What’s happening to lunch?

Published 8:30 pm Thursday, September 18, 2008

It’s the one time of day when you can drop your work and recharge yourself for the afternoon. I’m talking about the lunch hour, but it appears that this 60-minute window of freedom is slowly closing.

According to a survey, the average lunch break has shrunk to 35 minutes, compared to 42 minutes five years ago.

Also, people are going to lunch less times per week. The same survey showed that the average worker takes only three lunches per week.

I should note that this survey was given only to office workers, so it doesn’t count those who work on construction sites, who would seem to get hungrier. I don’t know; it’s just a guess.

All I know is my lunch hour is very important to me. Not only is it a stress reducer; it also allows me to rest my eyes and keep my stomach from trying to digest itself.

But there is an art to a successful lunch break. It doesn’t always pay to actually leave the office to eat. I have found that it usually takes about 30 minutes to drive somewhere and order something, leaving only about 30 minutes for the actual lunch break.

It’s usually better to eat in the office, even though there is always the chance I might be interrupted. This leaves plenty of time for me to jog over to the park and get in a mile or so of walking.

I have also found that lunch is the easiest meal to abuse, especially if I am leaving the office. The best antidote for this is to make my own lunch, which is usually a lot healthier than anything available from a drive-thru.

The bad thing about skipping lunch is that my body will have its way no matter what. It’s almost like skipping sleep. The dual task of eating and working can really slow you down.

I don’t know about you, but my lunch hour is alive and well.