How to Maximize Your Lunch Break

Young man eating a sandwich on a bench outside with his laptop on his lap

What do you do during your lunch break at work? Are you wondering how to have a healthier lunch break and build new habits that will support your weight-related goals?

The work day is long and filled with meetings, emails, texts and responsibilities of all sorts. Some days feel like they’ll never end. Overwhelming workloads, time commitments and deadlines often lead people to skip their lunch break and keep working. And with the increase in remote work, it often seems like the work is always waiting for you.

Why Are Lunch Breaks Important?

Lunch breaks provide a break from your normal workday, helping you to feel more refreshed when you return so it’s easier to concentrate. Numerous studies show that productivity increases after we take breaks. With more and more people reporting burnout and feeling the physical and mental effects of constant work, there isn’t a better time to reconsider your habits and identify new ways to prioritize your health.

How to Spend Your Lunch Break


Consider using your lunch break to squeeze in some physical activity. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week. Adding a 20-minute walk during your lunch break each workday can help you get closer to that goal. Keep your tennis shoes under your desk for a no-excuse way to exercise!

Do Something Fun:

The best way to make it through a long work day is to find time for something you enjoy. Spend a few minutes reading your latest book or doing a crossword puzzle. An enjoyable activity can help you break up your day and boost your mood.

Make a Lunch Date:

It can be difficult to connect socially if you have a lot of overwhelming life commitments. An occasional lunch date can help you feel connected without taking up too much of your afternoon. Grab lunch with a friend, co-worker or family member during your lunch break. If this works well for you, make a standing date to connect once a month!

Run an Errand:

Running errands on your way home from work can make the night a little more chaotic. Instead, take a few minutes on your lunch break to fill up your gas tank, purchase a gift card or grab a few things at the grocery store. You will return feeling accomplished.

Check Things Off Your To-do List:

Your to-do list may seem long and like it’s getting even longer. Obligations such as paying bills, making appointments and ordering items online can all add up. Try choosing one item to check off your list each day during your lunch break.

Get Some Sunshine:

Go outside for some sunshine and vitamin D! A breath of fresh air is great for both your brain and body. Take a short walk or go outside to read a book, talk on the phone or chat with a co-worker.

What’s for Lunch?

Pack Ahead:

Pack a healthy lunch ahead of time to power you through your work day. Strive for a mix of protein, produce, dairy and whole grains.


  • Turkey sandwich with cheese on whole grain with a pear, apple or orange
  • Last night’s leftover chicken stir fry
  • Lettuce salad with chicken and a side of yogurt
  • Tuna salad on whole grain crackers with baby carrots and hummus

Grab Lunch Out:

Restaurants, grocery stores and sandwich shops can all be great places to grab lunch. Make sure you focus on picking healthy and nutrient-dense options, which will help you stay energized and focused during your work day.

  • Choose lean meats such as grilled chicken instead of fried chicken or a lean beef patty.
  • Salads are great choices, but try to choose a low-calorie dressing and lean toppings.
  • Incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables into your lunch for a boost of nutrition.

Your lunch break offers so many opportunities to help with your health goals, productivity and work/life balance. Make it work in your favor!

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