March is Nutrition Month and this year Dietitians are offering tips to help Canadians with Eating 9-5. This week’s challenge is Meetings, Events and the Workplace. 45% of Canadians say that eating healthy meals and snacks while at work is challenging.
Workplaces can present many challenges to eating well such as frequent celebrations, common area treats, food-filled meetings, after work cocktails and Friday fast food lunches.
Having ready access to unhealthy food can make it difficult to maintain a healthy diet. Lack of workplace access to healthy, reasonably priced, good-tasting food has been linked with missing lunch or eating while working.
Eating with others, such as in a work situation, can influence what, and how much one eats. People tend to have similar eating habits as those in their social networks; they may feel pressure to eat to fit in or may find treats tough to resist. Research shows that when treat-type foods are close by at work, such as a candy dish in a common area, people are more likely to eat them. Trying to resist treats can be distracting, leading to less productive work time.
Create a healthy work environment with these tips:
- Celebrate everybody’s birthday together once a month
- Don’t offer food at meetings or if you do, order better choices. Make it brain food not drain food. Offer pitchers of water, salads and wraps filled with veggies and protein. Skip the sweets and office fruit trays instead or yogurt and mini muffins. For longer meetings be sure to schedule an activity break to keep everyone energized.
- Opt out of fast food Fridays and brown bag it. Go for a walk together after you eat.
- Get rid of the candy dish and replace it with a fruit bowl. Make common areas “treat free”
If you need to travel for work consider these tips:
- Bring snacks so you don’t have to buy food at the airport, train station or roadside stop.
- Pack your water bottle – staying hydrated is key to fighting the fatigue that travel can cause.
- Stock up on nutrient-rich snacks such as fruit, nuts and grain-based bars to eat between meetings.
- Schedule a good breakfast into your daily calendar. Choose whole grain cereals, fruit, yogurt and eggs.
- Ask the concierge about nearby grocery stores and restaurants with healthy choices so you don’t have to rely on fast food.
If shift work is wreaking havoc on your eating habits consider these tips:
- Eat your main meal before going to work. Have a small meal and healthy snacks during your shift so you don’t feel sluggish.
- Pack your own nutritious snacks and drinks. That way, you can avoid vending machines that contain sweet, salty or high-fat foods and sugary drinks. Try So Lo Energy bars with a low Glycemic Index to help provide long lasting energy. Keep yogurt and fruit on hand. Bring an extra sandwich for those long days.
Stay well hydrated at work. Drink plenty of water; it might help you feel more en