Women

Last month, we launched our Reclaim Your Lunch Break campaign, urging you to buck the unhealthy trend for working through. If the increased risk of heart disease, depression and weight gain still hasn’t made you down tools at 1pm, maybe these four inspiring ideas will….

Description: What are you doing at lunch?

What are you doing at lunch?

1.    Get your groove on

In June 2010, a group of young Swedish professionals created Lunch Beat, a club-style lunchtime dance session offering tired-out office workers the opportunity to ditch their desks and get down on the dance floor. What started out as 14 mates Freestlying in a garage has gone global and the daytime rave-ups now happen in 25 cities worldwide, with new sites popping up every week. They’re everything you’d expect from a good club night: disco ball, strobe lights, achingly-cool crowd and bass-heavy DJ – just minus the booze. Instead, you’ll be served plenty of water along with your organic, veggie lunch. The only rules? You have to dance, and you can’t talk about work. We approve. (price: From $7.5; events are currently held in London and Manchester, with plans to expand across the UK; visit lunchbeat.org, facebook.com/lunchbeat,  or tweet @lunchbeat to find out more).

2.    Cook up a storm

Don’t just grab a sandwich, how about using your break to learn how to whip up a delicious meal in a flash, with enough time to sit down and enjoy it afterwards.

L’atelier des Chefs in London (St Pauls and Oxford Circus) hosts 30-minute ‘Cook, Eat and Run’ session, where you’ll rustle up dishes like Indonesian fish curry or lamb steak with feta, salsa verde and crushed new potatoes. They’ll give you a doggie bag to take your culinary creations away (price: $22.5, atelierdeschefs.co.uk). School of Wok in Covent Garden also hosts an hour-long ‘quick fire’ lunchtime course to show you how to master quick, easy and healthy Asian meal (price: $67.5, schoolofwork.co.uk). And Friday Kitchen at Edinburgh New Town Cookery School is an hour-long class that kicks off at 1pm sharp and teaches you to prepare a two-course gourmet menu for two (price: $37.5, entcs.co.uk).

Description: L'Atelier des Chefs is right in the centre of London, in Wigmore Street.

L'Atelier des Chefs is right in the centre of London, in Wigmore Street.

3.    Feel the burn

A quick workout is the ultimate way to use your lunch break, but if you’d rather stay chained to your desk than pound the treadmill, it’s time to find a new fitness habit. Power Plate has just launched a 25-minute session called PowerHIT nationwide (price: $30, powerplate.com/uk), while climbing centres often offer open sessions on indoor walls over lunch. Pound the pavements with Run Club London, which runs 45-minute city circuits in Canary Wharf (runclub.co.uk), or if you can’t waste time to-ing and fro-ing, download a yoga workout from Love Yoga Online (price: from $6 loveyogaonline.co.uk), roll up your mat and head to the park. And of course you’ll find hundreds of quick workouts at zest.co.uk or in the magazine; this month try high-intensity interval training (HIIT), featured on page 103 – if you think you can handle it!

4.    Get a wellbeing makeover

Treat your grey matter to lunch at one of Nuffield Health’s ‘Meet our Expert’ events, where industry experts give lectures packed with insider know-how on working out, eating well or staying emotionally healthy (nuffield health.com). And don’t forget to visit zest.co.uk every Wednesday at 1pm, for our weekly clinic, and put your questions to fitness experts, dermatologists, nutritionists and more. The Wellcome Collection in central London offers ‘Packed Lunch’ talks, where you can munch a sarnie while listening to discussions on everything from how to make a decision to understanding cravings (wellcomecollection.org). And at University College London lunchtime lectures will get you thinking about subjects such as how self-esteem affects our eating habits and why laughter is so contagious (ucl.ac.uk). Feast your mind on that.

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