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How to Make the Most Out of Your Lunch Break

Not only will you feel more energized and productive with these fun things to do on your lunch break, but can reap some serious health benefits!

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Everyone gets a lunch break, but what exactly do you do with yours?

There is more of the conventional lunch of eating at your desk and getting back to work. You may also be spending free time scrolling through social media or perhaps not taking any breaks at all.

So the question is: Are you really getting the most benefit you can out of your lunch break throughout the work week?

If tired of just sitting at the desk or aimlessly waiting for the hour to pass by, here are simple tips on how to spend that lunch time more effectively with health benefits in mind!

Things to Do On Your Lunch Break

From dividing your time include a walk to eating a healthy and balanced meal, learn how to make the most out of that lunch break each day. Not only will you feel more energized and productive, but can reap some serious health benefits!

Divide Your Time

Most lunch breaks are allotted 30 minutes to an hour. While this might not seem like a great deal of time, successful conquering a lunch break can be both efficient and meaningful.

Not to mention, time can be divided to maximize productivity. For instance, spend your lunch break with 30 minutes of eating lunch then go for a walk with coworkers. Stepping outside in nature can provide mental clarity and help you feel re-energized.

Also divide time to enjoy a lunch-time workout. (Even without the need of heading to a gym!)

Enjoy a Lunch-Time Workout

That lunch hour is a great time to squeeze in some physical activity. Besides, there are many ways to get active at work, including with structured and unstructured lunchtime workouts.

If a company gym is available, great! And if not, no problem! Simply participate in bodyweight exercises, including squats, lunges, pushups, dips, sit-ups, and planks.

Also bring a gym bag and transportable equipment of your own. An exercise ball, resistance bands, a jump rope, and suspension trainers are just a few examples. Enjoy yoga? Bring in your mat!

Have a shorter lunch break with only 10 minutes to spare? That is plenty of time for these 10-minute workout ideas! There are also other ways to increase physical activity at work, including taking the steps whenever possible and walking the longer route to the bathroom. Recommending walk meetings with office workers can also be helpful.

If doing more rigorous and fast workouts, it may be best to eat at the last tail end of the lunch break!

Eat a Healthy & Balanced Meal

Heavy lunches can sit in the belly for hours in the afternoon, which can lead to sluggishness and desire for a nap. This may ultimately cause an unproductive afternoon and weight gain. So rather than going for that rich cheeseburger and fries, opt for a light, healthier meal, including these lunches to take to the office.

As a general rule of thumb, lunches should provide an average of 300 to 350 calories and 30 grams of protein. To naturally ensure these recommendations, fill half the meal plate with non-starchy veggies, a quarter with a lean protein, and the other quarter with a complex carb or starch. Complement with a healthy fat source and fruit as desired.

Packing a lunch may not always be realistic, though. While microwave meals are often frowned upon, trusting in a fresh meal delivery service can assist in lunch meal prep. Meals not only ensure adequate nutrition, but are bursting in flavor! Enjoying a chicken meatball marinara wrap, pork enchiladas, and shrimp étouffée for lunch has never been so convenient!

Also if grabbing lunch with fellow office workers, have a game plan in mind before heading out. Scoping the menu beforehand can help ensure healthier choices are made at lunch. Also choose walkable places whenever possible to get more steps in the day.

Healthy choices can also start well before that lunch hour. Consuming a high-protein breakfast helps keep hunger at bay and energy levels peaked for throughout the morning.

If hunger starts to emerge throughout the morning or if lunch needs to be pushed back, avoid these common workplace snacks. Ideally, snacks offer protein and fiber to induce satiety and keep metabolism revved. Healthy snacks for work include an apple with peanut butter, veggie slices and hummus, and berries and Greek yogurt.

Avoid Eating at Your Desk

Eat lunch at your desk? This is all too common amongst the workplace, especially if working tirelessly on that big company project.

But if hurrying to eat to get back to the project, there is a greater risk of feeling dissatisfied from that meal. This can lead you to reach for more food and overeating. Besides, it takes the mind and stomach approximately 20 minutes to connect the "I'm full" feeling. Slowing down and enjoying the meal at hand can keep hunger in check.

So step from behind the desk and attentively enjoy a meal elsewhere. What's more, there are many places to eat! For instance, bring a spare blanket and have a picnic with coworkers outside under a tree.

If you live in the big city, hop on a search engine and look for a local park. Decided to eat out? Look for healthier restaurants in the area and meet a friend.

Breaking from work and changing the scenery can also be just the trick for reviving energy for the latter half of the day!

Everyone gets a lunch break, how did you decide to spend yours?

Written By Christy Zagarella, MS, RDN. Published on November 07, 2012. Updated on May 08, 2019.

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