Pre-ordering lunch at work. Results of the what to eat for lunch study

Appetite. 2015 Jan:84:88-97. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2014.10.005. Epub 2014 Oct 13.


The objective of this study was to evaluate an intervention that combined mindful eating and online pre-ordering to promote healthier lunch purchases at work. The study took place at an urban hospital with 26 employees who were overweight or obese. The design included a contemporaneous comparison with delayed-treatment control and a three-phase prospective study. A minimum 4-week baseline period preceded a 4-week full-intervention, in which participants received mindful eating training, pre-ordered their lunches, and received price discounts toward lunch purchases. In a 4-week reduced intervention phase, participants pre-ordered lunches without price discounts. Participant lunch purchases were tracked electronically at the point of purchase. The primary outcome measures were the amounts of kilocalories and fat grams in purchased lunches. In contemporaneous comparisons, the treatment group purchased lunches with an average of 144.6 fewer kilocalories (p = 0.01) and 8.9 fewer grams of fat (p = 0.005) compared to controls. In multivariable longitudinal analyses, participants decreased the average number of calories in their meals by 114.6 kcal per lunch and the average grams of fat by 5.4 per lunch during the partial-intervention compared to the baseline (p < 0.001). At the end of the study, a moderate increase was observed in participants' overall mindful eating behaviors as compared to the beginning of the study (p < 0.001). The majority of participants (92%) said they would use the pre-ordering system if offered in the future. Combined mindful eating training and online pre-ordering appears a feasible and useful worksite intervention to improve food choices by employees.

Keywords: Adult; Choice behavior; Food services; Health behavior; Worksite.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Energy Intake*
  • Female
  • Food Preferences*
  • Food Services*
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Lunch*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / diet therapy*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychophysiology


  • Dietary Fats