During the 21st century, with industrialization and technology on the rise, we have been led to changes in our lifestyle making it more sedentary and inactive. This has resulted in high mortality cases relating to cancer, heart disease and diabetes with obesity as their common, predisposing factor. Obesity is now referred to as an epidemic according to WHO, as 6 out of 10 adults are considered to be obese or overweight.
This has led to a peak in the diet industry with billions being spent every year on products that are supposed to make you lose weight including diet pills, supplements and meal replacements.
People in their quest to be healthy and ‘perfect’ their looks, tend to research extensively online about ways that will help them acquire the image they desire. This holds huge tricks as there are a lot of misconceptions about dieting. Anyone can go online and write an article about nutrition, whether he/she has academic knowledge or not. Unfortunately, most articles and “studies” found online are guided by companies who want to promote their own products.
A correct nutrition plan should be balanced, involving a variety of food, as no one particular food group can give us the complete nutrients that we need, and should always be based on the needs of the individual. One should have frequent and small meals to keep the metabolism functioning.
I always tell my clients that “Dieting starts from the moment you enter the supermarket!”. Do not go to the supermarket on an empty stomach. Anything that enters the house will be consumed, so you should make healthy shopping lists and stick to them. Once you have shopped healthy food it is important that you also cook it in a healthy manner. Try grilling or boiling instead of frying and avoid adding sauces.
Tip: Don’t be too strict during weekdays because you will probably end up overconsuming food during the weekends. Follow a balanced diet throughout the week.
Healthy eating tips at the office
You spent most of your awake hours in the office, so you should opt to the make your office a healthy environment as it plays a pivotal role for your overall health.
Start by getting rid of chips, crackers, and other unhealthy snacks on or near your desk. The less you’re tempted by junk food, the healthier you’ll eat. Out of sight, out of mind.
Make time for meals. It’s easy to forget to eat when you’re busy. Block off 30 minutes each day to walk away from your desk and eat a healthy meal. You’ll come back refreshed and re-energized.
Bring leftovers. Make an extra portion when you’re cooking dinner at night, so you’ll have a healthy lunch to take to the office the next day. You’ll also save money by doing this.
Plan your meals. If you know you’re going to eat two or three meals and two snacks at the office, plan ahead. Coming prepared will help you avoid getting too hungry and indulging on unhealthy food.
Bring in a water bottle. Start each day with drinking a full bottle of water at your desk and make an effort to drink water often, starting from the morning. You’ll stay hydrated and energized.
Choose balanced snacks. When planning snacks for work, choose snacks with a combination of carbohydrates, healthy fats, and lean proteins to boost your metabolism, increase energy, and feel fuller for longer, such as a peanut butter and banana sandwich or an apple with a handful of almonds.
There’s always a work buddy who’s a bit of a tempting demon. He’s the one that comes over to tell you “the pizza place behind the corner has a new offer this week”, “a new Chinese restaurant opened last month and we haven’t tried it yet”. Practice your nicest “No, thank you” and then use it every time he comes by your desk. The same goes for the slice of cake for your colleague’s birthday/promotion/baby/new car/retirement. You don’t have to eat that huge slice just to be nice. You can say no or just ask for a smaller portion if it really looks that tempting!
One of the biggest mistakes we make when working in an office is eating lunch on our desk. You won’t be able to decompress from the office environment, and you won’t enjoy your meals as much. Staying in front of the computer means you never really take a break. Whenever the phone rings or you have a new email in your inbox you have the tendency to stop whatever you’re doing and just pick up the phone or read that email. Go out! Take your lunch, leave the office and enjoy a walk outside. You will come back refreshed and more productive.
Healthy snacks for the office
Walnuts – Walnuts are high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants.
Apples – Apples are loaded with pectin, which helps suppress your appetite. Eating an apple mid-day helps control blood sugar and may aid in weight loss.
Greek Yogurt – Greek yogurt has twice as much protein as regular yogurt. Plus, it contains healthy bacteria, known as probiotics, to keep your digestive tract healthy.
Green Tea – Research has shown that green tea helps lower cholesterol and decreases the risk of diabetes and strokes. It also boosts the metabolism to help you burn more fat. Drink two to three cups of green tea throughout the day to reap the benefits.
Oatmeal and Blueberries – Complex carbs like oatmeal provide steady, long-lasting energy, and help you feel full longer. Top off 1/2 cup of hot oats with 1 cup of fresh blueberries which are packed with nutrients that help promote brain function.
Carrots and Hummus – 10 carrots pair well with 1/2 cup of hummus. This low-calorie combo is packed with beta-carotene, fiber, and healthy fat to help you feel full throughout the afternoon.