Eating well at work: tips and ideas for a healthy lunch
Make every lunch break count.
By Teresita Then
Receptionist at Life Ready Mobile
Is your tummy rumbling while there’s a stack of reports to write, emails to reply and meetings to attend? Are you snacking on junk food all day?
People often link healthy eating to dieters or health fanatics. A study conducted by Ray Merrill, at Brigham Young University, associated unhealthy eating with poor workplace productivity*. Unbeknownst to most, whether you are a home maker or you work 8-5, the meals you eat play a vital role in your overall wellbeing.
A healthy meal has a good balance of different food groups which include fruit and vegetables, carbohydrates, protein, and some dairy products. Eating a balanced lunch at work can pose challenges, especially when you are rushing everywhere or meeting deadlines.
So, how do you achieve this with a busy schedule?
PLAN AHEAD, MAKE EFFORT
Healthy lunches aren’t as daunting if you do a little forward planning and fit ten minutes into your daily routine to prepare them; and with practice, you might even get it done in five!
Stock up the fridge and pantry with ingredients to pack a sandwich or quick salad. Buy fresh produce that are in season rather than imported, convenience products to keep to the budget and limit consumption of processed food.
Alternatively, cook a little extra for dinner and use leftovers to create wholesome lunches. Toss some mesclun with roasted chicken and potatoes from the night before, sprinkle some nuts or seeds, and cheese if you wish. Bring along a piece of fruit, and voilà! You have a delicious, balanced meal.
It’s indeed a mission to keep hydrated while getting tasks done. Take a drink bottle for easy access to water anytime. Setting reminders to hydrate yourself also helps when you get too caught up with your schedule.
Subsequently, be aware not to exceed your caffeine limit if quenching your thirst with coffee or tea. Also, try to limit sugary drinks to prevent unnecessary sugar intake.
EMERGENCY SNACKS ON HAND
Forgot your lunch? No access to affordable nutritious meals around your work area?
Always have a supply of snacks in your drawer. Keep crackers, canned tuna, cereals, peanut butter, nuts or dried fruit handy. These will provide a healthy pick-me-up on days you forget your lunch or serve as a snack.
When it comes to planning your lunch, be creative, be bold to try new things. And most of all, don’t give up! You’re getting there.
Merrill, R.M., et al. (2012) Presenteeism According to Healthy Behaviors, Physical Health, and Work Environment. Population Health Management. 15 (5), 293-301.