Keeping healthy habits at work can be a huge challenge. We are all very busy people with lots on our agenda and it can be tough to prioritize our health. When thinking about staying healthy at work there are a handful of topics to consider:
- Energy requirements
In order to be the most productive at work, we need to be mindful that we are fueling our body with enough food. Each job is going to look a little different in terms of energy requirements. For example, somebody who sits at an office all day is going to require less calories than a labour worker. Nonetheless, these two individuals still need to be fueling their bodies enough food to support their body’s functions.
- Balanced meals and snacks
A great habit to get into is packing leftovers from the previous night’s dinners for lunch. This helps reduce the amount of meal planning and prep time required and will also set you up for success by having a readily available lunch so you do not have to go out and purchase a meal.
What does a balanced meal look like? Think of your plate. The goal is to have ½ plate vegetables, ¼ plate of protein, and ¼ plate of grains/starch. This proportion of foods will not only help provide your body with the essential nutrients it requires, it will also help you manage your blood sugar levels, keep you fuller for longer periods of time, reduce your cravings, and reduce the chance you will experience an “energy crash”.
Pairing a protein with a fruit or vegetable is what we aim for in a balanced snack. Here are some examples: 1oz cheese with grapes, ¼ cup hummus with vegetables, ¼ cup unsalted mixed nuts with 1 pear, Greek yogurt with berries. Another tip is to have a stash of grab and go snacks in your office. My go to? Roasted edamame beans. These help me prioritize protein in my snacks.
- Timing of meals and snacks
It is important to remember to fuel our bodies regularly. If we go long periods of time between meals, we may experience low energy levels, low levels of productivity, and cravings. This may also increase the likelihood we overeat in our next meal. Eating every 2-3 hours is a general rule to follow, and this is where snacks come in. Plan on having a balanced breakfast shortly after waking, a morning snack, lunch, a mid afternoon snack, dinner, and possibly an evening snack.
Small sips throughout the day is our best bet to keep hydrated. Water is the best fluid to choose, but other beverages including milk or plant-based alternatives, fruit juice, herbal tea, and decaffeinated coffee also count towards our overall fluid requirements. As a general guideline, aim for 2.2 L of fluid per day if you are a woman, and 3L per day if you are a man.
Being properly hydrated can do many things for our body including helping digestion, reducing cravings, improving bowel regularity, aiding in cognitive function, and preventing muscle cramping.
We all have long to do lists and urgent tasks to get to, but I would encourage you to take some time out your workday for you. This might be having lunch with your co-workers, going on a short walk, or maybe even getting in a mid day workout. This brain break will work wonders for your productivity – your mind (and boss) will thank you. At the very least make it a priority to step away from your desk at lunch and avoid eating lunch in front of your workstation.
By Katrina DuBois, Registered Dietitian
Revive Wellness Inc.