According to the Organization for Co-operation and Development, workers in the US rank number 19 for the average number of hours worked per week. Although those numbers do not do justice to corporate staff who often work up to 60 hours per week, statistics do show people are working more hours than in the past. Two-parent homes are also more likely to see both adults working. One way many individuals balance work with home or personal life is by getting the extra hours in over lunch.
Dr. Sarah Jane Bedwell, a nutritionist with SELF.com, says skipping lunch or eating at your desk can have negative nutrition consequences. People are more likely to make poor food choices and may not even pay attention to what they are eating. They also lose out on an important stress break during the day. Here are seven easy ways to eat healthy and reduce stress during your working lunch.
- If you eat at your desk, at least get up and stretch or take a 10 minute walk. Movement is essential for your entire body and can help work out stress kinks from the morning.
- Turn off the phone and close email or other communications while you lunch. You might still work on a project or other item, but by reducing the number of interruptions you will be more relaxed and more productive.
- Order your food online and have it delivered to save time and avoid the stress of rushing out to grab a bite.
- If possible, plan a working lunch with coworkers as a team building or cooperative effort. This works great for busy groups who cannot help but schedule meetings during traditional lunch times.
- If you can change your location while you work, a break from your desk often provides feelings of freedom and a reduction in stress. Take paperwork with you and picnic outside or bring your laptop to a quiet location.
- When packing or buying lunch, plan for eating at your desk. If you really are busy with work, you are not going to have time for eating elaborate dishes. Instead, you need items you can pick up and munch on. Health choices might include carrot or celery sticks, grilled chicken in a wrap and mixed nuts or almonds.
- Never lunch from the office snack machine. Cheese doodles, a pack of powdered donuts and a diet soda are not lunch and may actually reduce productivity throughout your day. Ingesting items that are high in sugar or caffeine may provide a boost of energy, but that will wear off by early or mid-afternoon. Low production at the end of the day will defeat the purpose of working through lunch.
No matter why you choose to work through lunch, avoid skipping the meal altogether and try to make healthy food choices. Eating healthy and taking a few minutes to relax or reduce stress will improve productivity throughout your week. When you work smarter and faster, you will not have to work so many hours to keep up.
Val Trenton is a guest writer for delivery.com, a site she recommends for finding delivery options in Stamford CT.