We spend a lot of our lives at work. Work is often busy, it can be very active for some and sedentary for others depending on what you do. You could have scheduled work breaks or you could have no time to stop… What ever kind of job you do, eating and drinking healthily is important. Eating regularly can provide you with regular energy to fuel the brain and body. Dehydration can cause tiredness, poor concentration and headaches.

Sugar vs productivity

Trying to choose healthy choices for snacks and meals can be difficult. It is all to easy to graze at your desk, go to the vending machine for a packet of crisps or a fizzy pop and then having cakes, chocolates or samosa’s bought in the office because it is someone’s birthday, a celebration or they have come back from their holidays. Even working in the hospital, there is always boxes of chocolates open from a grateful patient sent as a thank you present. How do you eat healthy when there is all this temptation around?


Start off the day well

Make time for a good filling breakfast in the morning, get up 10 minutes earlier.
Ideas include wholegrain cereal topped with a dollop of plain / Greek yoghurt and chopped fruit / berries, wholegrain toast with jam or peanut butter and chopped banana, boiled egg and wholegrain toast, porridge cooked with raisins / sultanas / dried apricots. If you really can’t face food first thing then take your breakfast to work. If you have a microwave at work you could take porridge or cereal or a peanut butter sandwich!


Plan your snacks

It is all to easy to reach for the biscuits and cakes or buy a packet of crisps when you feel hungry. If you know you will be hungry by 10.30am, then bring a pre planned snack from home.
Healthy examples include: 20g of almonds, 1 tablespoon of low fat houmous and raw veg / bread sticks, fruit – banana, apple, chopped prepared fruit.

Nuts and Seeds Healthy Snack

Bring a healthy packed lunch to work

Being organised is the key to healthy eating. Preparing a packed lunch the night before, or saving the left overs from your dinner to take in and heat up.
Ideas include: Sandwich made with 2 slices of wholegrain bread, filling of choice and plenty of salad to bulk it out – lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, red / yellow pepper.
Salad in a box – salad plus half a tin of tuna, boiled egg, chopped chicken and pasta, rice or crackers.
Jacket pot (make at work if access to microwave), use potato or sweet potato with either tuna, chicken, baked beans or grated cheese and salad on the side.
If you buy your lunch then try and check out the calorie and fat content of the sandwiches or choose something with plenty of veggies or salad.

Make time to eat properly

Getting away from your desk to eat means you are not tempted to work through your break when you are probably not paid for it! Sit properly and enjoy your meal, if you are concentrating on work, you can’t eat slowly and enjoy your meal. You may overeat and not realise what you have eaten.

Keep hydrated

Sometimes you are thirsty not hungry. Take a drink bottle of water to work with you and make sure you drink it during the day. If you want a flavour then add slices of lemon or orange. Avoid sugary drinks as they are associated with tooth decay and contain extra calories. Don’t have all your drinks as tea and coffee. Try to avoid sugar in tea or coffee, try sweetener if you still need sweetness.

water bottle at work

The lure of communal office snacks

Persuade your office to buy fruit baskets in for the staff to snack on instead of packets of biscuits, cakes or pastries.
Make a packed with yourself that you will only have a treat once a week at work. Only take one piece, just because it is there, doesn’t mean you have to eat it! When it is your birthday, bring in a lovely looking fruit platter and see if you can start a trend!

Fruit and veg stall

Planning conference and course food

Choose healthy meeting snacks or lunches when planning a meeting or conference. Instead of pastries and cakes for snacks, how about fruit and yogurt pots. Avoid deep fried and pastry vol-au-vents for buffets and choose salads and sandwiches or a main meal with lots of vegetable options.

Move around

If you have a sedentary job make sure you move around as much as you can. Walk to the printer, move the bin away from your desk, go for a walk at lunch. My colleagues started running up and down 4 flights of stairs at lunch time for their exercise!

With help, encouragement and organisation then you can be healthy at work. Be healthy with your colleagues and persuade your bosses to help out – a healthier work force will benefit the company in the long run!


Infographics from www.westfieldhealth.com

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