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The 6 Best Tips to Sustain a Healthy Diet at Work

Developing a healthy diet while at work doesn’t have to be complicated
By: Amanda McDonald
August 15th, 2017

Most of us know the importance of a nutritious, balanced diet. We’re taught this from an early age through food pyramids, colorful diagrams, and lessons from parents and teachers. Yet 80% of Americans fail to eat the recommended amount of daily fruits and vegetables, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.1

We all have excuses as to why we don’t eat healthily. No doubt, it can be particularly challenging for busy, working adults who need to balance work, family life, staying fit, and achieving success on top of eating right.

However, taking small steps to create healthy eating habits can lead to a lifestyle that includes a nutritious diet.

6 Easy, Smart Diet Tips for Busy People

Drink more water

Designate a water bottle or a large cup for your desk. It’s easy. Turn the tap on and get drinking!

Drinking more water is perhaps the easiest healthy habit there is. In short, water is an essential element that helps our bodies eliminate toxins, metabolize fat, and is imperative for nearly every bodily function.2

Going forward, remember to keep in mind your daily water intake should be adjusted according to your health, your regular physical activity, and age. Drink half of your body weight in ounces each day to get the recommended daily water intake. For example, a person who weighs 180 pounds should drink at least 90 ounces of water each day as a baseline.

Keep it simple

Create a lunchbox full of color with your favorite fruits and veggies from the produce section!

As an initial step to keeping a healthy diet simple, forget about labels for a minute and shop in the produce section of your favorite grocery store. Plenty of research suggests eating more fruits and vegetables can help prevent chronic diseases and may even help protect against certain cancers.3

While it can be easy to complicate things, especially when we’re overloaded with information about all the necessary things you need to do to lead a healthy lifestyle, just remember the importance of fresh foods.

Prepare your own meals

Meal preparation can be a daunting and time-consuming task, but it can save you time. There are also some other amazing benefits to making meal prep a habit.

One benefit of preparing your meals is stress reduction. For example, meal prep can help eliminate the stress of making last-minute eating decisions. That means in addition to knowing exactly what you’re eating, since you’ve prepared the meals yourself, you’re boosting your immunity, improving your mood, and prolonging your life4 as a result of reducing stress.

If you’re new to meal preparation, pick a day that works for you and set aside time to prepare your weekly lunches. If needed, start doing this every other week. Eventually, dedicate time in your schedule to meal prep every week.

Eat with your colleagues

Research says eating together helps teams succeed together. It gives us a reason to take a break from our regular workspace and focus on something else.

Food has always been something that brings people together. Bonding with your team over lunch is one way to strengthen working relationships and provides opportunities for us to get to know our colleagues on a more personal level.

Fostering positive workplace interactions is vital to an organization’s success considering two-thirds of employees experiencing poor workplace interactions report a decline in overall performance.5

Stick to a routine

Start making one change at a time. Use the good, better, best model, and then add another change to your eating habits.

You can do this by taking advantage of the simple changes you can easily turn into long-term habits. Keep in mind it typically takes up to three or more months to develop a habit and quite a bit of willpower.

Whether that habit is eating a piece of fruit for lunch of drinking a glass of water before you pour your first cup of coffee, determine what is best for you and what will work for your lifestyle.

As mentioned, use these tips to start making small changes to your daily eating habits, even if it’s only one at a time. Over time, continue including additional healthy habits to help improve your lifestyle!

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  1. Moore, L. V. & Thompson, F. E. (2015). Adults meeting fruit and vegetable intake recommendations – United States, 2013. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 64(26), 709-713.
  2. The role of water in dieting. (nd). APEC Water – Water Health, Retrieved from http://www.freedrinkingwater.com/water_health/health1/1-the-role-of-water-dieting.htm
  3. Denn, S. (2016). Discover the health benefits of produce. Eat Right Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Retrieved from: http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/nutrition/dietary-guidelines-and-myplate/discover-the-health-benefits-of-produce
  4. Eliza, I. (2011). Why stress management is so important for your health. Mind Body Green. Retrieved from https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-2557/Why-Stress-Management-Is-So-Important-for-Your-Health.html
  5. Porath, C. & Pearson, C. (2013). The price of incivility. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2013/01/the-price-of-incivility
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