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About 84% of the Indian workforce suffers from chronic stress for multiple reasons. The number is 89% for professionals of age 35-49 years. These numbers are growing every year. (Source: The Economic Times)
Symptoms of diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and thyroid-related problems are among the top Non-Communicable diseases (NCDs) experienced by the working population of India. Of all deaths occurring in the country, 61% are due to lifestyle or NCDs. However, these are preventable by simple changes in diet and lifestyle.
This is the reality of the modern-day workplace. For most of us, a 40-hour workweek feels inadequate and work keeps piling up. All this work-related stress leads us into an "autopilot mode" where we are seldom mindful of what our body is going through. Binging on unhealthy snacks is one of the several side effects of such a situation.
All these excess calories combined with physical inactivity are turning into extra kilos and leading to all sorts of problems for us. But, a lot of us already know all this. Then why are we still behind? How important is it to eat healthy at work? And how difficult is it? Time to find some answers to all these questions.
Healthy eating is extremely important for our well-being whether it is at home or at work. Our food consumption impacts our mood, energy, stamina levels, cognitive thinking ability, and morale. An average person living in an urban area goes through 1-2 hours of commute every day. After staying for 9 hours at the office, he/she has to split his/her time, physical energy, and mental capacity between cooking, cleaning, managing household activities, and living a quality life with the family. Unfortunately, such a lifestyle costs us our health and well-being, which shouldn’t be the case.
“There is no work life, social life, or family life. It’s all one life.”
Healthy eating at the workplace can be our first step to helping ourselves. A well-balanced, nourishing meal, can keep our energy maintained throughout the day. Healthy eating can also help us improve our performance and productivity at the workplace. All of these can increase overall leisure time while making our offices a lot more enjoyable.
A healthy diet doesn’t have to be difficult. Given below are 6 tips you can follow to maintain a healthy diet at the office.
6 tips to Eat Healthy at the workplace
i) Plan & meal prep for the entire week in one go - There are many simple and useful options for meal prep. Breakfast smoothies are an easy option, where the ingredients can be set aside in batches. Parfait, yoghurt, granola, or salads can be made ahead of time and refrigerated.
ii) Keep most of the recipes simple - Usually cooking is the last thing we would want to do after a long busy day. That doesn’t have to be the case. Plan most of your recipes with simple, minimal ingredients. If not, cook in large batches and refrigerate the food, which you can simply reheat and eat. Even though this is not the most ideal option, it can save you a great deal of trouble when trying to stay healthy.
As someone wisely said, “Well-planned is half the job done.”
i) The best way to consume water is to drink it whenever you feel thirsty
ii) Drink water before your meals, especially when you feel that extra hunger
iii) Also consume water when you feel food cravings (especially during sugar cravings)
iv) Consume soups, fruits, and vegetables frequently. This is another yummy and easy way to stay hydrated.
Caution: Avoid soft drinks and caffeinated drinks. Soft drinks contain 10-12 grams of sugar in a 100 ml drink, which can be counterproductive for a healthy eater. Similarly, caffeine can leave you drowsy after a certain number of hours and can have other side effects when consumed in excess.
Caution: Nuts and seeds are high in calories. While they are highly nutritious, consuming them in moderation can keep calories in check.
“To err is human” - Alexander Pope
i) Can help you distinguish between cravings and hunger.
ii) Can enhance your sensory experience of eating.
iii) Can help you maintain weight.
iv) Can help you control yourself despite confusing environmental cues (e.g. the tempting aroma of cakes or fried food).
Adopting a lifestyle of healthy eating at the office can be extremely beneficial in this day and age. This can also help us look forward to our time at the workplace.
To start eating healthy, plan ahead and plan well. Start from where you are right now. Understand and clearly list your health goals. Put adequate time into simplifying meal prepping. Eat well-balanced meals, snack healthy, and stay hydrated. Maintain a mindful approach as you do all these. The rewards of eating healthy at the workplace will be rich, and lasting.
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