Work pressures leading to unhealthy eating habit

One in four employees are too ‘stressed’ to think about eating healthily at work, according to a recent survey. Almost half of respondents polled across 133 organisations admitted to eating more unhealthy food at work over the past year, while 12% said their workplace has stopped offering healthier food options to staff returning to the office after lockdowns. The poll found that one in three were eating “unhealthy” lunches because of their unmanageable workloads, while 30% said workplace pressures led to them feeling fatigued and opting for less healthy, more convenient, food options.

Workers under 35 years old were more likely to have picked up unhealthy eating habits at work (64% of those in this age group), whereas 77% of those aged 35 and over felt they had been eating more healthily since returning to the workplace. 6% admitted to skipping lunch completely because of work-related pressures.

Emotions and workplace pressures can take their toll on our diets and eating habits. When routines are unstructured and work presents challenges, people often find themselves reaching for comfort food. Sweet, salty, starchy foods are worker favourites because they are accessible and convenient.

Workers need to retrain their eating habits to ensure their lunches are full of nutrients that will provide energy for the rest of the day, especially when work is causing a hectic schedule.  The survey also found that:

  • 25% felt that organisations should encourage staff to take a full lunch break, which could give them more time to eat something healthier
  • 25% said employers should encourage staff to eat lunch away from their desks

Remember – employers have a legal obligation to ensure that all employees take a minimum of 20 minutes break when more than 6 hours are worked.  Having lunch at a desk does not mean that the employee is having a proper break.  It is important that breaks are monitored and that employees feel that they can have an adequate break during the working day.

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