Photos of the Lunches That All Sorts of Workers Take to Work
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Photos of the Lunches That All Sorts of Workers Take to Work

We wanted to know if being, say, a tour manager, a developer, a police officer, or a teacher affects how you eat. So we asked a bunch of people with different jobs about their diets.
April 25, 2016, 3:20pm

Lunch. It's the most important meal of the day, if you choose to ignore the nutritionists harping on about the importance of cereal. It's also a meal that varies wildly depending on who you are and where you are in the world: if you're a tech support officer in London, it's unlikely you'll be eating queso fundido on your lunch break; if you're a chartered surveyor in Mexico City, you probably won't be eating a Pret ham and cheese croissant.

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But how does your profession affect your lunch? Do doctors only eat leaves? Do police have the time to bring a baguette and some fillings into the station to make their own snacks? Is it physically possible for people who work on water to eat soup while they're on the job?

To find out, we gathered a bunch of people to ask them about how their job affects their lunch.

Dr. Kiko Loiacono, Tour Manager

VICE: What are you eating today?
Dr. Kiko Loiacono: Very good quality pasta with hake, squid, olives, cherry tomatoes, and parsley.

Is that a typical lunch for a tour manager?
If I'm on the road, I'll eat whatever I can get, usually from a gas station. In Belgium, I'll buy croquettes; in France, a baguette and some salami… it all depends where I am. The petrol stations in the UK are ten times better—you can get salads.

Is that representative of most people in your profession?
Yes, most others will just eat whatever is available for lunch. However, Bo Ningen [who Loiacono tour-managed] told me that what they liked about me so much is how much I care about food. In Italy we'll only eat the nicest pizzas, and in Hamburg I take them to the place where currywurst was born. I try to get us all eating some decent food.

You used to be a chemist—how did your eating habits differ?
The chemist was in a supermarket and we were allowed to go to the cafeteria, but the food was so crap. I also once worked at a pharmacist in Essex, where we used to eat our lunches in the dispensary. This wouldn't be allowed in the rest of Europe, as it should be kept sterile, but here, nobody cares.

Gurmukh Panesar, Creative Engineer

What are you eating today?
Gurmukh Panesar: Sea bass, olives, green veg, and tomatoes. Roasted celeriac with thyme, honey, salt and pepper. Cauliflower chickpea and tomato salad. Smoked almond and lentil tandoori burger with carrot relish.

Wow. Is that kind of meal normal for creative engineers and developers?
I know that developers have this stereotype of drinking a beer and eating pizza and all that sort of stuff. But there are a lot of people in my office who like to eat healthy—and then there are also those who are happy with a burger and chips each day. I don't think my diet is very typical of a developer. But I also think pizza isn't typical of developers.

Jessica Agabalyan, Finance Assistant

What are you eating today?
Jessica Agabalyan: A halloumi and super grain salad.

What do you generally eat for lunch?
I usually have fresh salads or soups, or I try to make dishes at home out of rice and meat. I'm always trying to eat healthy—lots of vegetables.

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Is that representative of people in your profession?
Not at all, actually. I'm, like, the only one who eats healthy. They won't even take breaks; they bring in sandwiches and sit at their desk. I always try to make the effort to go out for an hour, grab some food and come back.

How much do you spend on food a day?
If I'm eating out then I guess it's probably around £8 [$12]. But that's for something healthy. If I was to go to the supermarket to buy a cheap salad, that would only cost me about £3 [$4].

Valerie Ebuwa, Freelance Dance Artist

What are you eating today?
Valerie Ebuwa: Rice with mixed veg, prawns, spinach, and plantain.

Is that kind of meal common for dance professionals?
Well, what I'm eating today is inspired by what my mom used to cook for me—traditional Nigerian food, so I'm guessing not on this occasion. But [dancers] often eat pasta and rice as well—foods that you can wolf down and make really quickly. Usually salad leaves and stuff to keep the body lean, healthy, and looking a certain way. In dance, a lot of the time there is a certain aesthetic, which is a bit annoying, so you have to keep in shape. But yeah, things that are quick and easy to make that fill you up.

Do you eat any foods for specific reasons?
Yeah. As much as I love McDonalds—and I really do mean love—I also know that if I eat that, firstly: I'll be spending money I should be saving, secondly: it'll leave me feeling sluggish and tired, and three: even though I'm burning off a lot of energy, it's much harder to burn off. I want to be conscious of what I'm putting into my body.

Ajmeet Singh, IT Networking at Bank of America, Special Constable in the London Met, and a Filmmaker

What are you eating today?
Ajmeet Singh: Falafel in pitta. Known to be the best falafel in St. Pauls.

What do you generally eat for lunch?
On a normal day-to-day job at the bank, I eat a lot of home cooked food. Nothing too fresh, as it's usually leftovers from last night's food. It's all veg, as I'm vegetarian.

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At the police job, I usually take one lunch that's easy to eat—rice and soy beans; that kind of thing. Sometimes when we're patrolling we don't get a chance to eat. You'll be outside and get caught up in certain events, so you don't have an opportunity to sit down and get food. You might get a chance to drink tea, but that's about it.

When I'm filming it's often quite hectic, so I don't have a chance to bring anything from home. I tend to eat out—pizza and whatever during the day.

Are those kind of meals typical for your colleagues in each of those professions?
In the bank, a lot of my colleagues eat out, and will usually have falafel, pasta, and so on. In policing, when people do get a chance to eat it's usually burgers and fries and stuff like that, because they just want to dig in. Y'know, go crazy with it. So yeah, in policing there's a lot of kebabs and pitas and stuff. Filming-wise, because everyone's busy, they just order pizza. It's quick and easy to eat.

Mohsin Khan, Fourth Year Junior Doctor, Currently Working as a Psychiatrist

What are you eating today?
Mohsin Khan: A Waitrose pulled smoked chicken sandwich; Tyrrells Poshcorn; a Bounty; a Kinder Bueno; a Pepsi Max; and a Starbucks Doubleshot Espresso.

What do you generally eat for lunch?
Because I work as a doctor, I have to think a bit about what I eat. Often you don't get too long to sit down and eat, so you need something quick. You can also be on your feet for quite a few hours, so you need something that gives you quick energy. Something that keeps you awake.

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So, firstly, I need lots of caffeine. I'm usually found drinking a big bottle of Diet Pepsi, or Dr Pepper, or other caffeinated drinks. Then there's your usual sandwich or roll—something that you can quickly grab and eat—and also crisps and chocolate for afterwards.

Is that representative of people in your profession?
I think doctors will differ. You'll have a minority that eat like me—quite a bit of junk food and caffeine to keep them going. Some will bring in their own food, if they're a bit more health conscious. Drinking coffee, tea and anything with caffeine is quite universal due to the long hours.

How much do you spend on food a day?
It depends on whether the supermarket has a deal going. If it does, I'm looking at £4 [$5], but if not, then sometimes up to £7 [$10].

Alex Birrel, Trainee Art Teacher

What are you eating today?
Alex Birral: A tuna sandwich with arugula and ready salted chips.

What do you generally eat for lunch?
I usually take a packed lunch because the school meals are kind of gross and work out to be quite expensive. So usually a sandwich, or I'll sometimes take leftovers from last night's pasta dish.

Is that the same as a lot of other teachers?
A lot of people I work with are really healthy, so they'll eat salads they make up themselves using kale, avocado, and other stuff. I always like to pretend that I'm gonna do that, but never really do. Others get their lunches from the school, and I don't know how they can eat it because it's actually gross. The jacket potato is alright, but the rest is all dry and not very nice. Sometimes I think, 'I'll treat myself to a hot meal today,' but I'm always disappointed.

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How much do you spend on food a day?
If I take a packed lunch then I don't really see the cost because it's just come from my weekly shop. I usually spend about £20 [$30] to £30 [$43] on that, so I guess my lunches aren't much at all really. If I get something from school, then it's £3 [$4] or £4 [$5], which is quite expensive. I could go to Pret and get something nice for the same price.

Mike Cole, Head Guide at Thames Rockets, a Company That Does Speed Boat Tours of the Thames

What are you eating today?
Mike Cole: Sushi from Wasabi.

What do you generally eat for lunch?
I try to have a balanced diet, but it never really works. I end up going and getting sushi, which I know sounds really cliché as I work on the water, etc, but I have fallen in love with it. I often say to myself, "Come on, be creative," but it's really nice so I can't stop.

Is that representative of other people who work on the water?
No, I don't think so. We've got a skipper here, and it's always a bit of an in-joke that we ask him what's in his sandwiches, because without fail he's got sandwiches.

Do you eat any foods for specific reasons?
I'm very shallow when it comes to my dietary requirements. I'll eat anything and everything that comes into sight, so personally, no. I'll eat soup if i'm working up in the office, but on the boat, because it's a speedboat, trying to go with things that are solid is a good idea—nothing that will spray all over the place. Soup is a bad idea on a boat; I have tried it—it doesn't work. Wearing soup is a different thing.

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How much do you spend on food a day?
Too much. Way too much. Embarrassed to say how much. Over a fiver.

Dida Dimitrova, Cleaner

What are you eating today?
Dida Dimitrova: Quinoa, edamame, and corn salad.

What do you generally eat for lunch?
Sometimes I'll make my own sandwiches, but usually I'll go to the shop and buy salad, yoghurt, muesli, apples, and bananas, among other things. I don't eat takeaway food like McDonalds and Burger King as it's unhealthy and not good for my body.

Is that representative of people in your profession?
Most people eat sandwiches—mostly food made at home to keep the cost down. But they like quite a lot of fast food. We don't have much spare time as we have many houses to clean in one day. It's hard and there's a lot of pressure.

Do you eat any foods for specific reasons?
Muesli is great for giving me enough energy to start the day. Cereal bars are also great as they are a slow release and stop me from getting tired. My salads consist of tuna and chicken to get my daily dose of protein while staying lean.

How much do you spend on food a day?
Not much, really—£3 to £4 pounds at the most if I don't bring food from home. I try to not spend too much.

Follow Chris Bethell on Twitter.