A survey from the American Dietetic Association finds that 75 percent of office workers eat lunch at their desks as often as two or three times a week.€¨Â€¨

That, says registered dietician and association spokesperson Elisa Zied, can have a negative impact in a lot of ways.

"If you're sitting and eating lunch at your desk, you're not getting outside," Zied points out. "You're not exposing yourself to physical activity, and everybody needs about 30 minutes a day of physical activity."

Even a 10-minute or 15-minute brisk walk at lunchtime can boost your spirits, make your muscles stronger and burn some calories. 


"People are staying inside to keep warm, but it's really important to get outside at least two to three times a week for 15 or 20 minutes to help your skin make vitamin D (from sunshine)."

If you’re like me, you probably don’t take a lunch every single day outside of the office. I often tell myself I have too much work to do, and eating lunch or even getting outside is purely a waste of time. But I am the first person to say or think that everyone should get out on their lunch hour, so why don’t I?

Obviously, skipping a meal means skipping any nutrition you would have eaten at that meal. It's hard enough to get in all our servings of fruit, vegetables, dairy, etc. If you skip a meal, how are you ever going to fit all those nutrient-dense foods in later in the day?!

At least 85 percent of the working women I talked to on this subject admitted to skipping lunches at least once a week; and if they weren’t skipping lunches, they were shoving their lunches down their gullets as fast as they could right at their desk — so much for a break in the day.

Skipping lunches really makes the day seem quite a bit longer. The other 15 percent? Well, they take their lunch outside of the office every day, no matter what. They may not eat and choose to work out (now they have got it together!), for instance, but they take an hour break, nonetheless. 

Rick Mohr, manager of the Advanced Solutions team at Steelcase, says the two-hour lunch is a thing of the past.

"More people are working through their lunch hours because the nature of work has changed. For example, there is increased pressure to perform and get things done in today's more complex business environment. Also in some organizations, up to 70 percent of the workday is spent working in teams, and those people need to find time to get their individual tasks done during the workday. Lastly, office workers may just want to get home to their families a little earlier at the end of the day in search of some quality time."

The bottom line is, women who are rushing to meetings, glued to their computer or telephone, not leaving their desks — are not making time for a break to re-energize. Start taking the time, ladies — we all deserve it.

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