Poll: Do You Eat Lunch Away from Your Desk?


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  145 comments   :  23,786 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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  • 95
    I eat at my desk everyday and then go out and walk for 20-30 min. - 9/1/2010   11:28:30 AM
  • 94
    I eat lunch at my desk about 3 times a week AFTER I spend my lunch hour, or most of it, walking or running. - 9/1/2010   11:23:48 AM
    I live close enough to home that I go home for our hour lunchbreak. We get a snuggle with the cat and chance to be somewhere else.

    Before I moved there though, I would eat in the lunchroom or if it was nice outside a coworker and I would go to a nearby park and sit outside. - 9/1/2010   11:20:58 AM
  • 92
    I eat lunch at my desk 3-4 days a week (some weeks, 5 days). This is because I am usually late for work, b/c I refuse to give up my morning workout and I have a hard time getting up early. So I work through lunch to make up for my exercise routine. - 9/1/2010   10:42:56 AM
  • 91
    I have lunch in the break room although I rarely take a full 30 minutes for lunch. I go back to work once I am finished. Most of the people I work with, go outside and sit on the front deck after they are done eating. - 9/1/2010   10:35:48 AM
  • 90
    I do not eat at my desk, partially because I'm front line customer service (and thus cant) and partially because I simply do not want to (even if I could). Lunch is served on my building so I simply go downstairs to the canteen, join the line, swipe my card and get my lunch (the way I want it). The canteen staff who serve on the front line regularly know my portions by now but I still make sure to point out exactly what I want regardless as they do not cook the same menu daily. Anyhoo, I generally spend 30mins in the lunch room (5-10mins spent in the line and the remaining time eating with my lunch group) and the other 30mins I either go for a quick walk or at the very least the lunch group is definitely outside getting some warmth from the sun (it's very cold inside my building). - 9/1/2010   10:22:10 AM
  • 89
    I do eat my lunch at my desk while I am working. However, as soon as I am done to go to our company gym and workout for an hour and consider that my lunch hour. :) - 9/1/2010   10:06:27 AM
  • COMOM-
    I work through lunch without taking a break! It's a choice to make the day shorter and reduce child care costs! During the school year, we alternate picking up the kids so they are not in care at all - a benefit for them and us! - 9/1/2010   9:50:45 AM
    I am guilty of eating lunch at my desk when I'm feeling really stressed out with too much to do at work. Most days I eat lunch in the cafeteria/lunch room and socialize with other people in different departments. It's good for me to do that - rather than work out since i'm single and live on my own - so lunch time allows me a social life and when I'm at home I can work out on my own. - 9/1/2010   9:47:55 AM
  • 86
    I do get away most days for a 2 mile walk, but I still eat my lunch while I am working. That way I don't take time away from my walk and still get a chance to fuel my body. - 9/1/2010   9:39:00 AM
  • 85
    I go to Curves on my lunch hour. Then I eat at my desk afterward. I also eat breakfast at my desk, but I try to take a bit of a break while eating (usually reading my Spark emails) - 9/1/2010   9:34:52 AM
  • 84
    I almost always eat lunch at my desk, but not to work. I like to do sparkpeople or surf the interent for leisure. I also do my genealogy or whatever I want to do that I cannot do while working. Often times, weather permitting, I do go out for a walk, but on really hot humid days, I stay in and peruse spark. Everyone else (2 others) in the office goes home or runs errands. - 9/1/2010   9:32:00 AM
  • 83
    Well, I eat lunch away from my desk, but I eat alone which is also considered "not good" in many schools of thought. I rush through eating because although I have a legal right to take a specific amount of time for my lunch break, my employers kind of sneer at me if I take longer than 20 minutes.

    Mind you, they think nothing of leaving for their mid-day breaks and coming back 2 or three hours later...I don't care if you're my boss. Shouldn't you lead by example?

    I so need a new job! - 9/1/2010   9:22:11 AM
    I eat at my desk only because there really is no other place to eat. However, I do take a lunch time walk to run errands and get away from the job. - 9/1/2010   8:49:44 AM
  • 81
    I go to the gym on my lunch break . So I eat at my desk. - 9/1/2010   8:15:30 AM
  • SUNSET09
    I eat lunch at my desk most of the time to get ahead of the game after lunch. During and after lunch is when we're busy! I do enjoy a walk around the building or just getting out, sitting undr the tree. It does offer a second wind and get my head right and more focused. It also makes the day seem shorter! - 9/1/2010   8:12:31 AM
  • 79
    I'm not allowed to leave my desk, so I don't get to. I don't actually get a lunch break...the company found some loophole in the labor laws here that keeps me chained to the desk for the full eight hours. I get to nibble on meals whenever there's a break in the flow of customers. I don't get any official breaks. I'd love to take walk breaks, but I have to stay in the office the whole time. - 9/1/2010   7:58:38 AM
  • 78
    When the weather is good, I walk. When it's bad, I work sudoku puzzles and visit with co-workers. Sometimes I eat at my desk, but I really hate to do it. The phone keeps ringing and the boss keeps asking for stuff! - 9/1/2010   7:45:21 AM
  • 77
    I'm a night shift nurse in an ER - we usually eat at the desk. There's usually not enough time to take a 30 minute break away, and the break room gets lonely. I'll make a small picnic area with a paper pad. That way, I don't have to worry about my food getting on the desk, or the "cooties" from the desk getting on my food. I just bundle it up and throw it away when I'm done. I can also take lots of time to eat - much better than hurrying to swallow down my meal in a few minutes. There's really no where to go outside and sit or walk between midnight and dawn! - 9/1/2010   7:40:51 AM
  • 76
    I have to eat with my students. That means either eating at my desk or outside if it's a nice day. Regardless, there's no downtime. Planning periods are disjointed this year---lots of time lost in transit from one class to another and we take/bring the kids back. I almost never snack at school, though. Just eat lunch and monitor the playground. - 9/1/2010   7:17:32 AM
    I workout in our office gym during my lunch break. So I eat at my desk when I get done. But I am still getting away. - 9/1/2010   7:07:25 AM
  • 74
    I have an hour each day for lunch. I eat for about 20-30 min. and walk the remainder. It has become such a habit over the last couple of years that I do it without thinking now. l love how it makes the remainder of me day seem fresh and i'm renewed for a bit. If it rains I walk indoors. - 9/1/2010   7:03:40 AM
    I used to spend my whole lunch hour sitting and eating at my desk. Now a bunch of us go out and walk. We've been getting in about 2 miles each day. It's a great break in the routine and something I look forward to each day. - 9/1/2010   6:34:31 AM
  • 72
    I eat a working lunch at my desk every day. One of my challenges is taking the time to actually eat lunch (which is always a healthy salad I am proud to say). That's just the way it is for my job. I take time for myself in the evening by exercising regularly - that is my "quiet time". - 9/1/2010   6:18:09 AM
  • 71
    Like some others have said, I usually use my lunch hour to walk, then eat at my desk when I come back. I used to take my sandwich with me and eat it while I was walking, but now I have adapted to eating a bit later so I can wait until I come back. I also use my morning break to walk and then usually have a snack at my desk after I come back. - 9/1/2010   5:15:39 AM
  • EMP1955
    Our custodian, promptly comes along to remind us "It's lunchtime", otherwise we'd often work right through our 1/2 hour lunchperiod. It's great because we have to walk a ways to get to the lunchroom...have some great chit chat and relax during a stressfilled day. And weather permitting we manage to sit outside at a picnic table or walk around the building while munching on finger food. As a team, we work together in all aspects of the job, including interpersonal relationships. - 8/31/2010   11:28:43 PM
  • 69
    I eat all meals except dinner at my desk generally working at the same time....seems that most of the folks in my office do the same...Can you talk to our bosses?!?!? LOL! - 8/31/2010   9:35:34 PM
  • 68
    I eat breakfast, lunch, and one snack at my desk and another snack in the car. In my line of work, we are required to meet a productivity standard... we have to conduct 50% face-to-face meetings with clients, 15% collateral work (phone time) and 10% coordination work (travel to and from clients). That means I only have 25% of a typical 8 hour workday to have meetings, schedule appointments, and write medicaid billing notes. And that's with a typical caseload - my caseload is 50% bigger than standard (I have 15). Thusly, I usually work about 12 hours in a day, and I work ALL of those. Meaning I don't take breaks. It's the only way I can do it and still get off before 8pm so I can hit the gym. - 8/31/2010   8:50:48 PM
  • 67
    I only eat lunch at my desk when I'm time-shifting to get out early; otherwise, at lunch, I'm definitely somewhere else.

    The lunch hour is unpaid, after all. And I don't work for free. - 8/31/2010   8:02:28 PM
  • 66
    I never took the time to think about this issue. I typically eat breakfast, snack, and lunch at my desk.

    Thanks for the idea! - 8/31/2010   7:47:59 PM
  • 65
    I eat breakfast in my car on the way to work and lunch at my desk. I know it's not healthy, but i can't seem to get away from it. I have a 2 hour-plus daily commute, so the more time i spend multi-tasking, the more i have to spend at home or sleep. - 8/31/2010   5:30:15 PM
  • 64
    I eat my breakfast and lunch and two snacks all at my desk. I prefer to leave the office but we work off an extremely busy intersection so walking is not safe and if I take my vehicle I'm still sitting. I wish there was a park or something close but there isn't...I do sometimes walk around in our parking lot just to get some fresh air and wake myself up. - 8/31/2010   5:12:47 PM
  • 63
    I always eat breakfast and lunch at my desk while working. But I take a 10 min AM and PM walk outside, but I am still able to take my actual 30 min break to get outside and away from my desk for a walk or to run errands. - 8/31/2010   4:09:54 PM
  • 62
    I usually eat an apple or a granola bar for breakfast at my desk, but I ALWAYS go home for lunch. I only live about a half mile away and in a little town so it takes about 2 minutes to get home. - 8/31/2010   4:07:03 PM
  • 61
    I work on a university campus. It's not easy to leave campus during lunch (when the students are back in session)... so I started last month eating at the University Union. I go during the right time (ie not when kids are changing classes) and a salad, made for me with my choices, is only $3.76. If I'm really hungry, I can add chicken, tofu or portabella mushrooms for an additional $2. Every month I put lunch money on my staff id card, and it's a simple way to budget, eat, get a little exercise and sunshine, and eat healthy! - 8/31/2010   2:32:50 PM
  • 60
    I only live 3 miles from work so I get to go home for lunch most days. Gives me a chance to let the dogs out and relax for a minute. Maybe even see the kids IF they are home. - 8/31/2010   1:52:13 PM
    I know that it is probably the best thing to do, but I eat lunch at my desk because I would rather do my work there while I am eating than have to bring it home and do it at night. - 8/31/2010   1:45:27 PM
  • 58
    I get to go home earlier if I work through lunch. Not great, but an option I prefer 2x/week. I bring a healthy lunch, eat it as meditatively as my work allows, and call it good. - 8/31/2010   1:29:26 PM
  • 57
    I eat my lunch in the break room. While it is not at my desk, it is still sitting on my tushy. Suppose I should work on that. - 8/31/2010   1:09:41 PM
  • 56
    I exercise on my actual lunch hour - jogging, walking, running stairs - and then eat at my desk during work hours. - 8/31/2010   1:08:02 PM
  • 55
    Most of the time I eat at my desk, which I know isn't good. I tried to make up for sitting all day but being really active at night. If I really starting going stir crazy I will get out for a walk around the block. - 8/31/2010   12:53:34 PM
    I usually eat at my desk, and occassionally, I'll get out of the office to enjoy the weather for a while. - 8/31/2010   12:45:09 PM
  • 53
    I am eating the lunch that I brought from home at my desk while I read this blog. - 8/31/2010   12:38:56 PM
  • 52
    I eat lunch at home, and funnily, I eat it at my desk! I enjoy reading blogs while I eat. It slows me down and helps me chew my food thoroughly. I make sure to not mindlessly eat anything. It works for me! - 8/31/2010   12:01:41 PM
  • 51
    I try to get outside to eat or at least away from my desk otherwise I feel obligated to keep working. Plus it's nice to have a chance to relax for a while before going back to work. - 8/31/2010   11:56:46 AM
  • 50
    Even though we are entitled to a 15 minute am break and a half hour lunch break, it's unfortunately viewed as a "lack of dedication" to actually take these breaks. And given the current job climate, I am not bold enough to test the waters on that issue! In fact, not working overtime is considered not caring about your job, so taking a break is certainly seen as devil may care! If they had it their way, I wouldn't even use the restroom, let alone eat! - 8/31/2010   11:56:37 AM
  • 49
    I walk at lunchtime and then eat at my desk after I return. So I guess I do both?!?! - 8/31/2010   11:54:36 AM
  • 48
    I usually eat lunch at my desk. Last week the weather was awesome so I did get outside for 30 minutes each day and walk. But this week the heat and humidity are back and I doubt I'll get outside. I might try to walk around inside the office though. - 8/31/2010   11:52:58 AM
    I eat at my desk because I like to get to work early, work through lunch, and then leave early rather than taking time out in the middle of the day. If I do leave, it's to shop, not to eat! - 8/31/2010   11:47:06 AM
  • 46
    I do eat lunch at my desk but only because I spend my lunch hour in the gym. I tried eating in the gym but I got soup all over the weights...now I only get it in my keyboard. - 8/31/2010   11:46:29 AM

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