Healthy Eating at Work
Rushing out the door every morning might mean you don’t always have the time to prepare an elaborate meal, but good nutrition will repay you with the energy needed for the day’s demands. In honour of March as Nutrition Month, here are a few easy and convenient ideas to amp up the nutrients in your daily routine.
--If you’re organized enough to make food beforehand, but lack time to eat at home, prepare hardboiled eggs in advance and grab a couple, along with a banana or apple, on the way out the door.
--One breakfast to keep at work is instant oatmeal packets (the unflavoured kind will have the least sugar).
--For a new recipe to try, the Caprese Muffin Tin Frittata (recipe at Canada’s Food Guide) is a savoury dish that combines eggs and vegetables. You can make a bunch on the weekend, freeze them, then take one out every morning.
--Crave the convenience of a breakfast sandwich from the drive-through? In general, try to order one of the smaller sandwiches on the menu (especially if it comes with whole wheat), which will have lower levels of fat and sodium.
--If you need to quickly put together a lunch before leaving home in the morning, it doesn’t get much faster than a sandwich. Look for whole-grain bread or wraps, a protein like leftover sliced steak or cheddar cheese, lettuce and a low-fat flavouring like mustard instead of mayonnaise or butter. For extra nutrients, bring carrot and celery sticks, and a piece of fruit.
--If you have a little more time, you could prepare a hearty salad with protein. Your salads can include all kinds of healthy ingredients that excite your imagination and give you energy for the afternoon, including meat, nuts, seeds, canned chickpeas, cheese, eggs, leafy greens, grains and fruit. For inspiration, look to the Bulgur, Chickpea and Tomato Pilaf (recipe at Unlock Food). A small cooler bag or ice pack can help to keep fresh foods cold if there’s no fridge or kitchen at work.
--A standby to keep stored in a desk drawer or locker for those “forgot your lunch” days is a canned soup. But many contain high amounts of salt, so look for ones that are lower in sodium, like Amy’s Organic Black Bean Vegetable Soup and Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom No Salt Added.
--Need to grab something from a fast-food place while you’re running errands at noon? Check out what the restaurant offers in terms of a small regular burger, which can offer protein plus delicious taste.
-- Choose snacks that combine at least two different types of foods. It’s a way to boost your energy and leave you feeling satisfied longer. Some examples are: pita with hummus, nuts with fresh fruit, celery and peanut butter, and whole-grain crackers with lower-fat, lower-sodium cheese.
--If you stash food at work, some healthy choices include whole grain crackers, canned tuna, peanut butter or almond butter, nuts and seeds, and dried fruit.
--If you like to cook on the weekend in order to enjoy later in the week, Perfect Pumpkin Granola (recipe at Unlock Food) will pack well and can be enjoyed with yogurt or on its own.
Hot and cold beverages
--Your local independent coffee shop offers some healthy menu choices for your daily drink. Consider Americanos, flat whites, iced herbal tea (with no sugar), and cold brew coffee that lets you control the amount of sweetener added.
--If you prepare your own coffee break beverages at work, try plain coffee with a sprinkle of cinnamon, water flavoured with fruit or fresh herbs, along with unsweetened herbal teas, either hot or over ice.
You spend hours working hard, so take a few minutes to give your body the nutrition it needs to keep going strong. Think of it as time invested in your health, which is a very important asset indeed.