By Lethbridge Herald on March 9, 2015.
We spend a lot of time at work — and a lot of that time is spent sitting behind a desk.
It isn’t the perfect recipe for health, but with a few adjustments, employees can get on track for a healthy lifestyle.
That’s part of the message by Alberta Health Services during Nutrition Month. Diane Britton, registered dietitian, Population and Public Health Nutrition Services, Alberta Health Services, said healthy eating at work is the focus for this year’s campaign.
“What’s important is 60 per cent of our waking hours are spent at work, and people have to have at least one meal at work,” said Britton, who added making that meal a healthy one is key, especially for those who do shift work, which studies have shown can have negative health impacts, such as obesity and increased risk for diabetes.
Britton said it all starts with breakfast to give you that boost of energy in the morning, as something simple like oatmeal and berries with a glass of milk can kickstart your day. However, healthy eating needs to continue throughout the workday, she added,
“Plan ahead and pack healthy foods from home,” said Britton, adding AHS is promoting healthy lunches like the tabbouleh with barley and chickpeas recipe, touted as a tasty and exotic dish full of herbs and spices for flavour, instead of salt.
However, healthy meals are only part of the equation. The dietitian suggested water intake is also key.
“Drink water throughout the day,” said Britton. Adults need 9-12 cups of fluid a day, and if water is simply too boring for your palate, she suggested adding a slice of lemon or orange to give your water a little flavour boost.
Limiting fruit or vegetable juice to half a cup a day is also recommended, but more important is limitations must be put on unhealthy drinks.
“The big one we want to watch is limit beverages that are high in calories and low in nutrients,” said Britton, who mentioned coffee intake must also be monitored. She suggested 500-750 millilitres (or about 400 milligrams of caffeine) should be your limit. “Caffeine is a mild stimulant, and too much can be harmful.”
Eating and drinking right will not only generate positive health impacts, but will also improve performance at work, she added, especially helping employees get through that time of the day when fatigue sets in.
Again, Britton said proper hydration can keep workers alert, along with healthy snacks throughout the day like vegetables, humus, whole-grain crackers, fruit or yogurt.
“You can also go for brisk 10-minute walks,” said Britton, to help increase your energy levels. She added interacting with fellow employees, rather than sitting in front of your screen all day, will also keep you energized.
And while eating right and staying active are key, Britton said it’s also important to get enough sleep. Adults need seven to nine hours a night.
For more information, visit http://www.healthyeatingstartshere.ca which includes a number of recipes, and a link to the Nutrition Month 2015 website.
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