According to the American Diabetic Association and ConAgra Foods Foundation 70% of Americans eat at their desks several times a week. The majority say they have no choice because they have too much work to do to “break” away. Unfortunately the drive to get ahead or even stay above water by eating at your desk during lunch can lead to poor nutritional choices which will lead to declining health.
“The desk was not designed to be an eating place,” says Rick Hall, RD, MS, a faculty member at Arizona State University in Phoenix. “So spending your lunch hour in front of your computer brings with it a number of issues.”
I get it! You’ve gotta eat and you’ve gotta pay the bills so keep reading for some expert tips on eating while you work if you must, but first, here are some reasons not to if you can help it.
Drawbacks of Eating at Your Desk During Lunch
- One of the biggest drawbacks to eating at your desk is that you’re not focused on your food. Instead, you’re sending e-mail, answering the phone, shuffling paper — the perfect recipe for overeating.
- “Eating at your desk encourages mindless eating, and overeating,” says Susan Moores, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. “You’re most likely multitasking and not paying attention to the amount of food you’re eating.”
- Lunching at your desk also means that instead of sitting in front of a computer for 8 hours a day, you’re doing it for 9.
- “Eating at your desk also prevents you from getting up and out of your office,” Moores says. “You need to get the heart pumping and the blood flowing again, and lunch is an important time to do that. If you’re sitting at your desk eating, you lose that opportunity.”
Now as promised for those of you who just can’t break away from that ever-expanding pile of work, here are some tips to make the best of the situation for your health:
- Watch what you eat. “Pay attention to what you’re putting in your mouth when you eat at your desk,” says Hall, who serves on the advisory board for the Arizona Governor’s Council on Health, Physical Fitness, and Sports. “And don’t overdo it by eating too much because you’re too focused on email. For lunch, you want to pick a meal that’s moderate in size but doesn’t fill you up.”
- Bring your lunch. “Lunch is a good opportunity to eat healthy,” says Hall. “Bring a salad with chicken, nuts, beans and veggies — you’ll get some great nutrients, including fiber and protein.” Avoid takeout lunches, which tend to be expensive, oversized, heavy in fat and calories, and lacking in nutrients. To keep your lunch safe, the American Dietetic Association recommends using an insulated lunch bag with a freezer pack to keep your food cold until you can put in the office refrigerator. But don’t let more than two hours pass before putting it back into a fridge.
- Walk when you can. “We’re genetically designed to move,” says Hall. “So spending lunch at your desk when you have a long day as it is, isn’t a good thing.” If you have to eat at your desk, look for ways to move during the day. Walk to the water cooler, from the farthest spot in the parking lot, to the copy machine – anything you can do to move your muscles. Better yet, get some physical activity when you get up or at the end of the day to make up for your stagnant lifestyle.
- Eat with a friend. “If you have to eat at your desk, invite an officemate over to eat with you,” Moores suggests. “It’s important from a productivity and creativity standpoint to get that break and interact with your colleagues.”
So what do you think? Does giving yourself a true 1 hour break sound doable? If not do the tips on how to make the best of it help you out? Let us know any tips that you use to stay on track with your healthy natural living goals while at work below. Here’s to making our Earthly Bodies a safe place to LIVE.
source of quotes: WebMD.com