Poll: Do You Eat Lunch Away from Your Desk?


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  145 comments   :  24,244 Views

Take a walk around my office at lunchtime, and you’ll see it’s definitely not the norm. In most offices, you’ll find lots of people eating at their desks while doing work or surfing the Web. In my office, lunchtime is very quiet. Many people go out at lunch (either to exercise or enjoy the sunshine), or some work out in our office gym. Rarely do you see people sitting at their desks working at lunch. Its part of our office culture, reinforcing the idea that fitness is an important part of your day.

According to a poll by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association), 75% of office workers eat lunch at their desks 2-3 times a week. Tony Schwartz, author of "The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working," started the new Take Back Your Lunch movement to encourage office workers to spend their lunch hours away from their desks. He is spreading the word about this movement through sites like Facebook and Twitter, and so far over 1,000 people have committed to spending their lunchtime doing something other than sitting and working.

Participants in the program say getting away from their desks and getting some fresh air has increased their energy levels, mood, and helps them reset for the rest of the day. Even if you can’t get outside at lunch time, try eating away from your desk or taking time for a quick workout. Need ideas? Check out Coach Nicole’s 15-Minute Desk Workout and 5-Minute Power Boosters for the Office.

Do you eat lunch away from your desk? If not, why? Do you feel like you don’t have time? Is it not acceptable in your office?

If you do eat lunch away from your desk, how does that break make you feel? Do you exercise at lunchtime?

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  • 145
    This is as big a problem as any obesity in children. There is no paperwork on any desk that can't sit long enough for a worker to have a break. Even old-time sweat shops broke for lunch. American office workers are being grossly exploited and should ban together to end this practice.
    - 10/5/2013   3:41:21 PM
    I am the only person in my office who leaves for lunch. I'm trying to change our office culture! - 7/15/2013   1:49:31 PM
  • 143
    I eat at my desk most days. I try to walk twice a day but after reading some of these comments I am going to start walking on my lunch break because when I get away it does make a difference. I'm trying to get some activity in through out the day. I'm not consistent yet but working on it. - 11/11/2012   3:49:42 PM
    No I do not eat lunch away from my desk, but I can usually eat as I work, then I can go out and spend my lunch time doing something else like getting a brisk walk or doing some shopping. - 9/29/2010   12:41:17 PM
  • 141
    I have an hour lunch and live close to work. I used to stay in the office, but I found I could go home, eat lunch and still have time to do some housework. - 9/15/2010   12:19:52 PM
  • 140
    No, I do not eat at my desk -- only on occasion. Although I work with a good group of people, the nature of my work is stressful, so my lunch hour is very precious to me. My employer does provide a nice, comfortable break room for lunch/lounging. However, I only utilize it during the cold weather, as I usually eat lunch on the rooftop of the building -- a great get-a-way. I usually eat lunch and get in a 30-minute walk, at least 3-4 days/week. If it's too cold, I will utilize the gym in the building. I work within walking distance of monuments, museums and the White House in Washington, DC, so I always get in a nice walk. - 9/13/2010   3:38:42 PM
  • 139
    I usually start out eating at my desk, but I read articles on Spark instead of work. Once I'm done eating, I usually walk the plaza my office is near. It's a mile round trip from one end to the other, so it's a good way to add steps to my pedometer and clear my head, boost my energy and move around more.
    I turned down a job that offered more money recently. I had asked some questions about the job, one of which was "what do we get for a lunch break?" The woman laughed and said "there's never time. I just bring a sandwich and try to remember to eat it at some point." I knew that was definately going to be the kind of job that just wasn't worth the money! - 9/8/2010   10:15:38 PM
    When I bring my lunch I eat at my desk & am either on SP or playing a game. I've started to go & walk the parking lot ramps... there is not a cafeteria in my building and the closest place to walk is about a 20-25 min walk for me and by the time I would get there would have to turn around & head back. My knees are not quite ready for that on a daily basis, but I'm working on that with walking the parking lot ramps trying to build endurance a couple days a week. My boss does not bother me while I'm eating unless it is an emergency & then I'm allowed to finish my hour. - 9/7/2010   3:59:54 PM
    Eatting away from my desk is hard on most days. Sometimes I plan to get lunch from the cafe across the street just so I can ensure I get a short walk in. - 9/4/2010   10:37:37 PM
  • 136
    No, I don't eat at my desk or my boss would expect me to work and it's an un-paid hour lunch. Sometimes I walk outside or up and down the hallway, or read. - 9/4/2010   7:06:39 PM
  • 135
    I usually do, so that I can leave work 1/2 hour earlier and still have time to get out and enjoy the sunshine. - 9/4/2010   12:22:45 PM
  • 134
    I generally eat lunch at my desk, although I rarely work through lunch. Usually I'm on SP at lunch. - 9/4/2010   10:08:04 AM
    I only get 30 minutes for lunch so - YES, I eat at my desk (while I continue to work). I go out (to my car for a power nap or to read or for a walk) for my 30 minute break. - 9/3/2010   6:26:15 PM
  • 132
    My lunch "hour" is 30 minutes. I eat at my desk and run after work or before.
    We have outside eating areas but they are always full of customers and I don't want to sit there. Ditto our indoor eating area. The break room is tiny and I get a bit annoyed at the noise. So, I have a quiet lunch alone. :) - 9/3/2010   4:23:17 PM
    I eat at my desk while I work - wish I didn't have to but that is the culture in my office (everybody does) - 9/2/2010   8:05:45 PM
  • 130
    I used to eat at my desk over lunch all the time, which I have no excuse for, since I work from home. With the prodding of my nutritionist, I started eating at our dining room table. It has helped a lot for me in terms of mentally marking the beginning and ending of meals, especially since I tend to graze. It's also good practice to shift gears for a little bit, and stop staring at the screen. Even just moving around and sitting in a different chair for a little bit helps in terms of minimizing muscle and joint stress. - 9/2/2010   3:15:04 PM
  • 129
    Most of the time I eat at my desk, but I try to walk for my luch - 9/2/2010   3:04:41 PM
    I eat at my desk these days because there's no where else to do it. But at my old office, I almost never ate at my desk - used to go to the canteen and eat there. And then I'd often go for a walk afterwards too. - 9/2/2010   3:03:31 PM
  • 127
    I find that I eat at my desk as well. I try to go downstairs to the cafeteria just to get away from the desk. But sometimes I have personal things I need to take care and I need the computer. But I will do a better job of leaving my desk. - 9/2/2010   2:42:37 PM
  • 126
    I eat at my desk. My commute is long, & if I took a longer lunchtime it would make my day away from home REALLY long! But I get up several times a day for quick exercise, both cardio & strength training. Fortunately I have an office with a door I can shut! - 9/2/2010   1:07:32 PM
  • 125
    I like to get away from my desk (take the stairs, they're always empty) and have a nice walk around a shady block on our campus. BUT, I'll admit, since I've been back in school, I have lunch at my desk for the full hour, because I'm trying to cram in homework, so I don't miss more kid-time in the evenings than I have to.
    Most of the women in my office walk at lunch, and I even made a map of our campus for an employee health initiative, so the walkers knew how far they were going on their breaks each day. Good for my employer! - 9/2/2010   11:34:48 AM
  • 124
    I am the only employee for three doctors (psychiatrist/psychologists). There is no break room here, so, yes, I do eat at my desk. When it isn't so hot (or cold) outside, I'll eat in my car just to get away from the office environment. It's not ideal, but I usually have something to read or come to SparkPeople, log in, and "visit" a while. - 9/2/2010   10:33:53 AM
  • 123
    I always eat at my desk. I don't like to socialize with some of the people I work with in the cafeteria and the food there is not very healty, anyway. It takes too long to go out somewhere, even if I have a car which I usually don't. - 9/2/2010   6:10:48 AM
  • 122
    I walk everyday on my lunch for the first 1/2 hr to 45 mins. When I get back I am energized for the afternoon. I then bring what I packed for lunch and eat it at my desk. I use to work in a job that I barely got a lunch at all. I believe that is how I gained all of my weight back. That and stress. I really love being able to take some time for me an hour every day. - 9/1/2010   11:53:43 PM
  • 121
    I worked as a nurse and it was hard to get lunch breaks, but I always liked to get outside on the patio just to feel like I was "away". I'd bring my food, since I disliked eating cafeteria food and it took to long to wait in line for it. - 9/1/2010   11:23:28 PM
  • 120
    I don't work but when I did I would try to get away at least 2 times a week. I also liked to take a walk after I eat for 15-20 mins. - 9/1/2010   10:59:17 PM
  • 119
    You asked
    (1) Do you eat lunch away from your desk? No, I eat lunch everyday at my desk.
    (2) If not, why? I just have fell into a habit of being alone at lunch time and eating at my desk.
    (3) Do you feel like you donít have time? I have plenty of time to eat away from my desk, because most of the time I bring my lunch. I just don't have a good reason to eat away from my desk. I got into the habit of eating at my desk when I was taking classes to finish my degree and the habit stayed with me after two years.
    Is it not acceptable in your office? lots of people eat at their desk during lunch time
    If you do eat lunch away from your desk, how does that break make you feel? Do you exercise at lunchtime?

    - 9/1/2010   9:58:47 PM
  • 118
    I am so ashamed of this. I do not make lunch interesting away from my desk. I eat lunch at my desk everyday. Today is Sept. 1 and from this point I will make it a point to eat away from my desk. - 9/1/2010   9:46:27 PM
  • 117
    Today it's 8pm, and I'm just now getting breakfast, lunch, and supper! Not the norm, but today wasn't either. I did manage to grab a handful of cashews around lunchtime, and I snarfed a banana on my way to water aerobics, so now I'm having a Subway roast beef. YUM!! - 9/1/2010   9:03:02 PM
  • 116
    My office does not have a break room and most days I work from home. It is not always easy to get a break. Today for instance was on conference call from 11-2 and from 2:30 to 4. When I have the time I do try to get away -- if home I will throw in a laundry and walk outside for a short bit. But most days it is already 4 and I have not really taken a break. - 9/1/2010   8:34:36 PM
  • 115
    Sometimes I need to because I need a certain amount of hours. I prefer to literally get outside and get air - 9/1/2010   8:03:15 PM
  • 114
    I almost always break for lunch--away from my desk. I feel it is good to get a little sunshine and some diversion to clear the mind. I feel a little guilty sometimes as the majority of my workmates do not go out. - 9/1/2010   8:01:08 PM
  • 113
    I use my lunch break to go to the gym. When I get back, then I eat my lunch at my desk! - 9/1/2010   6:04:25 PM
  • 112
    We have a big break room with 2 refrigerators and a microwave, along with pop and candy machines (boo!) I only get a half an hour, so I don't exercise, but I also do not work at a desk, so most of my job is on my feet and moving all day. You think I'd be skinny, huh? Oh, and the break makes me feel relaxed :) - 9/1/2010   5:44:14 PM
  • DAPHNE85
    Occasionally I'll sneak outside with a book and my ipod, but usually after I've gobbled down my lunch at my desk. That's maybe once every couple of weeks. - 9/1/2010   5:44:06 PM
    I walk home for lunch and back to work. I live 2 blocks away so I spend 10 minutes of my lunch walking and 20 eating.
    I also walk to work and back daily. - 9/1/2010   4:48:23 PM
  • 109
    I am fortunate enough to have a small kitchen in our office and a boss who likes to cook. Together we prepare simple recipes, add a salad or sandwich and enjoy 30 - 45 minutes on netflix. Lunch is always enjoyable. - 9/1/2010   4:42:11 PM
  • 108
    huh--i WISH! - 9/1/2010   4:35:48 PM
  • 107
    I sure do. Anything to get away from that hellhole, even if it means eating in my car!! - 9/1/2010   4:12:14 PM
  • 106
    I eat my lunch AWAY from my desk, and it all depends on the day of how much time I get. I usually use that time to just breathe and relax but typically I am not able to exercise then. - 9/1/2010   3:38:41 PM
  • 105
    I eat lunch away form my desk every day. It is my mid day break from the computer. - 9/1/2010   2:58:55 PM
  • 104
    I eat away from my desk. That's my one free moment for me and I LOVE IT!!! I don't get to exercise due to my location and time crunch. - 9/1/2010   1:59:40 PM
  • 103
    I eat lunch at my desk, but that's because I work an hourly job. I spend my actual lunch hour outside running or at the gym. - 9/1/2010   1:49:09 PM
  • 102
    If I bring my lunch, I will eat at my desk simply because we don't have any sort of break room to go to, and the few outdoor tables are along a busy street and it's often cold &/or windy. If I go out for lunch, I always walk at least a little. If I eat at my desk, I try to get out for a 20 min walk later in the afternoon, around 3 or 4. I often need a little air by then anyways. - 9/1/2010   1:21:13 PM
    I am not able to leave my work area during lunch so I must stay at the desk. But, I don't have to work while I eat. Although I have found ways to get in some movement and exercise during my breaks so I think it will work out. I make going out to get the mail a fun little exercise... - 9/1/2010   1:00:09 PM
  • 100
    I eat my snacks and breakfast at my desk. I have to be subtle because I sit out front. I go home for lunch every day to let my puppy out and to see my honey. I love to go home and take a real break. My afternoon break, I spend walking. - 9/1/2010   12:20:00 PM
  • 99
    I never eat at my desk. If I am sitting at my desk I feel compelled to work and I take my lunch and eat in the break room with my coworkers. I use 30 minutes for lunch and then we go for a 30 minute walk, when the weather allows. - 9/1/2010   11:50:21 AM
  • 98
    While I don't sit at a desk at work - I am guilty of eating and working in the back room of the store - instead of just eating. I rarely go out since it is healthier to bring my lunch - I see what needs to be done and often do it after eating or while I am eating on the move. Not good I know! - 9/1/2010   11:46:17 AM
  • 25LADY
    I cannot eat lunch at my de3sk. Number #1 reason - It IS not allowed in our office. I usually eat my lunch in our lunchroom & then go out for a 15 minute walk. I want to exercise after eating my lunch no matter how healthy I make my lunch. Walking destresses me & I need to get out of the office sometimes. - 9/1/2010   11:45:32 AM
  • 96
    HAHAH!!!! This cracks me up. My boss orders us lunch every day so we will stay glued to our seats. - 9/1/2010   11:29:54 AM

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