Do you have time for self-care at work? Maybe it’s you, maybe it’s the environment, but at the end of the day, many of us leave work feeling stressed, heavy and burnt out. If your workplace hasn’t already invested in employee wellness programs, I’m here with a round-up of the top 5 things YOU can do to improve your nutrition wellness at work!
1. Have Breakfast
Weekday mornings always feel rushed. Your alarm doesn’t go off, you burn your toast or your little one has an epic meltdown over wearing his boots! With the morning chaos many of us experience, it can be tough to make and enjoy breakfast. But having breakfast in the morning provides our bodies and minds with the energy it needs to feel good and be productive (1). There’s no need to get fancy, keep it simple with some of the examples below:
- Whole wheat toast with natural nut butter and sliced banana
- Oatmeal with fruit and a swizzle of honey or maple syrup (bonus points for making this in your slow cooker overnight Sunday and enjoying the fruits of your labour all week!)
- Smoothies with fruits and vegetables too. Try banana with spinach or frozen cauliflower, cocoa powder and milk. Pro tip: go easy on all the add-ins like oats, fresh and dried fruits. Smoothies can easily add up to the caloric value of two or more meals!
2. Meal Plan
In my years of practice, meal planning and preparing has been the single most helpful tool for my clients to achieve a healthier lifestyle. With a little patience and practice, this is a skill you will never regret building.
Bringing your own lunch to work reduces the chances you will grab take-out and increases the likelihood of a healthier and more power-packed meal. Planning your lunch can be as simple as making extras at dinner and packing leftovers. Alternatively, you can batch prepare food on the weekends. Think boiled eggs, chopped salads, sheet pan meals and bento boxes.
3. Create a (HEALTHY) Snack Drawer
Everyone knows where to find the snacks at work. You know the drawer, the one full of goodies that bring out the afternoon snackers looking for a little pick-me-up. This habit of an afternoon snack is actually a good one! Dietitians call the time at work between 2-4pm the “midday slump”. This is when screen-fatigue kicks in and energy starts to wane. Having a small snack at this time can help you feel refreshed and bring your energy back up to where you feel productive. Try not to snack at your desk or while working, we tend to eat more if we are distracted when eating (2). Take a small break and enjoy your snack! Stock your workplace with a few healthy options like these:
- Unsalted nuts (only eat a small handful at a time!)
- Dried fruit
- Bananas and apples
If you have access to a fridge space, try these:
- Hummus and vegetables
- Nut butter and sliced pears
- Laughing Cow cheese or a small piece of hard cheese and grapes
Staying hydrated is important for us to feel good throughout the day. Drinking lots of water also gives our skin a nice glow – not a bad side effect for quenching our thirst! Keep a water bottle, tumbler or open glass at your workspace as a constant reminder to drink. If you need an extra push, set an alarm on your computer or phone that reminds you every 30 minutes to take a few sips. Here are some other fun alternatives to juice and pop:
- Infuse water with cucumber and lemon slices for a cool and crisp drink that is very refreshing
- Put a couple of blueberries in an ice cube tray, add water and freeze. Use these fruit cubes as a natural flavour for your water
- Flavoured teas are a great alternative to coffee. They are warm and comforting, smell great and taste delicious! Try drinking them without sugar, or add a small swirl of honey.
Sitting idle all day contributes to a sedentary lifestyle and that feeling of sluggishness and fatigue. Instead of dialing someone’s extension, take a walk to their desk and chat instead. On days when the weather is nice, have “walking meetings” to be both productive at work and improve your mood with better blood flow and circulation. If you drive to work, park a little further away so you can get a walk and then take the stairs when you can. If you take transit, try getting off a stop earlier. Moving your body has all kinds of health benefits. In terms of our nutrition, the increased blood flow to our organs resulting from physical activity can help improve our digestion and regularity!
How and WHY start a workplace wellness program?
Workplace wellness isn’t just a buzzword to pay attention to for it’s growing popularity, it’s an impactful strategy used by HR departments and business owners for improving our overall well-being. For employers, working with dietitians is cost-effective. Improving nutrition wellness at work can reduce health-related lost productivity by up to 64% (3). Working with a dietitian can improve chronic conditions like high blood pressure, it can also help reduce your risk of developing type 2 Diabetes by up to 70% and help you achieve and maintain healthy body weight (3).
Employee wellness is about your health and overall well-being, which both boosts your job satisfaction and productivity. Advocate at your workplace to develop a dedicated workplace wellness committee that can implement programming and workshops. For example, a lunch and learn seminar delivered by Registered Dietitians would allow you to enjoy a delicious and healthy meal while learning about diet myths, meal planning and more! Because we all eat, nutrition is a great topic for workplace wellness!
Click here https://www.nutriprocan.ca/seminars/ to see our seminar topics!