Most days of the week I am popping in and out of workplaces all over Northern Ireland advising people how to eat well at work as part of their workplace health strategies. Here at Vital Nutrition HQ, we support business large and small to make their workplace a healthy place to be. Today’s blog is inspired by the fact that today is Ireland’s National Workplace Wellbeing Day.
For the record, I like to nudge, rather than force people to make small, effective changes to their workday eating habits to help them feel better. When it comes to workplace health, what we much for breakfast, nibble at lunchtime and devour at dinner can have a profound effect on how we feel and perform at work, rest and play.
The side effects of changing what you eat are likely to be that you become more productive, have improved concentration and more stable energy levels, so your boss with thank you for your healthy new habits and amazing productivity too, and who knows, it could even result in a pay rise!
Hot tips for nutrition at work:
- Take food into work with you. Don’t rely on what is available from the corner shop, or nearest deli, as by the time lunchtime comes around, most of us are so hungry that we are more likely to be led into temptation by junk food and sugary snacks.
- Make lunch twice a week, not every night. I know that you have better things to do with your evenings than making the same old boring ham and cheese sandwiches every night. Save yourself time and effort (and probably money too) by batch making food that you could keep in the fridge and eat over a few days. Super salads, soups, smoked mackerel pate… Get into the habit of making something on a Sunday evening to do lunch for Monday and Tuesday, and then make up something else on Tuesday evening to do Wednesday and Thursday lunches.
- Have a Friday freestyle day. If you get into the routine of batch prepping lunch for the rest of the week, give yourself a break and treat yourself something nourishing from that deli your used to spend all your hard earned cash in, or pop to M&S and grab a salad, or healthy option meal deal.
- Pack a snack. Step away from the vending machine, by keeping some healthy snack options in work. Little bags of nuts, toasted coconut chips, low sugar nut bars like these ones, or natural yoghurt are great, as they are all good sources of protein that will help to satisfy cravings and keep you fuelled much longer than a sugary bar or bag of crisps.
- Get yourself a funky water bottle (ideally one of those leak-proof, spill-proof ones) and fill it up twice a day. Most of them are 750ml, so if you get through two of them, you are on target for good hydration.
- Teamwork is essential for good workplace nutrition. Eating well is so much easier if the people around you do it too, so link up with a few colleagues to share the load. Why not take it in turns to bring lunch in for each other once a week, or set up a kitty to buy healthy snacks?
- Talk to your team leader, boss or health action committee about including healthy snacks in vending machines. Little bags of nuts, low sugar protein bars or trail mix would be good.
- If you have a workplace canteen, then check out their healthy options. Fill half your plate with salad or vegetables, choose a protein source and add no more than one fist-size portion of low GI carbs (wholegrain breads, brown rice, new potatoes).
It’s the wee things
No matter what workplace I visit, whether people are office based, on a construction site, hospital or anywhere else, I find that it is the small things that make the difference to how well we feel. The routines and habits that become part of our working week, that we can stick to Monday to Friday, are the little things that build our health for the better.
Vital Nutrition in your workplace
You can find out more about our workplace health workshops and cookery demos here, or telephone 07704 520257 to speak to us about building a bespoke package, specially tailored to the needs of your employees.