Work can be hectic and stressful. For most of us, lunchtime cannot come fast enough, because it allows us time to relax a bit and enjoy a nice meal. But rather than using the time wisely to restore our energy, many of us are prone to making one or more of these all-too-common lunch mistakes.
Taking a break from a busy day at work and eating a proper meal is a basic requirement for our body and mind to function effectively. What we choose to do during lunch, as well as the things we eat can greatly affect our health and wellbeing. Unfortunately, many folks are still making mistakes on their lunch break. Let’s talk about some of these not-so-great lunch habits that you should avoid.
Eating out for lunch every day is the most commonly made lunch break mistake. The reason for this is that many restaurants don’t serve their food fresh, or their dishes contain unhealthy ingredients and additives. Unlike a meal you prepare yourself at home, you never know exactly what is contained in the foods you eat at an establishment. When you can, limit your restaurant visits and dedicate those for special occasions only.
No question, when we only have half an hour for lunch, things can get a little hectic. Because of the short time many are given, they tend to eat too quickly and thus, more than they should. The Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics did a study that showed that people who eat too fast are more likely to become overweight as compared to slower eaters. Try to eat slow and avoid overeating. Don’t let the stress of not having much time negatively affect your health!
Soda contains sugar. Lots of it. One single can of soda contains as much sugar (or more) as you’re supposed to consume in an entire day. But if you’re thinking that’s not a problem because you drink diet soda instead, think again. The artificial sweeteners in diet soda have been found to contribute to long-term weight gain, along with the potential for causing many other health issues. The best you can drink during your lunch break is plain water or unsweetened sparkling water. Avoid sugary drinks and “diet” beverages if you can!
Now here comes a rather unpleasant fact for those who like to eat lunch at their desk; it has been shown that the average work desk may contain more germs than your average toilet! Eating at your desk is a surefire way to get many unhealthy bacteria into your body - something that you definitely want to avoid.
Just like your work desk can be a breeding ground for microbes and bacteria, so is your phone. Most folks on break will use the time to scroll on their device, check messages, or send some texts. Don’t - at least not while you’re eating! Likewise, when you’re getting distracted by your phone, you will likely miss your body’s natural cue that it’s full, and end up overeating.
You may choose to have a salad for lunch, but most of the healthy benefits will go out the window when you add those extra ingredients. Folks have a tendency to go crazy with dressings, spices, and oils; all these things in abundance can sustain a detrimental effect on your health. Salad dressings often contain loads of unhealthy fats and food additives, and they can make your previously nice and crispy greens mushy and unappealing. If you can, stay as natural as possible and exercise moderation when adding dressings and toppings.
When you delay your lunch break and take it later in the day, this is actually worse than not having lunch at all. Lunchtime around noon is the perfect time for most workers to regain energy. But if you take your break too late, it will have the exact opposite effect. You may get tired and have less energy than you did before. Not being regular with your lunch hours can also negatively impact your metabolism, which in turn leads to digestive problems.
White bread is among the unhealthiest types of breads. It is really just carbs, without any healthy fibres or other valuable nutrients. This is not desirable when you want to lose weight or eat healthy. Don’t use white bread for your lunch sandwich, but instead choose healthier, whole grain breads or wraps.
Folks may be so busy at work that they skip lunch altogether. This, however, is among the worst things you can do. There is scientific evidence that skipping any meal can have various negative effects. Skipping lunch will make you lethargic, increase your stress levels, and can adversely affect concentration and decision-making. You shouldn’t see your lunch break as something unfortunate that keeps you from working, but as a period of time that can actually restore energy and benefit your health.