With BNF Healthy Eating Week 2019 drawing to a close, we've put together some of our top tips on how to stay healthy while balancing a busy career.
If you're always on the go, it can be challenging to maintain a healthy lifestyle. When our diaries are chock-a-block, we tend to fill our stomachs to the brim with junk food, quick snacks and energy drinks which can leave us feeling burnt out and in need of some TLC.
We've identified six small changes you can make to your diet, so when you walk into the office on Monday, you feel refreshed and ready to take on the week ahead.
1. Water. Water. Water.
At risk of sounding like a nagging parent, drinking plenty of water is essential to maintain a healthy body and mind.
With the human body being around 60% water, it's hardly surprising that drinking it plays a vital role in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Experts recommend drinking two litres of water each day by taking small regular sips, even when you're not thirsty. A useful tip for achieving this goal is to invest in a permanent 500ml bottle and take a mental note of how many trips you make to the water cooler throughout the day.
It's thought the health benefits of drinking water include increased metabolism for weight loss as well as improved mental performance. To make drinking water less boring, we recommend filling up some big jugs around the office, chuck in plenty of ice and maybe add some fresh mint and lemons for a refreshing kick.
2. Meal Prep
It's no secret that home cooked food is a great way to stay on top of what you're eating, but when you're working on a tight schedule, nobody wants to be crashing around the kitchen with pots and pans after a long days work.
Our solution is to dedicate a slot of time at the weekend to prepare your meals for the week. By pre-cooking food in bulk and freezing individual meals into Tupperware, not only do you save time and money but you also end up with a delicious meal that’s full of healthy ingredients.
To avoid coming home to the same dish day after day, we recommend labelling your meals so you can choose from a range of different culinary delights that’ll hopefully build up in your freezer as the weeks go by.
3. Snack Smart
When you're continuously on the go, it's easy to fall into the trap of skipping meals and refuelling on packets of crisps, biscuits or the odd chocolate bar here and there. Snacking may seem harmless, but it can lead to an unhealthy lifestyle if you're unable to track exactly what you've eaten each day.
We understand that snacking is sometimes necessary to fit with a busy schedule so we've found a few healthy alternatives which will keep you fuelled throughout the day.
- Mixed nuts. Mixed nuts offer a great balance of healthy fats, protein and fibre which helps with digestion while also reducing the risk of heart disease.
- Greek Yoghurt. Greek yoghurt is high in protein and is an excellent source of potassium and calcium which helps maintain healthy bones.
- Dark Chocolate. Dark chocolate is packed with flavanols, which are thought to reduce blood pressure and decrease the risk of heart disease. Try to get your hands on a bar that contains at least 70% cocoa.
- Hard-boiled Eggs. Hard-boiled eggs are packed with protein and essential vitamins which make them a quick and healthy snack that won't break the bank.
4. Vitamin Supplements
One of the simplest tricks for maintaining a healthy diet is to take a trip to your local health food store to find vitamin supplements that work for you.
Chat to a staff member and they’ll point you in the direction of the vitamins which are best suited to your personal needs. If you're not getting the right balance of vitamins in your diet, supplements are a quick and easy way to ensure that you’ve topped up.
If you spend long periods of your day inside in the office, you probably aren't getting enough Vitamin D as you’d normally get this vitamin through direct access to sunlight. Taking Vitamin D supplements can boost your mood and increase energy levels so you can work at the top of your game.
5. Easy on the Caffeine
When you're working around the clock, it's far too easy to use caffeine to keep you energised. But, it's important to be aware of the risks.
Research shows that having too much caffeine can lead to a wide range of adverse health effects, including poor digestion, increased anxiety and disrupted sleep patterns. If you rely too heavily on caffeine at work, you're likely to burn out as you're tricking your brain into thinking you have more energy than you really do.
We recommend gradually weaning yourself off caffeine by introducing alternative sources of energy such as Kombucha and Orange Chia Fresca. Alternatively, if you simply like the taste of coffee but you aren't looking for that extra energy boost, try decaf!
6. Healthy Food for a Healthy Mind
Achieving a balanced diet can help if you suffer from anxiety or depression. Research has found that both the Mediterranean and DASH diet can help to promote a healthy lifestyle and improve mental wellbeing.
Both diets focus on lots of fatty fish such as salmon and tuna, raw nuts and plenty of fresh fruit and veg which help to promote healthy digestion. Importantly, both diets are also low in sugars which have been linked with lower levels of anxiety and depression. In some cases, cutting down on sugary foods has completely changed people’s mental states and transformed their lives for the better.
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