Volume 12, no. 4
Eating Right During the Workday
By Lisa Solomon
Have you ever been so busy that you decided to work straight through lunch? If you have, you’re not alone: 40 percent of respondents to a 2005 Parade magazine survey of adults aged 18-65 said they skip lunch.
When you do skip lunch, you’ll probably “crash” by mid-afternoon. Chances are good you’ll overeat come dinnertime, or indulge in an unhealthy snack to try to temporarily mollify your growling belly. Being overhungry may also make you short-tempered with your staff or opposing counsel. Although it’s tempting to try to fit more into the workday by shortchanging your own physical needs, skipping lunch is a mistake.
The best way to make sure you don’t end up skipping lunch is to keep as much control over your meals as possible, and the easiest way to keep control over your meals is to bring your lunch from home in the morning.
“But wait,” you say; “I’m a busy lawyer; there’s just no time in the morning to deal with preparing a lunch.” The trick is not to worry about your lunch in the morning. Think about it the night before: When you cook dinner, make extra portions, and pack the leftovers for travel in individual portions. If you only have time to cook on the weekends, you can pack your lunches for the week on Sunday. Then, just grab lunch from the fridge in the morning and go.
Even if you don’t cook, there are many nutritious prepared foods available nowadays. I’m partial to Trader Joe’s tuna with red curry (or with yellow curry and potatoes); it’s tasty, high protein, doesn’t need refrigeration, can be eaten hot or cold, and costs less than $1.50 a serving. Add rice, noodles or a roll, and you’re set.
Sometimes you don’t have a choice about skipping lunch. You’re kept waiting in the courthouse for hours, or you have to finish a deposition of an important witness by the end of the day. Prepare yourself for these situations by keeping healthy snacks in your briefcase and your car. Granola bars are good—they’re individually packed and don’t require refrigeration—but protein bars are better, because (since protein takes longer to digest than carbohydrates) you’ll feel full longer. Don’t forget to stock your office with healthy snacks, too.
Although eating right might be the furthest thing from your mind during your hectic workdays, your energy level and mood will suffer if you try to cut corners by skipping lunch. If you keep some healthy lunch fixings and snacks on hand, you can eat right “on autopilot” while at work.
Lisa Solomon is a sole practitioner in Ardsley, New York who performs legal research and writing for other lawyers on an outsourcing basis. She can be reached at Lisa@QuestionOfLaw.net.