Eating for sustenance or pleasure?

Swedish sociologist Maria Nyberg at University of Lund in a recent paper makes the point that there is a difference between eating and having lunch. There is more to a meal than just getting the required nutrients and liquids in your body; time, place and social relationships are as important as food and drink to satisfy us and make us happy.

In her study Maria has looked at two different workplaces and the dining habits of the people working there. On a factory for medical equipment the staff had all of 21 minutes to leave their station, go to the bathroom, go get their lunch, eat, get cleaned up and get back to start working again.

21 minutes? That is what I like to spend just walking from and back to the office after finding a place to sit down and enjoy my lunch break! Without that I really don’t feel I have actually had any break…

Maria says the lack of time for a lunch break leads to unhealthy eating and lacking social interaction. An ideal lunch at work needs to provide some social exchange with the colleagues, some calm and relaxation and a few minutes away from the demands of the job, she thinks.

I agree with Maria when she says that it is a bit paradoxical that job lunches are seen as more a necessary evil than an opportunity to make the job environment more enjoyable and a chance to build on relationships and share information, since there is a major boom in healthy eating and advanced cooking.

What about yourself? Do you eat mainly for sustenance or pleasure?

Read full article in (in Swedish).

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