There’s no avoiding it. Work an eight-hour (or longer) day and you’ll have to stop to eat at some point. Be it a questionable sandwich or a lavish lunch, workers need grub. But what should you eat to achieve maximum results? And is skipping lunch to reply to those e-mails really such a bad thing? In this two-part series, we have a look at both sides.*

Eating in the office canteen is good for you. In Finland, at least.

The Finnish have done a lot of research into workplace eating habits. One study by the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare found that workers who ate in office cafeterias, compared to those who brought in packed lunches, were eating more fruit and vegetables. This has a lot to with the fact that in Finland, food provided in canteens must meet national nutritional guidelines.

To be sure, the wisdom of eating in a canteen does depend on the quality of what’s on the menu. Staff interviewed at Barnsley Borough Council in London described the food in their cafeteria as ‘stodgy’ and more suited to those performing manual work.

Skipping lunch is bad for you.

As explained in his book about workplace eating habits, Christopher Wanjek found that workers who skip lunch are more stressed, less productive and only end up snacking in the afternoon anyway.

The endless cycle of bad nutrition and low national productivity.

Poor eating choices affect productivity. In fact, it causes this shame spiral:

There’s a lot that has gone into this debate. In Part II, we’ll thrash this out further. For now, at least one thing is crystal – keeping yourself hydrated at work can only be good for you.

While we wait for the next instalment, remember to repeatedly recharge your water glass  or water bottle using your desktop water dispenser or zeroing in on your floor-standing water cooler.

*source: from an article in Quartz.