A recent study by Eurest has shown that more and more of us are choosing to forgo our lunch hour, with most of us only taking an average of half an hour and 7% of people deciding not to go out for lunch all together, preferring to eat at their desk. Healthy eating at work has always been a challenge if you don’t have access to a fully equipped kitchen at work, but on this reduced time scale it becomes even more of one.
There are however good reasons for trying to make sure you keep up a healthy eating regime and not skip meals however busy you are. Past studies have shown a loss of performance and concentration from workers who skip their meals, on top of that you are likely to be more prone to feeling tired, or suffering from headaches.
As an employer, there are things you can do to help your staff eat healthily, which in the long run will benefit the business as healthy and happy staff are less prone to sickness. Where possible ensure that your staff have access to a microwave, or at least a kettle, so they can prepare or reheat food and soups. Also look for a company that can supply healthy snacks for your staff, instead of chocolate and crisps.
But as an employee there is still much you can do to reduce the impact of work on your diet with a little bit of planning ahead. For example, if you set aside an hour at the weekend to fill enough bottles of water or juice to last you for the week, and to wash, slice and pack healthy snacks like fruit and vegetables then you won’t need to think about doing it first thing in the mornings.
Alternatively, if you don’t want to spend time doing this on your weekend, pack your lunch while you are cooking your evening meal. If you have access to a microwave at work, then you can even cook “planned-overs” making an extra portion of your evening meal that you can pack up and take to work with you later in the week.
Most supermarkets offer a wide range of convenience foods, single portions of fruit in tins, cereals “to go” in pots (some even with the milk included). These can be a good ways to help you eat at work if you haven’t got the time to be preparing food at home.
If you like to snack at your desk (something often referred to as “grazing”) then make sure you have plenty of healthy snacks to hand, fill a jar with a mixture of your favourite dried fruits, seeds and nuts. Many nuts and seeds are high in protein which help fill you up and provide your brain and body with much needed energy boosts throughout the day. Having your drawers full of healthy snacks will help you avoid raiding the vending machine for chocolate, crisps and biscuits.
One of the best ways to set you up for your day however is still to make sure you have a good breakfast – Something high in protein and fibre will fill you up and stop you craving a coffee break muffin or chocolate bar. Good breakfasts for filling you up include Porridge, or maybe some whole grain toast with chunky peanut butter, or even a natural yoghurt based fruit smoothie.
A few small changes to how you plan your week can make all the difference, and makes eating healthy at work no matter what your shift, much easier.