Yes folks, March is national Nutrition Month and I will be featuring the theme of eating well at work ‘Eating 9 to 5!’ throughout. I’m focusing on meetings, events and the workplace this week. Pat Benetar sings that Love is a Battlefield well her sequel to that should be Work is a Minefield! Depending on the day, there could be food traps galore, stress on stress with a side order of stress, not to mention peer pressure to nosh along with the in crowd… oh boy are we celebrating another birthday? What gives!!
Dietitians of Canada has you covered with a wide array of solutions to your common workplace food challenges:
1. Did you know? In a company of 100 staff, celebrating each birthday adds eight slices of cake a month!
Work events focused on food may be causing you to overeat. That’s because eating with others can influence what and how much you eat. You might feel pressure to eat to fit in with your peers or find it tough to resist treats.
Try these tips to avoid workplace food traps:
- Celebrate everyone’s birthday together once a month.
- Skip sweets at events. Enjoy fresh fruit platters instead.
- Don’t offer food at meetings. If you do, order better choices.
- Opt out of Friday fast-food lunches. Brown bag it, then walk ’n’ talk after you eat.
2. Manage workplace munchies with Mother Nature’s candy dish – a big bowl of fresh fruit.
Is a workplace candy dish tempting you to eat too many sweet treats? Research shows that when treat-type foods are close by at work, you’re more likely to nibble.
Trying to resist those treats can be distracting, leading to less productive work time.
Here’s a sweet idea: keep workplace common areas free of treats. Instead, put out a fresh fruit bowl. Keep it free, charge a small fee or take turns filling the bowl with a variety of fruit.
3. Get the most out of your meetings. Order brain food, not drain food!
Next time you’re planning a meeting that’s scheduled over a mealtime, order food that will help keep attendees focused and productive:
- Put pitchers of plain water on the table to quench thirst, boost hydration and keep workers alert.
- Keep lunch light with salads and wraps filled with veggies and protein such as chicken, cheese, eggs or legumes (beans, peas or lentils).
- Replace sweet desserts; offer fresh fruit or small portions of nutrient-rich snacks such as yogurt or whole grain mini muffins.
- Be sure to schedule an activity break to keep everyone energized.
4. Is workplace stress eating away at you? Don’t feed your feelings with food!
If you reach for a sweet treat when you’re stressed at work, you’re not alone. Studies show that stress increases the desire to eat for some people. High-fat, sugary snacks are common comfort foods chosen to cope with stress.
The next time you’re stressed at work and craving a treat, ask yourself: am I hungry? If the craving comes from stress rather than hunger, food won’t satisfy it. If eating to deal with stress becomes a habit, it could be bad for your waistline. Don’t let food be your comfort.
5. Want a career path advantage? Add healthy eating to your to-do list!
Eating well at work can boost your concentration, productivity and vitality. It can also reduce missed days of work by helping to boost your overall health. Fuel your workday the healthy way with these five helpful tips:
- Bring lunch from home so you don’t have to eat out.
- Take a break away from your desk to enjoy your lunch.
- Reduce boredom or stress by taking a brisk walk instead of nibbling.
- Pack smart snacks so you can skip the vending machine’s sugary and salty treats.
- Hydrate with water instead of caffeinated drinks.
Adapted from The Dietitians of Canada’s Nutrition Month Campaign Materials. Find more information about Nutrition Month at www.nutritionmonth2015.ca.