Spending the hours between 9 and 5 stuck at your desk is a sign that it may be time for an office intervention — you aren't making the most of your lunch hour. Instead of spending lunch glued to your computer, take advantage of some much-deserved "me time" with these 15 tips to make every day a little bit healthier (and happier). Consider this list your secret weapon for making the most of your lunch break, whether you have 10 minutes or an hour, because there are plenty of ways to give your body a little extra love.
1. Squeeze in a workout: If you have the time, use your lunch break to fit in a quick jog, yoga class, or gym session. Breaking up your day with some exercise will boost your metabolism and leave you re-energized for the rest of the afternoon.
2. Drink a glass of green tea: This healthy beverage has been shown to increase metabolism.
3. Go for a walk: Take a break from the office, and take a walk around the block. You will think more clearly and come back to the office rejuvenated — the quick dose of vitamin D doesn't hurt either!
4. Take time away from the screen: Step away from your monitor, and focus on enjoying the meal in front of you. Distracted eating (even if you're just scanning the web) can cause you to eat more, eventually leading to weight gain.
5. Hit the stairs: If your office building has a stairwell that is easily available, challenge yourself to take a few floors. You'll get blood flowing, and your heart pumping, plus it's a quick way to burn calories without actually getting outside.
6. Skip sugary drinks: Cut calories by saying goodbye to sugary juices and soft drinks. Certain drinks pack as many calories as your meal, plus they can leave you feeling foggy or jittery.
7. Make your lunch: Instead of ordering in, take a few minutes to make your own sandwich or salad, or heat up last night's leftovers. Eating homemade meals will save calories and money.
8. Have a tiny treat: If you know that you have an insatiable sweet tooth, it's OK to have a treat. Just make sure it's in moderation. Break off a small square of dark chocolate, or have a handful of berries after you finish your meal. You'll feel satisfied without eating the calories in a slice of your favourite chocolate cake.
10. Soak up the sun: Spending all day indoors can deprive you of vitamin D, an essential nutrient that keeps your body healthy and can help boost your workout.
11. Stretch: Sitting in front of a computer all day means that certain parts of your body get extra tight over time. Your hip flexors, shoulders, and neck are especially prone to injury and tightening. Take a few minutes to stretch out during lunch, and ensure that your body stays in tip-top shape.
12. Drink water: When you spend the day running in and out of meetings, it's easy to forget to drink enough water. Start your lunch break off right by drinking a full glass of water. You'll eat less and you'll give your body the hydration it needs.
13. Don't work through lunch: No matter how much work you have to do during the day, do not skip eating lunch. If you're feeling slammed, find a way to sneak in some nuts, an apple, or any other snack until you are able to have a full meal. Skipping out on lunch will leave you tired and irritable and will slow your metabolism.
14. Have a chat: You spend the day messaging with co-workers but use lunchtime to get a little face-to-face time. Networking is an important aspect of any job and taking some time to be social will help boost your mood for the rest of the day.
15. Brush your teeth: It might feel weird to whip out your toothbrush midday, but scrubbing your pearly whites will help you to keep from snacking in the afternoon.