Welcome to the busy working lifestyle – where the combination of poor nutrition and high stress make for a sick and tired person – and most probably overweight as well.
Every occupation has its unique pressures: a desk job in clean, centrally heated office may sound like heaven to a manual worker on a building site. But working in a modern office is also demanding. Limited personal space, noisy telephones, photocopying and fax machines all add up to a formula for severe workplace stress.
Whatever job you do, tailor your food to the task. What you eat can improve your mental capacity, enhance your performance, and greatly improve your physical stamina.
Building a Healthy Desktop
Check out some easy ways to improve your work diet:
Don’t Skip Breakfast- If you are not hungry when you wake or simply cannot make the time – why not set up some breakfast food at work? I’ve known many a colleague who will fix themselves some breakfast in the staff/tea room. Most offices will have at least a fridge and a microwave oven and some even offer micro market vending now. No excuses there.
A bottle of water to work-You can become dehydrated very quickly in a centrally heated office. Depleted fluid levels lead to fatigue, so you should reserve a space on your desk for a bottle of water. Take regular sips throughout the day, aiming to drink about eight glasses. Throw Some Fruit in Your Bag- always have 3 pieces of fruit sitting on your desk. The fruit will always be consumed by the end of the day. You don’t have to keep reaching for the vending machine.
Clear your drawers of junk foods and keep a small dish to hold nutritious snacks. It may be tempting to keep an ‘emergency’ hoard of sugary snacks such as sweets and chocolate bars in your desk. But these are the very foods you should avoid if you want to stay in good shape. Try mixed nuts (such as walnuts and almonds); dried fruit; small sesame bars; sunflower and sesame seeds; trail mixes, whole-wheat pitas, rice crackers and also some muesli to bridge the hunger gap if you forget to have breakfast before leaving for work. These won’t pile on the weight or unbalance your blood sugar.
Herbal oils: A small bottle of essential oil ofLavender helps to reduce tension headaches.
Avoid Coffee Overdose- Excessive caffeine can make you jittery and nervous. If you enjoy coffee, have one cup in the morning and another later in the day. Sachets of herbal teas such aschamomile, fennel and mint help with digestive problems and rosehip boosts your vitamin C levels. Herbal teas are low in caffeine and make good alternatives to endless cups of coffee.
Sharpening your vision -There has been a marked increase in cases of macular degeneration(blindness caused by degeneration of part of the retina) in young people. One of the major risk factors is prolonged exposure to bright light. Protect your eyesight by eating foods rich invitamins A and E . If you work at a computer screen every day, you should look away from the screen regularly to give your eyes frequent off –screen breaks. It is also a good idea to get up and walk about at regular intervals to stretch your limbs. Try to do this every hour.
Painful joints– If you sit immobile at your desk for hours at a time, you risk developing inflamed tissues and joints in your lower back. And constant keyboard work may cause inflammation in your wrists. Fish oils can be very helpful; as are foods rich in the antioxidant vitamins A, C and E and selenium: fruit and vegetables (including orange and yellow varieties) provide vitamins A and C; avocados, fresh nuts and olive oil are high in vitamin E; and fish oils, cereals, eggs and brewer’s yeast supply selenium.
Keep moving and do regular neck and shoulder stretches– get up from your desk at frequent intervals; use the stairs instead of the lift; try and get out for a walk or a swim during your lunch break; or join a gym. When you are at your desk, make sure you are sitting correctly: this can help to combat the effects of stress.
Avoid the Dinner Trap- Let’s say you have lunch at 1pm, and dinner at 7pm. That’s a fairly long stretch. Instead of starving and then demolishing an enormous meal of pasta – it’s better to have a good snack in between. Don’t be afraid to leave food on your plate at dinner time. Most of us are used to big carb-heavy evening meals. Make a habit of leaving food on your plate – you never know – you might just have made tomorrows lunch.
Quick and Easy Many office workers eat some kind of sandwich at mid-day. This can be a delicious meal, especially if you have time to make your own. Most people buy ready-made sandwiches; these are fine, as long as you choose wholegrain bread and low-fat fillings. To help you to maintain ahealthy weight and blood pressure, always check the label for the calorie, saturated fat and salt content of your sandwich.
Remember, regardless of whether you work in a small or large company, voicing your opinion about the state of the work canteen or about the food available on site is worthwhile.