Managing meals at work

PUNCH Newspaper

Eating healthy when you have a hectic schedule can be challenging, but not impossible, ADEMOLA ALAWIYE writes

Sometimes busy workers find it difficult to eat well as a result of their schedule but experts say allocating a few minutes will do a lot of good. Time is valuable to every business-minded individual. This is regardless of whether you are overworked or just overstressed. To many workers, it can easily seem overwhelming to include new habits like exercise and healthy eating in their busy schedules. Nutritionists say it is important never to neglect one’s meal even when in a hurry. They note that the hustle and bustle in many commercial cities have made a lot of workers relegate proper feeding to the background. This is not good, experts warn.

For many workers, if it isn’t fast, it doesn’t fit into their schedule and they don’t want it. As a result, they resort to food they know is bad for them in an effort to save time, and in some cases, they skip eating altogether. Eating healthy and eating fast do not have to be mutually exclusive, experts say. They note that with some basic planning, you can have healthy meals at the pace your life demands. It is therefore important to note that what’s fast and easy is rarely the healthiest. Workers must realise that foods prepared in many eateries tend to be higher in fat, sodium and sugar than homemade meals. Below are healthy feeding tips for busy entrepreneurs and employees, according to experts:

Shop wisely

Nutritionists say you should try and visit the grocery store at least once weekly. Shop smart whenever you have such opportunity as it will cut down on excessive trips to the grocery store and thus cut down on impulse purchasing when every little craving hits you. According a nutritionist, Mrs. Tayo Adebowale, busy individuals who fail to plan their meals may be harming themselves unknowingly. Adebowale says you should plan your meals for the week and advises that you only buy ingredients for those meals. Not only will this inspire healthy eating, it will also save you money, experts say.

You may consider buying dried fruits, as there are many nutritional benefits that come along with snacking on dried fruit. According to experts, dried fruits are usually high in fibre and complex carbohydrates. These nutritional values, along with the vitamins and minerals, make dried fruits suitable on-the-go snacks for busy workers. Peanuts are also vital for very busy employees or entrepreneurs because peanut snack rejuvenates fast. Peanuts are high in protein, Vitamin E, and antioxidants. Best of all, they are able to fill you up quickly.

You may also get popcorn at times. Experts say there is a new 94 per cent fat free mix that is all of the taste and almost none of the fat. Popcorn is perfect for on-the-go snacking. It is easy to eat in the car as it does not leave behind a mess. The banana is another fruit that is also good for busy workers.

Plan your meals

Just as you take time to plan things to address first when you get to work, so also you are expected to plan your meals. Experts say planning your meals for the week enables you to easily schedule them into each day of the week. If you know you want a vegetable meal on Friday, you will allow yourself the necessary time to prepare it. You can also see what meals you may need to prepare in advance. Preparing your meals and then storing them in the refrigerator or freezer will cut down on your kitchen time significantly. This will help you to eat well and save time to attend to other duties both at work and at home.

Many workers who think of eating on-the-go usually end up in filling station stacks or fast food outlets. Not to say that both of these places do not have tasty items, but if you are health conscious, steer clear, experts say. Most choices at a fast food restaurant will consume your entire allotted calorie intake for the day. Snacks such as chips that you would usually pick up at eateries are unhealthy at best.

Arrange your snacks

It is important to pre-package your snacks once you know it’s going to be a busy day at work. This may not be easy for some, but it is necessary for your health. To do this, you may buy a bag of carrots and cut them up. Stick them in individual plastic zip bags for later. On your way out, just grab one of those bags. You have a fast snack that won’t break your belt. You can do this with all kinds of healthy foods. Having your meals accessible and ready when you are, is a time saver. Put food in plastic containers, ready to just heat up. This will increase your speed and make you stay healthy while at work.

Don’t rush your meal

To many workers, this may seem contradictory to the fast lifestyle in our modern societies, but it will actually end up saving you time and is much healthier. Experts recommend slower movement as a way to feel full and to enjoy your food. Speed-eating microwave dinners may seem faster, but you will actually wind up eating more if you consume your food faster than your body can process it. According to professionals, your body recognises that you are eating, and triggers your brain to tell you that you are full. If you finish your meal before your brain can catch up, you will have to schedule more trips to the kitchen into your day. This will, of course, eat into your time which might be against your wish.


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