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The work week tends to be jam packed with not only work, but domestic duties, looking after family, commuting, exercise and trying to find to relax, which can be hard at the best of times. This can make it hard to find the time to make lunches of a morning, which sometimes leads to the reliance of take away to provide lunches with our on-the-go lifestyle.
While purchasing lunches can be convenient, there are many more benefits to packing your own lunch. Not only is it a great way to stay on track with your nutrition goals, but it allows you to eat healthier and save money! Taking your lunch to work may require some preparation at the start of the week or each morning but working out the best way to fit it into your work week is worth it.
If you, like many do not have time to make your lunch every morning, make some time on the weekend to prep. This could be anything from stir-fry, spaghetti bolognese, taco bowls. Or for meals that can’t be kept for a few days in the fridge like a sandwich or ready to go salads do some partial prep to save you time each morning. Partial prep includes dicing up your ingredients at the start of the week so each morning all is left is the assembly such as the image below (attached in email). By having all your ingredients grated, chopped and seperate you avoid soggy sandwiches and are saves time if you were to for example grate carrot every morning. To get some more meal ideas check out the free to download Coast Sport recipe book below.
No matter what you feel like for lunch try use the Healthy Plate Guide to have a healthy balanced meal. This means that your meal should be 50% non-starchy vegetables, 25% lean protein and 25% carbohydrate .This roughly looks like:
1 cup of microwaved rice, 1 tin of tuna, 1 bag of steam fresh vegetables
1 cup pasta, 1 cup bolognese mix (see recipe book), 1 handful diced spinach
2 slices wholegrain bread, 60-80g chicken breast, 1 cup salad (tomato, lettuce, beetroot)
¾-1 cup quinoa, 80g beef, 1.5 cups vegetable
Along with lunch most people either need or want snacks throughout the day. Snacking can be where we opt for the biscuits in the cupboard, chocolate, soft drink and more energy dense nutrient poor options especially when hitting the 3pm energy slump. While our bodies tend to crave these snacks, it is important to make nutritious choices! Did you know that the average person who snacks on nutrient poor foods at work can consume an extra 100,00 calories per year, that is the equivalent to 416 Mars Bars!
Work out what nutritious snacks you enjoy and stock them at work so you are not tempted by nutrient poor choices on a regular basis. Some of our favourite work snacks include:
Carrot sticks and hommus
Ryvita with hommus, tomato and cheese
Hot chocolate (predominantly hot water with a dash of milk)
A cup of tea or coffee
Roasted chickpeas or fava beans
Air popped popcorn (lightly salted)
Freedom Foods Barley+ Muesli Bar
Although it does not provide nutritional value to the body, it is also important to make sure you drink enough water as 50% of Aussies don’t! As a general guide women require 2.1L per day and men 2.6L, these numbers increase when we factor in exercise. The best way to try to increase your water intake is introducing visual cues. This could include:
Keeping water on your desk and fill it up regularly (also gets you up for a walk)
Have water in meeting/conferences
Take water with you on the way to and from work
These visual cues will remind you to drink, and if you are more focused on increasing water intake you could be reducing the intake of liquid calories including soft drink and large portions of fruit juice.
If you struggle to put one or all of these strategies in place you are not alone. It is however best to then seek some help from a dietitian. Coast Sport’s Dietitian's are experts at helping people improve their nutritional intake to suit fast paced lifestyles. They also offer Corporate Wellness Programs to assist whole workplaces improve their nutrition intake. To find out more or book an appointment today call 4356 2588 or book online via the button below.
Find out more about our nutrition services here.