This is a legacy version of the WELL Building Standard. Please check the latest version here.

Mindful eating

Demanding work schedules and a lack of communal eating spaces can lead people to eat in isolation during meal breaks. Distracted eating at workstations while doing work, reading, watching television or listening to the radio may result in eating more, both immediately and during later food intake. Eating attentively and placing focus on the process of eating, on the other hand, may lead to better control of food intake. Time spent in break areas can lead to better eating habits, encourage social interactions, and help reduce stress.

Part 1: Eating Spaces

Eating spaces for employees adhere to the following requirements:

a. Contain tables and chairs to accommodate at least 25% of total employees at a given time.
Part 2: Break Area Furnishings

Eating spaces for employees contain all of the following:

a. Refrigerator, device for reheating food (such as microwave or toaster oven), and sink.
b. Amenities for dish washing.
c. At least one cabinet or storage unit available for employee use.
d. Eating utensils, including spoons, forks, knives and microwave-safe plates and cups.
Part 3: Lunch Breaks for Schools

The time allotment for lunch periods for early education, elementary, middle, and high schools are one of the following:

a.163 30 minutes minimum.
b.163 20 minutes minimum, not including time for walking to/from the cafeteria, waiting in line and purchasing food.

Applicability Matrix

Core & Shell New & Existing Buildings New & Existing Interiors
Part 1: Eating Spaces O O O
Part 2: Break Area Furnishings O O O
Commercial Kitchen Education Multifamily Residential Restaurant Retail
Part 1: Eating Spaces - O - O O
Part 2: Break Area Furnishings - O - O O
Part 3: Lunch Breaks for Schools - O - - -

Verification Methods Matrix

Letters of Assurance Annotated Documents On-Site Checks
Part 1: Eating Spaces Architectural Drawing
Part 2: Break Area Furnishings Owner Spot Check
Part 3: Lunch Breaks for Schools Owner

Conklin, MT, Lambert, LG, and Anderson, JB. How Long Does it Take Students to Eat Lunch? A Summary of Three Studies. The Journal of Child Nutrition & Management. 2002; (1). Accessed March 30, 2015.


The article notes that a goal for time spent in a cafeteria would be 26 minutes assuming 20 minutes of time spent at the table for students to eat. Allowing 4 minutes for travel to and from the cafeteria, a total lunch period could last 30 minutes.


The authors note that the studies summarized in the article can be used to advocate for reasonable lunch times, allowing students a minimum of 20 minutes at the table to eat.