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National Nutrition Month & Workplace Wellness

Bad habits are like a comfortable bed: easy to get into but hard to get out of; and at work, it’s easy to slip into poor food choices…

  • …a sales rep stops by with doughnuts for the entire office…
  • …you celebrate a co-worker’s birthday with cupcakes…
  • …you attend a catered business event, etc…

About National Nutrition Month

March is National Nutrition Month!

National Nutrition Month® is a nutrition education and information campaign created annually in March by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.

The theme for 2016 is “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right,” which encourages everyone to take time to enjoy food traditions and appreciate the pleasures, great flavors and social experiences food can add to our lives. How, when, why and where we eat are just as important as what we eat. Develop a mindful eating pattern that includes nutritious and flavorful foods — that’s the best way to savor the flavor of eating right!

How do most working adults get off track with their nutrition?

When we have busy schedules, people start looking for convenience. This increases the frequency of eating out, especially fast food. If meals and snacks are not planned, we tend to eat more junk food.

How does the workplace influence how people eat?

Co-workers can have a positive or a negative influence on your eating habits. If someone is always bringing in doughnuts, it is easy to get tempted. You may also get into the habit of going out for lunch every day.

Steps that Adults Can Take to Eat Healthier

A little planning goes a long way.

Set aside some time during the week to do some planned grocery shopping. Then cook up a bunch of extra meals on your day off. Use a crock pot/slow cooker to make easy, healthy meals. You won’t need to eat out after a long, tiring work day if you have good food waiting for you at home! Plan and pack a healthy snack and lunch, and always make sure you have a refillable water bottle on hand.

Employee being offered junk food at work

Fostering Wellness at Work with Better Food Choices

The following are some ideas to help you and your colleagues stay on track with healthier eating while at work.

  • Create a work place that fosters healthy eating.
  • Have healthy snacks in the break room.
  • Have a discussion with co-workers about not buying/bringing candy or sugary snacks.
  • Stay active through the day.
  • Drink an adequate amount of water.
  • Bring your own lunch and snacks.
  • Limit eating out.

5 Quick, Easy Meal Ideas

The following are some quick, easy meal ideas that you can try on your own at home:

  1. Healthy chili with beans with a green salad and baked sweet potato
  2. Stir-fry with brown rice, lean protein and plenty of colorful vegetables
  3. Whole grain pasta with lean protein and plenty of colorful vegetables
  4. Grilled cheese sandwich on whole grain bread with a hearty vegetable soup
  5. Taco bar – black beans, salsa, guacamole, olives, low fat cheese. Add vegetables such as baby spinach, grilled zucchini, onions and peppers

8 Work-Friendly, Healthy Snack Ideas

healthy meal at work

Long day at work? Here are some healthier snack options to reach for!

  1. Home made trail mix: nuts, seeds, dried fruit
  2. Whole grains crackers with low fat cheese
  3. Apple or banana with peanut butter
  4. Any fresh fruit + handful of nuts
  5. Vanilla Greek Yogurt  topped with berries
  6. Veggies  and/or baked pita chips with hummus
  7. Whole grain mini bagel with peanut butter
  8. Black bean dip with baked tortilla chips

About Parul Kharod, MS, RD, LDN

Parul is a Clinical Dietitian in Outpatient Nutrition Services at WakeMed Cary Hospital. For information related to diet and nutrition, or to speak to one of our licensed, registered dietitians, contact Outpatient Nutrition Services today. Insurance coverage and costs may vary.