Ah, lunch at your desk. Does your daily "break" involve quickly shoving down a sandwich while scanning Facebook and trying to ignore the ringing phone for at least 15 minutes? We accept that it will never be a leisurely Sunday brunch, but eating at your desk doesn't have to be unpleasant. Here are five tips for making it a little nicer.
Get away from work. If you work on a computer all day, try bringing a book instead of surfing the web while you eat. Somehow doing a completely different activity during lunch makes it feel like more of a break. For even more of an escape, try bringing headphones and listening to music, news, or a podcast while you eat.
Bring food you look forward to. If you aren't excited about what is waiting in your lunch bag, you are more likely to put off eating, or ditch your homemade meal for takeout. Bringing food you look forward to eating means a happier, more satisfying lunch — even when you are stuck at your desk.
Use a real plate and utensils, if possible. Treating lunch at your desk like a real meal means you won't feel like a hunched animal hurriedly cramming food down its throat, but instead like a civilized human being sitting down for a midday meal. It's also harder for coworkers to interrupt your break when they see that you actually need to wash your plate when you're done eating, not just stuff it in the trash can.
Eat with others — or don't. Speaking of coworkers, eating lunch with a work friend doesn't have to mean leaving the office. Coordinate lunch breaks with someone you like talking to, so you don't have to eat your desk lunch alone. Or if not talking to people is your idea of a break, don't be afraid to isolate yourself to get the solitary time you need. (See suggestion #1.)
End with some fresh air. Give yourself at least five minutes after you finish eating to stand up from your desk, step out of the office and clear your head. Budgeting enough time for even a short walk around the block during your lunch break can make a huge difference in your day.
What are your tips for making lunch at your desk better?
Anjali is a former private chef who is currently pursuing a graduate degree in nutrition, with plans to become a registered dietitian. She lives in Los Angeles. You can read more of her health-focused writing at Eat Your Greens.
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