Employees spend nearly half or a little more of their day in the office. Due to the lack of time or in a rush to meet the deadlines, healthy and nutritious meal/food is replaced by unhealthy munching or meals are skipped altogether. What you eat at your workplace has a great impact on your health and your productivity. Many of you who may follow healthy eating habits at home, give way to speed and convenience when it comes to the food choices that are made, often under pressure, during working hours.
Also, excessive caffeine is the lubricant of a workplace. Tiredness and exhaustion pushes people to caffeine often. Caffeine helps in remaining alert and improving the mood. However, this is short term and as soon as the effect wears off it has a negative impact on the mood. Caffeine also triggers adrenaline which puts your body in a hyper aroused state where your emotions outrun your behavior. Studies have shown that caffeine from up to four cups of coffee a day can cause dependence.
Calories and nutrients which are consumed at work count. A lot of emphasis needs to be put on workplace nutrition. Brain is functioning constantly and in order to keep your mind sharp and focused certain foods need to make the cut to your desk and in your stomach
Bananas: They are the secret weapons in your lunchbox. Easily available, rich in potassium that helps up the concentration levels this fruit helps in keeping the brain energized and alert during the crucial working hours.
Green Tea: Instead of rushing in for the cuppa coffee at intervals to keep you alert you can go in for the green tea. Why? Because it is a great alternative to coffee which has higher levels of caffeine. A cup of green tea has much lower amount of caffeine than a regular cup of coffee keeping your caffeine levels under check. Alternatively, a decaffeinated cup of green tea can just as keep you fresh with it’s refreshing taste and aroma.
Seeds: Seeds are rich in many micronutrients that are important for brain function. Carry a small tiffin with roasted seeds and enjoy as mid meal snacks.
Nuts and Dried Fruits: Nuts contain a host of brain-boosting nutrients, including vitamin E, healthy fats and plant compounds. When the hunger strikes, munch on almonds, walnuts and pistachios instead of chips. And when you get sweet cravings, bite on a date or anjeer instead of chocolates. Peanut chikki, til chikki and date rolls are good options too (in restricted amounts of course!).
Whole grains: Lunch and snacks can include rotis, brown rice, parathas, whole meal breads which are loaded with fiber, Vitamin E, B complex vitamins along with other nutrients that power the brain. They also help in keep the blood sugar levels in check and prevent unnecessary bingeing of unhealthy foods when hunger strikes.
Protein foods: A protein food at lunch like a dal, beans or a piece of chicken promotes alertness and also keeps you feeling full for a longer time.
Leafy greens: The B vitamins and folate from the leafy greens are food for your brain. So, make sure you pack them for lunch as vegetables or in salads.
Beetroot: They have natural nitrates which actually boost blood flow to the brain and helps with mental performance. Make a salad from grated beetroot and add carrots in it as well. Colourful yet healthy and tasty.
Avocadoes: They contain vitamin K and folate which helps in improving cognitive function, especially both memory and concentration. Mash the avocado and mix it with onion, tomatoes, lime juice and coriander to make a healthy spread for you sandwich. Use this instead of cheese or cream spreads. Alternatively, add them to the salads.
These are some of the foods that you can include in your daily diet and should be a part of your lunch at the workplace. Alternatively, companies should focus on making healthy eating choices accessible and affordable in the canteen/cafeteria. Cafeteria menus can be developed together with dietitians in Mumbai or nutritionist in Mumbai through their corporate wellness program and healthy options can be incorporated in the canteen/cafeterias. The benefits to businesses that care about healthy nutrition are far-reaching.