EXPERT ADVICE: GET MORE ENERGY! HOW TO BEAT THE 3pm SLUMP
Six simple tips to help you eat healthier at work
Breakfast might be the most important meal of the day, but where does that leave lunch? A nutritious, filling midday meal is crucial if you need to function effectively until dinner, without grazing your way through the afternoon.
Given that you spend around 60 per cent of your waking hours at work during the week, a significant amount of eating is done there. But, with a little preparation, you can keep your wallet and your waistline happy.
Here are six common work obstacles that can stifle healthy intentions, and ways to overcome them. 1 It’s a colleague’s birthday… again Did someone mention cake? Celebrating birthdays and farewells with cake is a tradition in many offices. But if you find that there’s cake on offer nearly every other day, those extra kilojoules, saturated fat and sugar could steer your healthy eating goals way off track. THE OFFICE FIX Why not suggest a combined celebration at the end of each month? And it doesn’t always have to be cake. It can be a fresh fruit platter, homemade dip and vegie sticks, or a pot-luck lunch where everyone brings a healthy dish to share.
2 Coffee run mid-morning
If you’re stuck in an office all day, the morning coffee run is a pleasant way to break up the time spent at your desk. But watch out — it can easily lead to a kilojoule creep, especially if the smell of freshly baked muffins or banana bread has an irresistible appeal to your senses. THE OFFICE FIX Keep calm and caffeinate! Start the day with a high-fibre, protein-rich breakfast to help you resist high-kilojoule café treats. And stick to ordering a small coffee, without any extras like sugar and syrup flavourings.
It’s easy to forget to drink water when you’re busy and meeting deadlines, which is why many of us become dehydrated at work. That brain fade, or feeling of thirst, often sends us searching for a quick sugar fix instead of a refreshing glass of HO. THE OFFICE FIX Fill a large water bottle at the start of the day and keep drinking, and refilling. If you need a nudge, set yourself regular reminders to down a glass. There are smartphone apps and tech gadgets to help, too. Tea and coffee will also hydrate you, but steer clear of sugary drinks.
4 The post-lunch energy slump
Leafy salads, instant noodles and cupasoups may be low in kilojoules, but they’re also low in protein, which means you’ll soon be feeling hungry and fatigued. And when hunger strikes at 3pm, it’s all too easy to turn to the vending machine for a highfat, highsugar pickmeup. THE OFFICE FIX Add protein to your salads, such as a hard-boiled egg, canned fish or grilled chicken, to keep you satisfied. Also, surround yourself with healthy cues. Put a bowl of fruit on your desk at the start of each week, and stash a variety of healthy snacks in your drawers, such as small containers filled with 30g portions of unsalted mixed nuts.
5 Oops, forgot your lunch?
No one functions well on an empty stomach, and if you work in a business district, you will be surrounded by fast food meal options. However, it can be hard to find nutritious choices. As well, these quick fixes can cost you up to $50 a week — even more when you add on coffees and snacks. THE OFFICE FIX Stock up on healthy staples to keep at work. When you’re at the supermarket, look for ready-made meals and single-serve pots of soup containing whole grains, vegetables and legumes. Mini cans of tuna or no-added-salt baked beans on wholegrain crackers or bread are also good choices. Got a freezer at work? Turn to p30 for our top 10 healthy freezer foods.
6SITTING, SITTING, SITTING
As well as making you feel lethargic and giving you bad posture, research shows that sitting down for hours on end has more serious health implications, such as increasing your risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity and heart disease. THE OFFICE FIX Take regular standing breaks. Aussie researchers found that people who sat for eight hours saw improvements in their blood sugar and insulin levels when they walked for three minutes every half hour. Set a timer as a reminder to stand up every hour and stretch, and try to eat your lunch away from the desk.
Set a timer to stand up & stretch every hour