Six sim­ple tips to help you eat health­ier at work

Healthy Food Guide (Australia) - - CONTENTS -

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 HO. 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.


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

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