Workplace Wellness: Tips for Eating Well At Work
by Jillian Griffith, MSPH, RDN
With a hectic work schedule, keeping on track with healthy eating habits can be a hassle. Between the pastries in the office kitchen to grabbing an easy-on-the-go lunch to satisfy your mid-day cravings, maintaining a balanced work-day diet can be difficult. Even so, workplace wellness is so important because for many of us, a large portion of our days are spent at work; in fact, the average person will spend 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime! It’s no question that our workplace behaviors have a huge impact on our overall quality of life.Kickstart Your Day with Breakfast
Breakfast tends to be the most undervalued meal of the day, but it is actually one of the best ways to jump start your day and your metabolism. Many studies have linked eating breakfast to good health, including better memory and concentration, and lower chances of getting diabetes, heart disease, and being overweight. You might think that a muffin and a cup of coffee ought to do the trick, but it’s important to make smart choices at the start of your day. If you struggle to eat first thing, as many people do, then you can take your breakfast with you and eat it on-the-go or when you get to work.
Here are some suggestions for a better breakfast on the go:
- Include Protein - Protein takes more time to digest, meaning a breakfast packed with protein leaves you less likely to crave a mid-morning snack. Try adding protein packed items such as Greek yogurt, a protein smoothie, or breakfast egg muffins to your morning routine.
- Stick With Whole Grains - Including whole grain foods, like whole wheat toast or oatmeal, at breakfast boosts your intake of fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants
From breakfast to your afternoon-snack, it’s important to plan your meals ahead of time so that you don’t get stuck grabbing the first food in sight!
- Dedicating a little extra time each week to your meal planning can simplify the process so that you don’t have to scramble to pull things together each morning before work.
- Stocking up on portion-controlled snacks like yogurt, protein bars, fresh fruit or fruit cups, raw veggies, reduced-fat cheese sticks and high-fiber crackers is a great way to have a healthy options on hand.
- Packing a healthy lunch doesn’t mean you have to spend hours in the kitchen! Wholesome lunches can be simple and still be delicious. Simply just aim to include a vegetable, protein, and a grain in your meal and you will be good to go.
- If you’re not great at packing your lunch ahead of time, and prefer to grab food in the cafeteria, make sure half your plate is made up of fruits and vegetables, followed by whole grains and a lean-protein.
Drinking an adequate amount of water each day will help keep your body healthy and functioning at its highest capacity by improving physical performance, aiding in weight loss, boosting your mood and brain power, and protecting against diseases. The recommended amount of water per day depends on your age, gender, and activity level; however, working towards eight 8-oz glasses of water each day is a great start!
Jillian Griffith, MSPH, RDN, Public Health Nutritionist at the Georgetown University Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities Research https://www.knowyourselfloveyourself.com/contact-me