I used to be horrible about taking lunch breaks—until I started working from home and adopted a rescue beagle. These days, the beagle screams at precisely 11:59 a.m. to inform me that he needs his noontime walk. He screams again after his walk, which serves as the perfect reminder to take an additional 10 minutes to eat a sandwich or something away from my laptop. Now, I rely on my daily beagle break to step away from the internet and preserve my sanity. Consider this your reminder to take your own beagle break—complete with proven health benefits, as outlined in a recent CNN interview with registered dietitian nutritionist Tamara Duker Freuman.
Benefit #1: A real lunch break makes you less inclined to snack on unhealthy stuff, so your blood sugar levels won’t spike and tank as you approach the afternoon slump. “Carving out time for a satiating, balanced lunch can really help organize the eating day and keep us in better touch with our actual hunger cues,” Freuman told CNN. “So we can eat when hungry and be less likely to snack our way through the entire workday.” I’m very pro-snacking, but I do find my energy levels are more sustained on days when I take a genuine lunch break. No fun, I know.
Freuman also explains that skipping lunch means you consume the majority of your calories in the evening, which can lead to sleep problems. “I often find that patients who struggle with excess, uncontrollable night eating find it much easier to manage when they are heading into the dinner meal feeling quite satiated and not particularly starving, because they’ve had a great breakfast and a very filling, balanced lunch,” Freuman said.
Finally, as we know, lunchtime as an opportunity to step away and refresh. Make sure to take a screen break, too: the article cites a study that found that people who played a game of solitaire on a computer during meals ate faster, ate nearly twice as much and felt less full than people who were not distracted while eating. Check out the full article (or adopt a beagle) if you need more convincing.