Hey there fellow busy professionals! We know how it is – the long hours in front of our computer screens, back-to-back meetings, and looming deadlines often mean we end up grabbing whatever is quick and easy for meals without giving nutrition a second thought. But what we fuel our bodies with and how we do it play a huge role in our energy level, focus, and productivity. Eating well isn’t just good for our gut health, to keep on trend with the latest recipes, or to get ready for our next vacation; it actually helps our brains work better too! We chatted with Lane Four’s in-house nutritionist, Danielle Frattinger, to gather some insight on how we can all incorporate more nutritious foods into our busy routines to improve how we feel and perform at work each day. Even making some simple changes can have a big impact. Let’s get started!
5 Golden Tips to Get You Started
With so much information available on the topic of healthy eating and nutrition, we understand that it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Danielle has compiled a set of golden tips to help you break the habit of procrastinating and increase the likelihood of starting to make positive changes right now. These tips are simple and practical enough to incorporate into your daily routine. Start by adopting one of them, or tackle as many as you think you can – knowing what’s feasible for YOU will make it more possible for you to lead a healthier life without feeling deprived or overwhelmed.
What else can we do to help ensure these practices stick?
We know that for busy people, organization and planning is key. Danielle has outlined a couple of simple but effective methods to help working professionals ensure nutrition is not placed at the bottom of their priority lists. Below, you will find two ways you can start moving forward as an individual, as well as two ways organizations can start supporting healthy eating within the workplace. Business leaders, we’re talking to you!
Meal Preparation (Individual)
Meal prepping can be a great way to save time, money, and making healthier food choices. To start meal prepping, first plan out your meals for the week and make a shopping list. Choose recipes that can be easily scaled up and will keep well in the fridge or freezer. Next, set aside some time on the weekend or a specific evening you may be free to prepare your meals, such as chopping vegetables or cooking proteins. Store your prepped meals in containers in the fridge or freezer and grab them as needed throughout the week. Over time, you can experiment with new recipes and techniques to make meal prepping a sustainable habit. To mitigate the drawbacks of meal prepping, it is best to start with a small meal prep plan and gradually increase it over time. Experiment with new recipes to keep the meal prep interesting, and maintain a collection of tried and tested recipes that are both delicious and easy to make, to streamline the process.
Meal Kits (Individual)
When choosing a meal kit service, consider your dietary needs, taste preferences, and budget. Look for a service that offers a variety of meal options and customization, such as the ability to choose between vegetarian or high-protein options. Consider the freshness of ingredients and how they are sourced. You may also want to read customer reviews and compare prices to find a service that fits your needs and budget. Finally, try out a few different meal kit services to see which one works best for your lifestyle and preferences.
Catered Lunch Service (Company)
Companies looking to promote healthier eating habits in the workplace can consider offering a weekly catered lunch service, like the one Danielle successfully implemented for at Lane Four! This can include offering a variety of healthy meal options that cater to different dietary needs and preferences. By providing employees with healthy meal options, companies can encourage healthy eating habits and help employees stay energized and focused throughout the workday.
Start by determining the budget, then choose a catering company that can provide healthy and nutritious meal options. By prioritizing the health and well-being of their employees, corporations can promote a positive workplace culture and foster a more productive work environment.
Promoting Healthy Snack Options (Company)
When we’re busy, it’s easy to reach for snacks because they’re quick and convenient. Another way corporations can improve nutrition in the workplace is by promoting healthy snack options. This can include offering fresh fruit, vegetables, and nuts as snacks in break rooms or vending machines and limiting the availability of unhealthy snacks like candy and chips. By making healthy snacks readily available, corporations can help employees make better snack choices and improve their overall nutrition.
To mitigate the potential downsides of implementing catered lunch services in an organization, there are several steps that can be taken:
- In addition to providing catered lunches, also offer catered snacks to keep employees satisfied throughout the day. This could include options such as fruit, granola bars, and trail mix.
- To accommodate employees with dietary restrictions, it is important to maintain a list of all known restrictions and ensure that there are options available that meet those needs. This information should be recorded in HR documentation for health and safety purposes.
- Consider partnering with a local charity that could benefit from any leftovers from the catered lunches. This can help reduce waste and provide support to those in need.
- To further reduce waste, provide dishes for team members to package up any leftover food, and mark the best before dates so that employees can enjoy the nutritious food offerings for a couple more days. This can help promote sustainability and reduce costs associated with food waste.
Maybe as you reach the end of this post, you learned something new, or maybe you just needed a little reminder to get you started. Regardless, as a busy professional, we know it can be easy to neglect your nutrition and prioritize convenience over health. However, adopting healthy eating habits is crucial for your physical and mental well-being. By making small changes, such as planning your meals in advance, keeping healthy snacks on hand, or talking about healthy eating with more people around you, you can start moving to the new groove of leading a healthier life. Not only will you feel better and have more energy, but you’ll also be able to perform better at work and in other aspects of your life too! So, make it a priority to incorporate healthy eating habits into your busy lifestyle and when you feel like you can’t find time, create it. Remember, your health is worth investing in, and with the right mindset and a few simple changes, you can achieve a healthy and balanced diet even with a hectic schedule.
Danielle is a University of Toronto student pursuing a Master of Public Health in Nutrition and Dietetics. Her passion for all things food and nutrition began with her education in Culinary Arts and experience in the food industry as a Chef de Partie. For the past five years, Danielle has enjoyed sharing this passion with others through nutrition presentations and cooking workshops at various community centres and hospitals in Toronto. Danielle is currently hosting weekly lunch and bi-weekly snack services as Lane Four’s in-house nutritionist.