Eating Healthy At Work
- Thursday, 27 October 2011
We all know the feeling: you are pressed for time and hurriedly working on that important project, all while ignoring your stomach, which is growling so loudly that co-workers think your pet is under your desk. Even though you are a busy gal, when it is time for lunch, go eat! Work will still be there when you get back.
The longer you put off lunch, the more likely you are to grab those unhealthy snack foods advertised to put hunger in its place. It can be tempting to finish up a task and get it out of the way, but be careful you are not compromising your health in the meantime. Missing meals means missing nutrients, which can leave you feeling tired and hungry. Giving your body fuel refreshes your energy and productivity.
Pay Attention To Pace
If you have waited until you are as hungry as a wolf, you will most likely eat like one. Most people eat too fast and end up taking in too many calories before their body can tell them they have had enough. It takes approximately 20 minutes from the time you start eating for your brain to send out signals of fullness. Leisurely eating allows ample time to trigger the signal from your brain that you are full. Moreover, it is harder for your digestive system to function properly when you eat too fast, resulting in poor digestion, indigestion and heartburn.
Steer Clear of Heavy Food
Instead of waiting to eat a large lunch in the middle of the day, bring a yogurt to your desk before lunch and an apple back with you after lunch. If you do not work at a desk, leave a healthy snack at your work station to nibble on, or keep a snack handy for your morning and afternoon breaks. Smart snacking means being mindful of your portions. Smart munching between meals can actually reduce your overall caloric intake by curbing overeating at mealtime.
You do not need lot of food to curb hunger and perk up your energy. Keep it simple with a couple of items per snack such as cut-up fruits and veggies, a boiled egg, nuts, hummus, etc. Trail mix keeps well and you can customize your own at a bulk food store. Reward yourself for snacking healthy and mix some chocolate chips, dried fruits, or yogurt-covered raisins in, but be mindful of the portion size, sugar and salt content.
Lunch is one of the most overlooked meals of the day, and sadly is often a thrown-together last-minute meal. Have lunches in mind during your weekend grocery store trip. Planned lunches brought from home can not only energize you, but also save you time, money and empty calories on bad food choices and rash decisions. The night before work, make yourself a delicious sandwich, soup or salad.
Eating the same thing everyday can be boring, so diversify your lunch by treating yourself to some gourmet touches such as roasted bell peppers, various hummus flavors or good quality cheese. Be careful to stay away from hidden, unhealthy foods. For example, iceberg lettuce has minimal nutritional value while romaine lettuce or spinach will give you B vitamins and iron. Likewise, creamy salad dressings tend to have a higher fat content than oil and vinegar-based dressings, and homemade is almost always best. Adding a lean protein source such as chicken or turkey will balance your meal and be lower in fat than bacon or salami.
When someone goes on the morning coffee run, consider your snack options. Restaurants commonly produce readily available nutritional breakdowns of their menu items. You will be surprised that sometimes a muffin may be worse than a donut! Be sure to avoid coffee overdose - it can make you jittery and nervous. If you enjoy coffee, restrict yourself to 1 or 2 cups a day. Drinking herbal teas such as anise, fennel and peppermint can improve your digestion, while ginseng and green tea can help boosts your energy levels.
Going Out For Lunch
There is certainly nothing wrong with going out to lunch once in awhile, but make it a treat, not a daily occurrence. Eating out can be expensive and can contribute to an expanding waistline. When you do eat out, limit fast foods or at minimum, opt for their healthy menu items. There are plenty of healthy options even at fast food restaurants -- salads, baked potatoes, chili, subs with lean lunch meat, and fruit salads.
Many independent organizations conduct nutritional analyses of menu items, most are free to help you make an informed order! Do not go all out and sabotage your week of healthy eating. You still have to go back to work so remember that the more fat and carbohydrates you eat, the less energy you have. Keep your sweet tooth under control. Loading up on candy, cakes, and pies for dessert will only provide limited energy before you crash and feel the need for a siesta.
Regardless of how hectic your day may get, always remember to tame your hunger. It is easier to control with a docile pooch than a ravenous wolf. Do not make the mistake of working through lunch. Take the time to rebound from morning stress and recharge for the rest of the day.