We’ve all done this. Your workload piles up and you don’t even have time to notice that you’re hungry, let alone focus on the importance of lunch breaks at work. Then, a few hours later hunger pangs strike, sending you digging for a stale protein bar or bag of trail mix. You can do better!
Eating lunch boosts physical and mental health
When you skip a meal, you’re more likely to take in extra calories later. In other words, your hunger can override your self-control! Missing meals may also change your metabolism and lead to weight gain.
Skipping meals can also trigger:
- Mood swings
- Heightened emotional responses
- Poor concentration
- Increased stress
So, miss lunch to get more work done, and you may find that the quality of your work suffers. That’s probably not the outcome you’re aiming for. Fortunately, changing this habit is easy to do.
How to make time for lunch
To be sure you actually eat lunch at work, block time off on your calendar like you would for any other appointment. Still not sure you’ll remember? Set a reminder or alarm on your phone or computer. Keep in mind that spacing your meals and snacks three to four hours apart is optimal for your health.
To up the odds that you won’t just ignore your lunch appointment in the middle of a crazy day, make plans to meet a friend or colleague. According to the UK’s Mental Health Foundation, sharing meals with others can help you feel more content, secure and connected. (It’s part of the mindful eating trend, too.) Eating with people can also give you the opportunity to find out what’s going on in other departments, and do some low-key networking. It’s a win-win!
Ideas for better work lunches
Pack one of these meals in your vintage lunch box, and you’ll be counting down the minutes until noon:
- If your mornings are hectic (and whose aren’t?) try these 42 quick lunch recipes.
- Need some creative ideas to shake up your routine? Here are 32 lunches to spice up your workday.
- For lunches that pack a nutritious punch, start with these 26 healthy lunch ideas.