Now that the lockdown regulations have been eased, more people are returning to the office to resume normal working life. Between adjusting to office life and hectic deadlines, it may be more difficult for people to eat healthily. According to Angela Leach, the Head Dietician for FUTURELIFE®, employees with an unhealthy diet are 66% more likely to exhibit low productivity levels than those who eat a healthy diet. “We eat at least half of our meals and snacks during working hours, but storage facilities, limited food options, and a lack of areas to prepare and eat food in the workplace, are contributors to unhealthy eating,” she says.
Angela adds that many office spaces have canteens and vending machines, but in most cases, these facilities do not offer nutritional meals. “When someone is faced with the choice to leave the office to get something healthy or eat at the canteen due to a busy working schedule, they are more likely to go with what is available at the office.” Adequate planning can ensure that you have sustained energy levels, which can lead to better concentration and increased productivity in the workplace.
Angela offers these 5 tips for healthy eating at the workplace:
1. Plan your meals
Before a new week, plan which meals you would like to have, then create a shopping list of all the ingredients and snacks you will need to buy. Depending on your preference, you can either prepare all your meals for the whole week over the weekend or when cooking each night, make an extra portion to take to work the next day. Doing this will take the hassle of lunch out of your day because you will know exactly what you will be eating.
2. Remember to eat breakfast
Eating a nutrient-dense breakfast will help stabilise your blood glucose level, which is often lower in the morning, after many hours of not eating. A meal in the morning gives you energy to conquer the morning and prevents overeating later. Research also shows that having breakfast can lower the chances of heart disease, diabetes and provides other benefits such as lower cholesterol levels, better memory and concentration.
3. Pack a lunch bag
You have to sustain your body throughout the day, so you need to ensure that you aren’t missing any meals or snacks. Planning plays a huge role in making sure this happens. Invest in the right containers and cooler bag lunch boxes to prolong the life of your food. Try and include a meal for lunch, one snack for the morning, and another for the afternoon. You are less likely to buy unhealthy food with a fully packed lunchbox.
4. Carry a water bottle
Throughout the day, our kidneys and liver are working to flush out toxins, but our bodies need sufficient water to do this optimally (through sweat and urine). Without water, we risk dehydration, it is also required for body temperature regulation and to assist with brain function . You may be tempted to reach for an energy drink as you get tired throughout the day, but if you remember to carry a water bottle, you can satisfy your thirst in a healthier way.
5. Eat from all food groups
Your diet should include food from all the food groups and so should your lunchbox, so include fruits, vegetables, grains or starch, protein, dairy and fat. On really busy days, pack on-the-go meals like the FUTURELIFE® High Protein Shake. The convenient pouch provides the perfect balance of nutrients with 16.1 grams of protein, 16 grams of carbs, 5.9 grams of fat, and 19 vitamins and minerals. Everything we put in our bodies is broken down and reassembled into our brain cells, bones, muscles, tissues and organs, so we need to ensure that we are nourishing our bodies correctly.
“Adjusting to office life during a pandemic can be challenging as there is so much that people need to keep in mind, but food doesn’t have to be one of them. With a little preparation and implementing small changes, we can help our body function optimally and simultaneously increase productivity, concentration and energy,” concludes Angela.