Healthy Number Crunching
We’re dreaming of the sun now, thinking of holidays and long, warm evenings with a cool glass in hand. We want to look good, toned and healthy — so we set ourselves targets. But are we setting ourselves up to fail?
The trouble with most of the healthy eating resolutions we make is that we set the bar unrealistically high. Too sudden, too extreme, too punishing. The higher the expectation, the harder we fall.
Just as with exercise, eating healthily is more enjoyable and achievable when you do it with other people rather than battling on your own — the workplace is an ideal place to sow the seeds of good practice and make healthy eating a part of everyday life.
Winning hearts and minds isn’t plain sailing — according to the National Diet and Nutrition Survey, fewer than a third of adults and only one in ten children eat their regular five a day of fruit and vegetables, most of us only managing four. We’re also not eating enough oily fish, which can help fight heart disease, and we all know we’re shovelling in too much saturated fat (BBC News, 2012).
Making small adjustments to our diet in the workplace isn’t rocket science and can be enjoyable. Here are five small ways to make a big difference to wellbeing — your own or that of your colleagues (by working with your foodservice provider to spread the word).
1. Drink more water.
How easy is that? Water oxygenates the blood, removes waste and protects the joints and organs. Make plenty of water available in your restaurants and encourage people to see it as part of their diet.
2. Know your food.
Understanding the nutritional content of what you’re eating helps you balance your diet and lets you indulge in moderation without blowing the whole plan — you’re much less likely to fall off the healthy-eating wagon if you’re allowed a little leeway. Look out for the nutritional information we provide for every meal we serve in our workplace restaurants.
3. Raw power.
Combine raw veg with attractive presentation and create a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds. Imaginatively presented, healthy food looks like a treat — because it is a treat.
4. Go natural.
Encourage people to retrain their palates, providing tasty, fresh and healthy dishes to persuade people away from processed foods that are more likely to be loaded with hidden fat, salt and sugar.
5. Variety is everything.
Change things around, and embrace a menu that’s varied and stimulates exploration. By enticing people out of their food habits they’re more likely to be open to trying new, healthy options.
Put excitement into people’s lunchtimes — there’s so much good stuff to explore and different ways to make people come back for more.
BBC News Health 25 July 2012 ‘Britons failing to reach five-a-day fruit and veg goal’ [online] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-18984025 (Accessed 9 January 2013).