If you spend even half of your day in an office, you know all about the battles of staying healthy at work. With all of the snacking, sitting, and eye-straining going on at a desk, it can become daunting to stay energized and feel healthy while doing it.
We’re guilty here at Vantage of some unhealthy work habits. Yes, the caffeine is abundant, and we all love sweet treats, snack trays, and (don’t judge) microwavable food items. But who can blame us? There’s nothing more satisfying than that morning cup a’ joe, and a mid-morning pastry can be a timeless guilty pleasure.
But studies show that a healthy office is a productive office, and we all care about each others’ health. It’s difficult to maintain a well-rounded diet when the donuts linger in the kitchen round the clock. Now that I’m pregnant, it’s harder and harder to say no to the not-so-good-for-you goodies! Undoubtedly, there are a few folks in every office who are looking to make some healthier decisions surrounding the desk-bound lifestyle. With that in mind, I did a little research this morning on office health and wellness.
If there’s anything I learned from moving to the Northwest, it’s that coffee rules the morning. And Oregon makes some damn good coffee. But how good is it for me? The Harvard Women’s Health Watch reported in 2004 that moderate coffee consumption may actually be good for you. However, the negative effects of coffee (like increased heart rate and blood pressure) tend to emerge in excessive coffee drinking, so moderation is key. If you’re struggling to stay alert, try spreading your coffee consumption throughout the day. Harvard suggests consuming 2-3 ounces every hour or two, as opposed to 16 oz at once. This may help curb the dreaded “crash and burn” effect of a morning coffee overdose!
If you’re looking to detox your coffee cup a bit, here’s a great little article on doing just that. Ditch that artificial creamer!
Interested in caffeine-free ways to stay awake when you’re tired? Here’s a little info on using acupressure to give you a wakeful boost (you can do it at your desk!)
More than ever, I’m fighting the urge to snack, snack, snack at work. You don’t have to go hungry, you just have to make better choices. Right now in our kitchen, there are Reese’s Cups, Peppermint Patties, and mini-donuts. If I were to indulge, I’d probably pop a donut with my coffee, and have another one mid-morning. I may have a Reese’s peanut butter cup or two after lunch, and a Peppermint Patty before I leave. (And that’s being pretty conservative. Remember, I am pregnant.) Even with that modest snacking scenario, I’d be adding an additional 576 calories to my daily intake. And they’re not just any calories, they’re empty, nutrition-less calories. Kind of scary, right? For a person my height and weight, that’s about a fourth of what I should be consuming all day long.
If you’re going to snack (and you should!), just remember to make those calories count. Save the indulgences for your date night, or a fun outing with your kids. Don’t waste those delicious calories staring at an Excel spreadsheet! Here’s a helpful slideshow of some worthy office snacks that will sustain and energize. Oh, and you’ll like this one: Eat Fat to Lose Fat.
I couldn’t mention snacking without talking about breakfast. The days I skip breakfast, I come to work ravenous, more apt to raid the kitchen than ever. A good breakfast can go a long way in the mornings, leaving you feeling sate until lunch time. An email newsletter I subscribe to, goop, had some good breakfast ideas a few weeks ago. Even if you can’t get into the extravagant smoothie making routine a la Gwenyth Paltrow, take note of some of the key ingredients. Eggs, avocado, bananas, olive oil, almond milk, and oats are all fantastic energy boosting foods that will leave you more satisfied than that bagel.
Look, I’m not kicking the occasional sweet treat. You’ll see me snagging one of those Reese’s on the way home sometime, but I’ll be on my bike. Remember—you deserve to feel energetic and healthy! And if you forgo the processed goodies all week? Indulge at a local bakery on Friday morning. Chances are, the croissant will be 100x fresher and tastier than the one that has been sitting in the cupboard all week at work, and you’ll be supporting another local business.
As for the rest of the office? Encourage everyone to make some small changes with you. You’ll find that coworkers will be anxious to jump on the healthy train. Everyone needs a little support and motivation from time to time.
Next up: ergonomics, exercise, and organization!