Geek Fit: The Best Lunch for Computer Users

“The Modern Day Lunch,” my version of the famous “Lunch atop a Skyscraper” photo. 

For Labor Day, I had a bit of fun redoing a photo of workers from the 1930s. My version shows a bit more of the modern day experience. Our lunches are “healthier” according to our standards, and lunchtime focuses more on connecting with technology. Even if we do spend time with friends/co-workers, we’re often still on our phones/iPads/computer. The person on the far right even shows something I’ve noticed more and more of in the Startup community–the occasional imbibing at work and/or with lunch.

Back in the 1930s, the average adult male consumed 3,000 calories, resulting in a lunch that, according to The Food Timeline, could include “egg salad sandwiches made with white bread, apple pie, cheese, hot coffee, and an orange.” Their active workdays resulted in the need for more calories. However, today’s more sedentary lifestyle of computer/desk jobs brings our suggested caloric intake down to 2,500 for men and 2,000 for women. Let’s just say that egg salad sandwiches and apple pie does not make for the ideal lunch. Instead, give this a try:

  • Salad with dark, leafy greens (to help with potential eye strain) and a lean protein (chicken breast, beans, nuts, salmon, etc.) with a light dressing on the side
  • Carrot sticks (again, great for your eyes!) with hummus or a low-calorie dip
  • A piece of fruit
  • A huge glass of water

This meal would ensure you’re getting fruits, vegetables, proteins, and water–everything you could want to keep you going throughout the day! If you get hungry before or after lunch, I recommend keeping a bag of almonds or other nuts at your desk. If you want something a bit less heavy, try a bag of air popped popcorn. It’s delicious, filling, and not too fattening!

What’s your ideal lunch for your job? And how do you get motivated to wake up and make it in the morning? I’m still stuck in a “buy lunch out” rut, but hope to get back on track soon!


  1. Cooking extra portions of what’s for dinner, then packing them for lunches before you eat dinner (this prevents over eating if it’s a really good dinner ) helps when I’m packing lunches for my husband.

  2. That’s so smart (and economical)! I’ll have to start doing that.

  3. Like Rae, I generally carry leftovers from dinner, but I never assume that I’ll pack my lunch in the morning. Either I pack it the night before or it’s probably not going to happen. But as a backup, stock a dorm fridge and a box at your desk. A starting list for me would be peanut butter, rye bread, dried fruit, canned sardines or anchovies, instant miso soup, hard salami or other dry sausage that will keep, and nuts. Plus if you didn’t bring your own lunch that day and you want something besides what’s in the fridge, you can go to Whole Foods or the like and buy a few little things. If I do that, I typically get out for under $3, bringing back a small steak, a few greens, and a samosa if I’m feeling indulgent.

  4. Fantastic idea! I love the idea of just having all of the essential ingredients on hand at work.

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