Healthy eating at work - Business Works

Eating healthily at work

Healthy eating

The Christmas festivities are over and the New Year’s resolutions made. But just how easy is it to stick with those “Lose Weight” or “Eat More Healthily” resolutions when you lead a busy lifestyle? The following tips are designed to help you incorporate a healthy diet into a busy working schedule.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day

Most people are running on empty first thing in the morning, so a healthy breakfast is vital to kick-start your metabolism and get your energy levels back up again. A good breakfast can also help stave off hunger pangs and stop you from snacking on unhealthy foods during the morning. Try to make time for breakfast before leaving the house and opt for slow-release wholegrain carbohydrates to fill you up – for example of bowl of porridge or wholemeal toast with a poached egg. If you haven’t got time to eat breakfast before you leave the house, try keeping a packet of cereal and a bowl of fruit on your desk and fill up on these whilst checking your e-mails in the morning.

Healthy eating

Dining ‘Aldesko’

« it can be difficult to eat well when you are busy »

It can be difficult to eat well when you are busy, but try to eat regularly as this helps to keep energy levels up and will enable you to concentrate in the afternoon and work productively. Skipping lunch means missing out on important nutrients, so make time to eat, even if that means a sandwich at your desk. At lunch time opt for something light – a sandwich made with wholemeal bread and low-fat fillings such as tuna, chicken, cottage cheese or prawns. Sandwiches that have salad in them will help you on your way to one of your ‘5-a-day’, but watch out for shop-bought sandwiches and salads that can be high in calories, fat and salt. Try to choose lower calorie options, for example by choosing sandwiches made with low fat mayonnaise, and check the labels on soups and sandwiches for their salt content; 75% of the salt we eat is from the food we buy. Some chopped up vegetables and a piece of fruit at lunch mean you’re well on your way to your ‘5-a-day’!

Snack Attack

Snacking can be a good way of keeping your energy levels up, but it can also be a route to eating more calories than you need, and therefore weight gain. Try to limit the amount of high fat, high sugar snacks you eat, such as biscuits and cakes, and keep some healthy snacks to hand, including fresh or dried fruit, carrot or celery sticks, nuts and seeds. This should prevent you from popping to the local supermarket for muffins, sausage rolls and pasties. If you can’t manage without your sugar fix in the afternoon, opt for a banana or wholegrain cereal bar that will release energy slowly and satisfy a sweet tooth. If that’s not enough to keep you going, try a low-fat yogurt, a smoothie or some hummus and crackers.

Office Olympics

« keeping active doesn’t necessarily mean you have to join a gym »

Keeping active can be hard if you have an office based job and limited time for the gym. Ditch the internal e-mail and telephone system in favour of walking across the office to speak with colleagues, and use the stairs rather than the lift in the office, even if it is for half of the flights! If walking or cycling to work is not an option, get off the bus or underground one stop early, or park as far away from the office as possible, so that you have a bit of a walk. Adults are recommended to exercise for 30 minutes at least 5 times a week at moderate intensity, so that means doing something that gets you hot under the collar and raises your heart rate. Keeping active doesn’t necessarily mean you have to join a gym though - why not consider setting up a group to go jogging in the lunch hour, or a company squash tournament? Getting out and about at lunch time not only helps to clear your head, but also exposes your skin to the sunlight our bodies need to manufacture vitamin D.

Home and Away

Healthy eating

Maintaining a healthy routine is often hard when you travel for work and regularly stay in hotels. Endeavor to eat in a similar manner to home, having three regular meals a day and taking plenty of exercise. Buffet style breakfasts in hotels can be tempting, but avoid going for the cooked breakfast or sweet pastries everyday. Most hotels provide fruit salad, low-fat yogurt and wholemeal toast, so fill up on these instead. Entertaining clients and dining in restaurants makes it easy to overeat. Think carefully about what you order, especially if you’re likely to consume a lot of calories from alcohol during the meal. Salads, grilled fish, vegetable-based dishes and pasta made with tomato rather than cheese-based sauces tend to be lower calorie options. If your meal doesn't come with vegetables, order some as a side dish, and if your guests want to stay for dessert choose one made with fruit!

On Air

Flying places demands on the body and is often tiring, but planning your meals well can help to ease the pressure. Make sure you have a good meal before you leave home, so that you’re not reliant on high fat, high sugar snacks at the airport. During the flight you’ll probably spend most of the time sitting down so your calorie requirement won’t be high. Many airlines now offer lighter meals so remember to request these if possible. Flying can make you dehydrated, which can contribute to deep vein thrombosis, so make sure you drink plenty of water during your flight and avoid excessive consumption of alcohol.

Tea for two

Without enough water our bodies cannot function properly so it’s vital to drink plenty of fluids. You should aim to drink about 6 to 8 glasses (1.2 litres) of water, or other fluids, every day to prevent dehydration. This can include drinks like squash, milk and fruit juices. It’s fine to have tea and coffee, but also try to drink plenty of water as it’s vital for flushing toxins out of the body. When it comes to alcohol there is nothing wrong with the occasional drink, but drinking too much can cause problems. Women can drink up to 2 to 3 units of alcohol a day and men up to 3 to 4 units a day, without significant risk to health. A unit is half a pint of standard strength (3 to 5% ABV) beer, lager or cider, or a pub measure of spirit. A glass of wine is about 2 units. Remember though that alcohol is also high in calories, so cutting down could help with weight control.

Need to know more?

For more information on eating well check out and

Or contact the British Nutrition Foundation at 52-54 High Holborn, London WC1V 6RQ.
Tel: 020-7404 6504
e-mail: Anna Denny on

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