Our working hours take up a considerable proportion of our day which means that most of us will be eating one or two meals a day at work as well as any snacks. It can be so tempting to overindulge at work with those cakes that someone has made for a birthday or biscuits that have been brought back from a colleagues holiday. Which is why it is so important to be prepared and be savvy with what we eat at work. Even if you find you are buying your food as you go as opposed to bringing it in from home, there are still plenty of smart choices available.
Let us start at the beginning, with breakfast. Such a diverse meal, some prefer sweet whilst others prefer savoury, some prefer hot whilst others prefer cold. There are so many different options available for us that not having breakfast shouldn’t be an option. Start your day as you wish to go on whether that is with a bowl of porridge topped with nuts, fruit, seeds or compote; eggs on wholegrain toast, maybe even with an addition of spinach or avocado; a no or low added sugar breakfast cereal (think Shredded Wheat, muesli, wheat biscuits) and fortified with vitamins and minerals; a small glass of a 100% fruit/veg smoothie or juice; overnight oats - oats soaked in milk and yogurt with grated apple and cinnamon sprinkled on top; or unsweetened peanut butter on brown toast.
For the early risers who have to be up and out the door in the morning, it is okay if you don’t have breakfast before you leave the house, instead make time for munching on breakfast during your commute or once you are at work, these days breakfast at work is a norm.
Throughout the morning is when a lot of us are most productive and with our brains being so active it is important to stay hydrated. To achieve the recommended 1.6 litres per day and 2 litres per day of fluids for women and men respectively, this is not restricted to water only, it includes milk, fruit squashes (watch out for sugar content), herbal teas and caffeine containing beverages (as long as you do not exceed 2-3 cups then the caffeine will not have a diuretic effect).
As for the mid-morning snack attack, snacking is an important part of keeping our energy levels up throughout the working day. So why not snack on fruit, natural yogurt, vegetable sticks (add some hummus if you like), rice cakes, a small pack/handful of unsalted nuts mixed with dried fruit or even a boiled egg.
When the main event arrives, lunchtime, it is important that we refuel ourselves in the most nutritious way, ready for the afternoon. This means including some protein in our lunch, whether it be meat, fish, eggs, beans or tofu, as this will help keep the hunger at bay throughout the afternoon. Carbohydrates are also a key component to our lunch and if you can make them wholegrain (brown rice, wholewheat pasta, brown bread, quinoa etc) that’s even better as then the energy from these carbohydrates will be released gradually over the course of the afternoon. And last but by no means least there’s the inclusion of the all-important vegetables, whether they are frozen, roasted, tinned, fresh, raw they all do wonders for our bodies.
Here are a few nutritious lunch ideas that can be easily adapted to suit your own preferences:
- Flaked mackerel with spinach, wholewheat couscous and tomato salsa
- Egg salad sandwich, with a little mayo on brown bread
- Jacket potato with baked beans or tuna and a side salad
- Wholegrain bagel with salmon, cream cheese, cucumber
- Chicken with wholewheat pasta or sweet potato and steamed veggies
- Wholewheat wrap with houmous and roasted vegetables
- Vegetable based soup with wholegrain bread roll
- Quinoa mixed with roasted vegetables and topped with feta
There are so many options out there for those meals consumed over the course of the working day, it is just a case of finding the options that work for you and that get you excited about mealtimes. Take a look at our Recipes tab to discover a wide array of enticing dishes that could become part of your working day.