By Rose Reisman

- Meals outside home can be the most harmful to our health especially because it’s easy to make a poor food choice. Making good food choices at work is essential to your health as most of spend at least 8 hours of our day at work. Low energy levels which lead to low productivity levels can be caused by the use of vending machines for snacks, food courts, and street vendors.

Facts
• With less energy and mental power productivity is reduced by 20%
• 30% of the workplace skip breakfast – number one energy meal for morning after long period of fasting, you need breakfast to kick start your metabolism
• Fatigue by late morning leads to sweet high caloric snacks – small lunch – high caloric mid day snack – over eating at night and a negative eating cycle
• Irregular eating habits lead to blood sugar fluctuations which cause cravings and can ultimately have a negative effect on energy levels
• Workplace is one of the best environment to promote healthy eating habits
• Healthy eating can reduce risk of obesity, diabetes type 2, heart disease

Solution 
• Most people select immediate gratification when they are hungry-usually doesn’t include healthiest foods
• Nutrient density refers to the amount of nutrients for the given volume of food. Nutrient-dense foods have lots of nutrients, generally with fewer calories.
• Best example: cup of carrots compared to 4 crackers – both 50 calories – carrots loaded with nutrients / crackers = energy dense
• Nutrient dense keep you full longer
• Nutrient dense foods = Fruits, vegetables / protein / low fat dairy
• Energy-dense foods have more calories for the volume of food and generally fewer nutrients
• Energy dense foods = sugar, white flour products, highly processed or packaged foods, junk foods

Benefits of Better Eating 
• Consume more vitamins and minerals and less fat and cholesterol during the day, which reduces the risk of heart disease
• Better concentration and greater productivity throughout the morning.
• Helps to control weight by increasing the metabolism
• Increased strength and endurance for both work and home activities

General Tips 
• Balance four food groups – more you combine – more full and satisfied you are
• Protein/Carb is a great combination for energy and nutrients. Ex: pasta and chicken or sandwich with meat, chicken, cheese.
• Eat every 3 hours – nutrient dense foods – prevents fatigue and keeps you mentally alert

Workplace Suggestions 

• Give information to employees on healthy living from Canada’ food guide.
• Bring in experts to discuss topics such as reading food labels
• Refrigerator and microwave for “brown bag” meals and snacks
• Encourage cafeteria to increase healthy choices
• Encourage exercise and give access to gyms
• Office Meetings – offer healthier choices, so workers can incorporate healthier alternatives with regular favorites like muffins.


ROSE REISMAN
is an entrepreneur whose strength lies in recognizing the ever-changing needs of the wellness marketplace. She is an author, health and wellness consultant, caterer, public speaker, media personality, and mother of four children. For more articles like this one, please visit http://www.artoflivingwell.ca/



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