We call them finicky. In fact, their bigger-than-workbag lunch bag is a common joke. Not that we don’t dig in to their tuck but we will still make an odd comment about their fastidiousness, from the neatly devised five small meals a day to the stacking lunchboxes. But this is the kind of attitude nutritionist and author Rujuta Diwekar approves of. “The biggest hindrance to healthy eating at the workplace is us, we ourselves,” laments the best-selling author of Don’t Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight and women and The Weight Loss Tamasha. According to diwekar, people spend hours on planning what to wear to work but not what they would eat.
Her advice: Plan for at least three meals before you leave home. Invest in five lunchboxes medium to small size and plan your day ahead in terms of what you eat with the biggest box carrying your lunch and the smallest, nuts and raisins. “Plus most people leave home without a breakfast — a cardinal dietary sin,” she adds. According to nutritionists, unhealthy eating is an occupational hazard.
Delhi-based health and wellness consultant Dr Shikha Sharma says it’s the time spent in the office that can make or break a diet. “Your eating profile is determined by your workplace. After all, you spend nearly 90% of your time there,” she says. Dr Sharma adds that employees mainly starve themselves the whole day and then eat one big meal, drink one too many cups of coffee or tea and consider cookies and biscuits as inevitable part of meetings.
Chew the Fat
Reaching an eating equilibrium at work is not easy. You have to try doubly hard: there are temptations like unhealthy snacking counters, free coffee vending machines; and there are triggers, read work stress. “Most munching and bingeing is a stress reaction,” says clinical wellness specialist and author of the current bestseller, The Four-Week Countdown Diet, Namita Jain. According to her, the quick indulgences at work – coffee, tea, samosas, chips is considered a stress buster by employees. And soon becomes a habit.
“Eating with awareness always helps,” Jain adds. She advises to be clear on why you are eating: is it a stress reaction or are you actually hungry? “Staying in the moment helps curb bingeing,” she adds.
Diwekar says maybe employees should suggest the HR to arrange for better, healthier tuck in the cafeteria. “Most organisations are now sensitive to the demands of their employees, but they have to take the initiative too,” she says. It’s the personal initiative to eat healthy that Diwekar finds perplexing.
Hungry for something?
Something sweet: Fruit yoghurt, fresh fruit, soy milk, granola bars
Something crunchy: Rice cakes, khakra/papad, baked chips, whole grain crackers with cheese, popcorn, trail mix with unsalted nuts and seeds
Something to drink : Water, naariyal paani, lemonade, green/herbal tea, shikanji.
Nuts are high in calories and fat, but restrict to a handful. Steer clear of cashews. Munch on walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds and raisins. They provide healthy fats & fibre.
Fructose in fruits, allows for steady blood sugar levels, works at keeping acidity and coffee cravings at bay. An apple also counters sleepiness.
Roasted Peanuts or Chana
They contain essential fatty acids (Omega 3, 6, 9) to improve your metabolism, help in balancing hormones & increasing good cholesterol (HDL).
Fruit Yoghurt and Cheese
Contain fatty acids, calcium and protein. They also burn stubborn fat and keep skin supple. Make yoghurt at home by hanging curd in a muslin cloth.
Cottage Cheese and Veggies
Cottage cheese is a protein powerhouse. Combine it with carrots (or other vegetables such as tomatoes, broccoli etc.) for a light, balanced snack.
Soft or hard boiled egg provide a protein punch, not to mention Vitamin A and lutein, for only 75 calories and 5 g of fat each. Want to be healthier? Skip the yolk.