Remaining healthy in the workplace can be a real challenge. As many of us start to return to the office after almost 18 months or more of working from home, there are certain things you can do to ensure you remain well nourished, productive and full of energy.
Kelly from The Natural Balance is going to outline some of the top tips that she gives to her busy clients in order to help them maintain a healthy balanced diet when back at work.
You’ve no doubt read many articles promoting food prep, and that’s because it really can help you make healthier choices. It puts you in control of what you eat - you know what’s in it, you can control the portion size and if you made it, chances are you’ll probably enjoy it more.
Lunch prep doesn’t have to be another chore. Just make an extra serve of your meal the night before. It's as simple as that. If you can make an extra portion of your dinner each night you are saving yourself from buying at least 5 shop bought lunches per week! Not only is that better on the wallet but you can be 100% certain that you can put in healthy foods.
Eat a proper lunch
In order to keep you focused, motivated and productive throughout the day, you need to have ideally eaten a filling breakfast and lunch. This will provide your body with the energy it needs to keep going.
Your lunch plate should look like your dinner plate and be made up of the following portion sizes:
- 1/2 a plate of vegetables (or roughly 2 cups of cooked weight veggies)
- 1/4 of your plate protein eg: fish, chicken, tofu, beans
- 1/4 of your plate complex carbohydrates such as rice, lentils, sweet potato, chickpeas
- 1 sprinkle of nuts and seeds
However, if you don’t have time to prepare a pack lunch (I know kids, family, gym and other commitments make it all tricky) try and keep some healthy snacks in the office fridge. Snacking is usually the worst offender, and what I hear my clients say is the hardest habit to kick. Having options ready to go, means that snacking isn’t seen as a “bad” thing, rather a way to provide your body with nutritious fuel until your next main meal.
Some classic suggestions are:
- Hummus and veggie sticks (carrot, cucumber, peppers, celery)
- Rice cracker and avocado or a nut butter of choice
- Piece of fruit
- Hard boiled egg
- Handful of nuts and seeds
- Smoothie (70% veg and 30% fruit) - this will help keep your blood sugar balanced
Coffee is not a food group
It’s so important to eat full meals. So many of my clients skip breakfast, opting for a coffee on the go. This will just set your day up for snacking, as your body will need calories at some point in the day and send you messages to eat and NOW. This is when we all make poor decisions - often what’s closest and quickest (hello chocolate bar and coffee!). By eating full meals, including a nutrient-dense breakfast, you will prevent cravings and hunger pangs later in the day. It will also help to support your mental function as your brain isn’t running on empty, improving your work performance.
My favourite breakfast ideas? Porridge, homemade smoothies (not store-bought ones - full of sweeteners!), eggs with avocado or mushrooms, fruit with natural greek yoghurt.
Sunshine & fresh air
Another one you’ve heard before - “take a break...get some air...sit in the sun”, but it’s a good one.
We need fresh air and sunshine to help regulate our body’s natural awake and sleep rhythm. Sitting under office lights with no natural light will dysregulate this pattern, meaning we’re tired at work and awake at night. Having contact with the outside world tells your pineal gland in your brain it’s daytime, so time to be awake and work. Just 15 - 20 minutes is enough, but if you can take your full hour break you should.
You’ll come back into the office refreshed, focussed and ready to work. Mentally, I also believe it acts as a placebo, by providing a natural break in the day you know you can tackle the next few hours until hometime. Use post-it notes or set alarms on your phone to remind yourself - or better yet - schedule it in your diary.
In addition to taking a break and feeling the sun on your face, why not use this time for a light walk around the block. We should be aiming for at least 10,000 steps a day, which is tricky when sitting at a desk for 9+ hours a day.
What about getting off the train one stop early and walking?
Exercise will help increase the cells in your body which make energy. The more exercise you do, the more energy producing cells which, you guessed it, give you more energy! Aim for a mix of cardio, strength alongside walking or yoga at least 3 to 4 times per week.
If you’d like to learn more about what can be done to help your team or office become more productive, focused and healthy, then get in contact with The Natural Balance today!