Most of us have ‘Al Desko’ dined at one point or another in our working lives and many do it regularly.

Read on to discover if you too are an ‘al desko’ diner…

Definition: ‘Al Desko Diner’

A person who eats their meals while sitting at an office desk.

The Facts

Man eating sandwich at deskA large proportion of the modern day workforce now consider themselves so busy that they forego their lunch hour.

Instead, either through choice or necessity they keep on top of their workload by eating in between key strokes and phone calls.

Even more worrying for workers is that huge numbers reportedly eat up to THREE meals a day at their office desk! The official estimate is around 1 in 10.

Staggeringly, most office snackers don’t even make it until 10am before scoffing their first snack!

It is true that a number of other factors may be involved apart from increased work commitments.

To be honest, I would argue that in many cases it is simply down to laziness and lethargy. We are so addicted to our computers and the Internet that for many it is easier to stay put rather than go out for a walk and a bite to eat.

Many spend their lunch breaks trawling the Internet for cheap bargains, booking holidays, updating social media accounts and responding to personal emails.

And this of course can be detrimental to health as you may well imagine.

Perils & Pitfalls

cheeseburger & drinkThere is a massive downside to this underlying level of passivity which I’m sure you can guess.

People are much more likely to snack and generally overeat if they remain immobile at their desk.

This is storing up problems for the future in terms of weight gain, muscle fatigue and back problems.

Health experts always advise that workers should get up and move around as often as possible in order to stay healthy.


Although I am unaware of any official etiquette, I would imagine that there are certain unspoken rules about eating at your desk.

These include the following:

    1. Avoid smelly food
      Work colleagues will not be impressed by your pickled egg and herring extravaganza!
    2. Clear up crumbs
      Unless of course you’re happy to share your workspace with rats and other vermin.
    3. Resist using the phone
      Nothing is more likely to annoy the person on the other end than the sound of crunching tortilla chips.
    4. Noodles and large crusty rolls are to be avoided at all costs
      It is simply not possible to eat these without creating an unholy mess.
    5. Don’t be tempted to wipe your hands on your jeans
      Use moist lemon scented cleansing squares instead.
    6. Avoid hogging the office kitchen
      You are not Gordon Ramsay and you should save your artisan creations for your own kitchen.

Food Ideas & Health Tips

slicing a tomatoWhile sandwiches and wraps are the most commonly consumed foods in the office, many people are choosing to reduce the amount of carbohydrates they eat.

This might be to aid weight loss or because of wheat or gluten intolerance.

Whatever the reason, a quick and easy alternative is to wrap your favourite ingredients in romaine (or equivalent) lettuce leaves instead of using bread.

Some people have a tendency to feel sleepy after eating and of course this has an impact on work productivity. To prevent this, increase your protein intake and reduce the carb element.

Be careful not to reduce your carb consumption too much however or you could find that your energy levels dip. It’s all about getting a balance which works for you. To put it simply, use your common sense. Only you will know if you are overeating, eating the wrong things or struggling with energy levels.

Yogurt and berriesAs part of your ‘5 a day’ you will be aware that you need to eat a good mix of fruit and vegetables.

Many people struggle with the fruit aspect, preferring instead to eat sweet and sugary snacks like chocolate bars. If you find fruit dull and uninspiring, try making your own yoghurt with fruit and nuts for slow energy release.

A good way of preparing this is to get hold of some old jam jars or equivalent. Layer natural low fat greek-style yoghurt with fruit jam, fresh berries, honey and walnuts. If you prefer, granola makes a great crunchy topping.

By doing this it will feel more like a proper dessert and therefore more appealing. You will also be ensuring that you’re getting essential daily nutrients to keep you fit and healthy at work.

On a final note, make sure you drink plenty of fluids, especially water. This can help to stave off hunger pangs and also gives you an opportunity to get up and stretch your legs while you prepare a drink.