10 Healthy Eating Tips for the Workplace

Business people eating lunch together

10 HEALTHY EATING TIPS FOR THE WORKPLACE

By: Maddie Frangi, Verve Health – Dietetic Intern

 

Optimal nutrition increases work productivity, energy levels, and focus. Try these tips to improve your work performance and reach your health goals.

 

1. CLEAN OUT YOUR DESK DRAWERS

Throw out the potato chips, cheese puffs, and soda, and say goodbye to the candy bowl that helped you make friends in the beginning. It’s not serving you anymore.

 

 

2. STOCK YOUR DESK WITH HEALTHY OPTIONS 

We all have those days where we hit snooze too many times and don’t have time for breakfast or packing a lunch. Be prepared for these days by keeping healthy options like fruit, oatmeal packets, nuts, peanut butter, whole grain cereal, crackers and tuna at your desk. You will thank yourself later.

 

 

3. PLAN YOUR MEALS 

Meal planning takes the stress out of putting together a lunch on the fly. During the work day, aim to include fruit, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and low-fat dairy in your diet.  Check out recipes online or cookbooks to get meal ideas for lunch and snacks.  

 

 

4. PREPARE IN ADVANCE 

Make it easy on yourself and buy ingredients to pack the same lunch for the week if you don’t get bored of it. If packing lunches before work or the night before is unlikely, make all your meals the day before your week begins and portion them into plastic containers. That way, all you have to do before work is grab a container out of the refrigerator!

 

 

5. TAKE A LUNCH BREAK

Take a break away from work for lunch to focus on your meal. Mindful eating has been shown to reduce food cravings and help you notice when you’re full so that you eat less.

 

 

6. STAY HYDRATED

Keep a large water bottle next to you while you work to make sipping throughout the day a no-brainer. If you don’t like plain water, try adding lemon or other fruit. Be aware of your coffee intake and drink one cup of water for every cup of coffee to stay hydrated.

 

 

7. GET AN ENDORPHIN HIGH RATHER THAN A SUGAR BUZZ

The next time you experience an afternoon slump, try going for a walk around the building before reaching for a sweet treat. Studies show that exercise improves mental alertness, so there is no need for the sugar buzz!

 

 

8. BE CHOOSY

People celebrate every birthday, event, or ordinary day with doughnuts, bagels, and other high-calorie foods. Be selective about what you choose to eat. Only indulge occasionally with the treats you truly love. Don’t eat that mediocre piece of cake just because it’s there. Hold out for that homemade brownie that you absolutely love and enjoy.

 

 

9. BE PREPARED TO SAY “NO”

Prepare a polite response to coworkers who bring in treats like, “No thanks, I’ve already been snacking at my desk” or “I appreciate that offer, but I’m saving room since I’m going to my favorite restaurant tonight.”

 

 

10. COME TO MEETINGS PREPARED 

Bring your own snack or lunch that you’ve packed to office meetings where food is provided. If you want to take advantage of the lunch provided, try to make small adjustments to the meal like taking the top piece of bread off the sandwich, avoiding condiments like mayonnaise and ranch, and choosing fruit over chips.

 

Remember that indulging occasionally and in moderation is perfectly fine! The goal is to optimize productivity, energy, and focus at work by fueling your body with the nutrients it needs.

 

Sources:

[1] Alberts, R., Thewissen, L. (2012). Dealing with problematic eating behavior. The effects of a mindfulness-based intervention on eating behavior, food cravings, dichotomous thinking and body image concern. Appetite, 58(3), 847-851. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2012.01.009
[2] Penedo, F. J., Dahn, J. R. (2005). Exercise and well-being: a review of mental and physical health benefits associated with physical activity. Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 18(2), 189-193.