Do you feel sluggish or tired at work? Taking simple steps throughout the day to make healthier food choices can boost your mood and productivity.
In fact, employees who eat healthy all day long are 25 percent more likely to have higher job performance, according to the Health Enhancement Research Organization. And the more fruits and vegetables employees consume throughout the day, the happier, more engaged and more creative they are, according to a 2015 study by the British Journal of Health Psychology.
The workplace can be rife with unhealthy foods — from the bowl of candy at the front desk to the box of doughnuts in the kitchen to the cake at a coworker’s baby shower. But have no fear, here are three simple steps for eating healthier while on the job.
Find healthy food swaps
When you’re in need of a midday treat, try finding healthy alternatives to unhealthy snack foods. When you’re craving something salty, instead of reaching for a bag of chips, try veggie or fruit chips, plain popcorn or a handful of nuts. When you can’t resist diving into the candy bowl, choose dark chocolate, which lowers blood pressure and is high in antioxidants that fight heart disease, according to WebMD.
Making healthy food choices doesn’t stop at the food you eat; what we drink throughout the day has a huge impact on our health. Soda is the biggest source of calories in the American diet, representing seven percent of our calorie intake, and has no nutritional value, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Instead of cracking open a can of pop, drink a glass of water with lemon or a flavored seltzer water to keep you hydrated and energized. If you’re feeling extra sleepy, opt for a cup of green tea, which contains a small amount of caffeine.
Looking for more options? Try these easy swaps for all of your favorite junk foods.
Bring your own food
The key to making healthy choices is to make healthy eating the easiest option. Plan ahead by packing breakfast, lunch and snacks and bringing a water bottle from home to encourage you to eat well and stay hydrated throughout the day. When Americans eat out, they consume about 200 more calories a day, as well as more fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium, than they do when they eat homemade meals according to a study by the University of Illinois. Are you a lunch regular at a nearby restaurant? Try recreating your favorite dish at home. From whole grain sandwiches to colorful salads and veggie-packed rice bowls, the possibilities are endless.
Looking for more healthy lunch ideas? Try out new recipes.
Make changes in your office
Many offices provide snacks and vending, but how healthy are the options you’re being provided? If your kitchen is stocked with foods high in fats, sugars and salt, talk to your building management about healthier options. You can get coworkers on board by talking to them about the benefits of eating well at the office and finding out what types of foods they would like to have available.
In Prince George’s County, Maryland, libraries and government buildings are now required to provide healthy vending options that are low in fat, sodium and sugar. This is quickly becoming a trend as the county is the fourth jurisdiction in Maryland to adopt these measures, according to The Washington Post.
Eating well at the office doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Check out more simple tips on bringing healthy options to your workplace and reap the benefits.
What are your healthy eating tips? Share your ideas in the comments.