We’ve been given healthy eating advice and 1001 reasons on why we need to eat healthy. Even with all that, how many of us actually eat healthy and are able refuse the sugar, soda and fast food? If you need a little extra incentive, consider that recent research from Brigham Young University found that unhealthy eating results in a 66 percent increased risk of loss of productivity, while rare exercise results in a 50 percent increased risk of low productivity. Productivity loss means more than doing less at work, but could lead to fewer/smaller raises, a pass on that promotion, and higher health care costs (which affect your employer if you get health insurance from your job).
Throw the money factor in, and maybe eating healthier sounds a lot more attractive, even if you aren’t yet ready to eat a salad for lunch every day. But, are there specific things that you could eat that would add the most to your productivity? Are there things that are considered healthy, but really aren’t? To clear all that up, here’s what you need to know about workplace productivity and healthy eating.
Get Fresh Fruits as Snacks
Perhaps you can’t do anything about what’s in the vending machines, but make fruits the healthy default option by putting them out in the break room for free. Bananas are full of potassium, which is a crucial nutrient for heart health. One apple is 15% of your day’s fiber, and most Americans don’t actually get enough fiber in their diet. Papayas contain papain, a substance that helps improve your digestion.
Tip: Instead of fruits, you could switch things up with unsalted nuts, such as peanuts, almonds, or macadamia nuts. All three of those are rich in protein, fiber, and other nutrients.
Bring Your Own Lunch
Eating out is not only more expensive, but it also makes it harder to control your portion sizing and to know what you’re even getting. Restaurants add butter, oil, and cream to their dishes so they taste better, but these add a lot of fat and calories. By eating your own lunch, you can control your portion sizing, save some money and include those fruits and vegetables that you ought to be eating more of anyway.
Tip: If you eat at your desk, try to at least take a few minutes to take a break as you eat. Eating when you’re distracted, such as writing emails and doing other work, tricks your body into overeating.
Tip 2: If your workplace provides lunch for employees regularly or even has its own cafeteria, make an effort to have healthier options included. Don’t go the healthy/special diet route. Mention that everyone will work harder and better when they eat healthier.
Don’t Drink Your Calories
If there’s one thing that you ought to stop consuming, it’s soda (diet soda and energy drinks aren’t much better). The sugar and the caffeine only lead to mid-morning and mid-afternoon crashes, ruining your productivity and motivation to get work done. Besides, soda and energy drinks are full of extra calories that you really don’t need, and they don’t hydrate you like water does.
Tip: If you really don’t want to do water, then stick with unsweetened tea. It has calories, but it’s a much healthier option than soda. Well, it’s supposed to be healthier if you don’t add sugar.
Think implementing these changes at work might be a tough sell? Tell your boss that total health-related employee productivity loss accounts for 77% of all such loss and costs employers two to three times more than annual healthcare expenses! Salad may not smell like bacon, but your company should find the smell of money better than the smell of bacon.
by Allison Midori Reilly