Office Dining – Getting it Right

For many of us, we spend a great deal of our week at work, and over half of our meals are consumed at the office.  There are some common workplace food traps such as the frequent coffee runs, the mid-afternoon sweet cravings, weekly office celebrations and limited healthy food options available.  Try these few office nutrition tips on how to eat better to work better, whilst also saving money.

The vibrant coffee culture of the workplace is certainly alive and well, with some workplaces having in-office coffee cart or café.  Enjoy your regular size morning coffee (bypass the high sugar syrups) and swap over to a green tea from mid-afternoon.  Team up your morning coffee with your own snack that contains some protein to help you feel satisfied and prevent the energy slump or sweet craving at 3 o’clock.  A nourishing snack could be wholegrain crackers with avocado or cheese, a handful of nuts or nut bar, bliss ball or wholegrain crispbread with nut butter and sliced fig.  Jar snacks are also a favourite – try a layered yoghurt, granola and berries jar, a jar with spoon of hommus in the base, topped with sticks of raw carrot, capsicum, green beans and snow peas.

Stay well hydrated during the day by having an insulated water bottle at your desk, and filling it up regularly.  A quick walk to the bubbler, a three minute walk around the office, or even just standing up at your desk, has been shown to have benefits with stabilising blood glucose levels.  Choose to move more during the day (lunch walk, use stairs instead of lift, stand up when talking on the phone).

Be mindful of the office sugar traps that beckon – staff room biscuit barrel, frequent birthday cake celebrations or fund-raiser chocolates.  A clever office solution could be a monthly birthday celebration lunch where everybody brings a nutritious side to accompany some catered BBQ chicken pieces or office BBQ. Your office could order a weekly fruit box delivery for the staff room, or serve up a platter of vegetable crudites, hommus, olives and wholegrain crackers at your next staff meeting.  Have some convenient desk drawer snacks such as roasted chickpeas or fava beans, tins of tuna, brown rice snacks and some single-serve containers of raw nuts.

You can save $80 a week if you TYO (take your own) lunch to work.  Make your own tasty nourish bowl/container with combinations of some lean protein (salmon, tuna, lentils, skinless chicken or turkey) and wholegrain carbohydrates (brown rice, wholemeal pasta, freekah, quinoa) or roasted sweet potato or corn.  Ensure at least half of your container has at least five coloured vegetables and don’t forget to dress with a home-made extra virgin olive dressing.  This will help you absorb more of your vitamins and antioxidants from the delicious vegetables.  If you have a reliable and like-tasting workmate, buddy up with them to alternate the prepping of the lunch meals.  Step away from your computer and enjoy your lunch outdoors to refresh and reset.

TYO and jar snacks