Healthy Eating at Work – By Ciara Kelly
Hello! I’m Dr. Ciara Kelly, an Irish medical doctor, foodie and wellness blogger, with a passion for preventive medicine and health promotion. I’m fascinated by how our lifestyles affect our health, in terms of key areas like nutrition, physical activity, stress management and sleep. My blog is a platform for me to share with you how to optimize these lifestyle factors to give ourselves the best chance at a healthy life, and ideally prevent and reduce the burden of many of the chronic diseases we see in the modern Western world. My message is that healthy habits can be sustainably integrated parts of our everyday lives – and most importantly, ones we enjoy sticking to!
One of the trickiest things about maintaining a healthy diet at work is sticking to those good habits when you’re at your busiest. A full day on the job can bring ups and downs – so in this article, I’m sharing my top three tips to keep your diet balanced, nutritious and delicious from Monday to Friday.
This tip is number one for a reason. So, what is ‘meal prep’ and how do you do it? Meal preparation involves setting some time aside in your weekend to pick some recipes, shop for the ingredients, and make the meals, which you can then store up for work snacks, breakfasts and lunches, or quick dinners at home. If this sounds like a chore, trust me – it’s not! Picking new recipes, you think you will enjoy can inspire creativity, pride and excitement in you around the food you prepare and eat. You can batch cook dishes like dahls or curries and freeze extra portions, or try preparing a grab and go breakfast like overnight oats for those early starts! The take-home message with meal prep is that in doing so, you are giving yourself the best chance to eat well even when the day doesn’t quite go to plan. I have lots of ‘meal prep’ friendly recipes on my blog, and I also love websites like BBC Good Food for new ideas!
Anticipate the Snack Attack
I don’t know about you, but the ‘elevenses’ are a daily occurrence for me, no matter how good my breakfast is. That time of the morning and my evening commute home are when the ‘snack attack’ pangs hit hard. I always prepare for this, because unfortunately, often the snack choices available in convenience stores aren’t the most nutritious, but are what we might crave on the rush home – chocolate bars, crisps or an energy drink. So, make it easy for yourself! I always pack ‘emergency’ snacks in my work bag – a tub of hummus with raw carrot sticks, homemade ‘trail mix’ of raw nuts, seeds and dried fruit, an apple, or even a small tub of yoghurt with berries. Try it for yourself – it’ll keep that hanger away, as well as keep your body and mind fuelled nutritiously!
Take Back Your Lunch Break
I save the best for last. Think back to your last lunch at work. Did you leave your desk? I really hope the answer is yes – but for many of you, the answer is likely no. I highly recommend, no matter how short your lunchtime is or how busy the day, to get away from your desk during that break. Grab your lunch, take it with you out of the office and encourage your friends to join you! If the weather allows, it’s a fantastic idea to find a green spot nearby (ideally a short walk away) where you can get some fresh air, a bit of chat, and a much more mindfully eaten lunch away from your work environment. I can almost guarantee you’ll return more refreshed, happier and productive for the afternoon ahead, having gotten some sun on your skin, air in your lungs, and exercise into your day too!
If you don’t know where to start from here, just pick one of my top tips, and try it out for a week! Gradually, as you build these work-life changes into your daily and weekly routine, you be able to add more, and wonder what the fuss was all about! Remember, no one is perfect, but taking the first step here is a positive, sustainable change you can make today.
Find more info from Claire at www.theirishbalance.com or follow her below.
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