Lunch is a luxurY in this day and age. With workloads heavy and job security light, more people stay glued to their desks all day, barely stopping to shovel in a sandwich between e-mails. According to a survey by the career management group Right Management, more than a quarter of North American workers almost never take a lunch break.
With this in mind, we decided to take a look at what some local workers do during the noon hour.
Dan Merriam and some of his Staples co-workers in Framingham work out during their lunch break, but they don’t just go for a casual jog. They run up and down hills, do military crawls, and perform boot-camp-type activities with torturous titles such as Russian twists and planking wheelbarrows — designed by “Lieutenant Dan.” Sometimes they even push trucks. After the workout, Merriam eats leftover turkey chili or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich at his desk. Merriam said one member put it best: “Some people eat fries at lunch. We push trucks!”
Cafeteria in a castle
There is such a thing as a free lunch for the staff at the Noble and Greenough School in Dedham, and they get to enjoy it in a 19th-century castle with views of the Charles River. The cafeteria serves up entrees such as pasta and teriyaki chicken with rice and snow peas, alongside salad and sandwich bars, and build-your-own quesadilla and panini stations. For dessert: blondies, Rice Krispies treats, and other homemade favorites. Steve Ginsberg, the boarding school’s chief financial and operating officer, said the free offerings and pleasant surroundings means he always takes a lunch break. “We’ve always had the joke,” he said. “The more you eat, the more you make.”
Cheez-its and coffee
A consultant who works outside Boston — who didn’t want to be named because he didn’t want to cause any trouble at his job — said he relies on “whatever is sitting out in the open” for lunch because he has no time for anything else. That usually means a cup of coffee and a snack-size pack of Cheez-its from the break room. Sometimes pretzels. On a recent day, he found a rare treat: banana bread. He wishes he ate better, he said, but his workload just doesn’t allow it: “Unless somebody sticks an extra hour in the day, that’s not going to happen.”
Amberly Steward, the administrative officer in the anthropology program at MIT, says the existence of her lunch hour is “questionable.” She almost always brings a salad from home to eat at her desk, loading up her greens with an enticing mix of options: grilled chicken, pickled vegetables, fried onions, artichokes, cheese, blueberries, and more, topped with tzatziki or Greek yogurt and herbs — anything to make it “interesting and colorful so that I actually eat it.”
Steward estimates she has brought the salad to work 552 times since starting her job in the spring of 2010 — “We are a quantitative people at MIT,” she said — and, along with exercise, she said, it has helped her lose more than 100 pounds.