Eating at your desk is one of the most common workplace health mistakes. ‘But why is it so bad,’ you ask? The reason it’s such a harmful health pitfall is because research shows that when we try to eat and do something else at the same time, the brain takes longer to figure out that you’re actually full and it doesn’t register what you’ve eaten. That’s one of three reasons to ditch the desk during your next lunch break:
Distracted Eating Could Lead to Consuming More Food
A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition tested the effects of distracted eating (playing a computer game) on subjects’ rate of eating, satisfaction of the meal and amount eaten afterward when snacking. The results showed that distracted eaters ate faster, consumed more calories, felt less satisfied and ate 40 to 100% more in an afternoon snack, compared to those who ate lunch without distractions. Plus, subjects who ate up to twice as many calories didn’t report feeling any more satisfied compared to those who ate less and had no distractions. Yikes!
Our Bodies Need a Break From Sitting
Not only is it bad to eat when distracted, but taking a desk-side lunch doesn’t give our body a break from sitting. As adults, we should be getting at least 150 minutes of exercise each week. It seems like a lot, but it’s manageable! If you have an hour lunch break, get up and take a walk for 30 minutes of each lunch, or try doing squats, wall sits, push-ups, or whatever you have the ability to do. If you do this each lunch for 5 days of the week, you have reached 150 minutes! Plus, you’ll have an extra 30 minutes left over to enjoy a well-balanced meal (try bringing lunch from home).
A Break From Work Could Boost Creativity
Many people eat lunch at their desk so they can work and eat at the same time. As previously mentioned, this can wreak havoc on your waistline, but it could also affect your ability to think creatively. Why? Because your brain needs a restorative break to fuel itself for the rest of the workday. Weather permitting, visit a nearby park and enjoy nature or simply join a co-worker for a conversation over lunch at your favorite cafe. Your brain, and body, will thank you!