For the majority of employees who don’t have a company-paid meal every day, lunchtime can get a bad rap. Options typically fall somewhere between the unglamorous brown bag and the “it-costs-HOW-much?” restaurant. And, more often than not, the easier it is on the wallet, the harder the hit on nutrition. Where’s the fun in that?
Summer is a great time for trying new ways of making lunchtime more affordable, more nutritional, and a whole lot more fun. Continuing with our 13 weeks of wellness, here are three ideas to spice things up at lunchtime:
- Salad swap. So you’re going to pack your lunch. Why not make it a salad and gather up the work gang for a once-a-week salad swap? No need to pack a family sized recipe, just something tasty and interesting with enough for everyone to sample. If you’re looking for variety (and commitment), add a signup sheet.
- Leave. Go for a walk around the block. Drive to a nearby park and take your lunch with you. Ask a co-worker if they’d like to plan a hike. Whatever you do, make sure at least one day a week (preferably more), you’re leaving your desk and breathing in some fresh air at lunch. “You’ll boost productivity,” said Caroline Worth, registered dietitian of BiteWize when she was discussing the idea with our friends at Alsco. Worth recommends as little as 10-15 minutes to boost productivity. Who knows? That slight boost may make you so productive that you’ll even earn back part of your weekend!
- Grow a garden. Sound far fetched? It’s not. Setting up an employee garden only takes a small strip of land. Ingenious employees have been known to grow salad in pots at their desks, too (although some coworkers may prefer you do this in your own kitchen rather than at your desk). Leafy greens aren’t only pretty, they give back in the form of (you guessed it), LUNCH! Not sure how to fit a garden into a building site that’s fully landscaped? Ask for permission to use space at the base of smaller trees, which are likely already getting plenty of water. Cherry tomatoes, radishes, carrots and peas are great options that don’t take up much space and encourage smart snacking, too. If growing a garden at work isn’t an option, consider getting involved with community gardening.
Mixing things up during your workplace lunch is a great way to sneak in some healthy habits.