Stress, bad eating habits, and a sedentary lifestyle--consequences of working too much and not taking care of yourself--can all have a negative impact on your health. This can then lead to chronic diseases and overweight or obesity and also to a decreased work performance.
To avoid this, you need to begin preparing your meals in advance, not only at home, but also at the office or workplace. This doesn’t just mean taking healthy foods from home to work, but also being prepared to face any unforeseen situation during the workday (such as an office party with high calorie desserts and drinks), that can take a toll on your calorie consumption for the day.
- Learn about restaurants that are in the neighbourhood of your workplace. There are countless options in restaurants. It is best to select a place that offers you a varied menu with meals that are suitable for your diet plan, such as those that have low-fat choices. Look for restaurants with flexible menus and waitstaff that are willing to make substitutions for you without a fuss.
- Balance your daily calories. Information is the key in this process. Achieving a balanced diet does not mean that every single one of your meals needs to be perfectly balanced, but you should try to achieve balance by the end of the day. For example, if one day you must have a high-calorie lunch at work, try to have a light dinner to compensate, such as a tomato and lettuce salad with grilled fish. This will also help you get to sleep more easily.
- Choose foods that are easily digested. In order to avoid sleepiness and continue working after lunch, it is important to select foods that facilitate the digestion process, and help avoid that sensation of "heaviness” after eating. To do this, you need to lower your consumption of fats and increase the amount of fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products on your plate.
- Tailor your meals to suit your job. The calorie requirement of people that work in physically intense jobs, such as construction, cleaning and maintenance, or farming is very different from that of someone who works in an office or travels in a car, spending most of the day sitting down. For this reason, it is important to consult with a dietician to help you learn what the right amount of calories is to fulfill your needs, according to your own physical activity level. If the calories in your diet are excessive, you will gain weight. But if you are not eating enough calories, you will most likely feel fatigued.
- Balance your food at work. Some menu item ideas that are healthy include: pasta with a salad, tomato sauce or another vegetable. Another dish could be a white fish or lean meat, grilled or baked, followed by fruit, yogurt, or a serving of low-fat cheese. Your morning snack can include dried fruit, fresh fruit, or fruit juice, instead of fast food or chips. Try to avoid the vending machine down the hall, which is full of sweet and salty snacks that are usually loaded with calories, fat, and sodium.
- Try to limit your consumption of coffee. For some people, a cup of coffee in the morning is almost a ritual. If consumed in moderation, coffee can be part of your daily diet, but it is not advisable to have it constantly throughout your working day. Caffeine is a powerful stimulant that can contribute to stress and anxiety, and may lead to a lack of concentration.
- Take your time to eat. It is totally inadvisable to eat in front of the computer. Try eating more slowly and chewing well. Enjoy each bite, participate in conversation at the table, and drink water. A tip: stop eating right before you feel completely satisfied; it doesn’t matter if there is still some food on your plate!
- An after-lunch walk: a great decision. In order to improve your digestion and get some exercise in the process, a great option is to take a short, ten-minute walk after lunch. This will also help you get some fresh air and relieve stress.
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