To mark World Health Day, we take a look at the challenges working from home can bring to our nutritional choices. Urban for Business nutritionist Jenna offers tips to help you cut the boredom binging.
Working from home poses many nutrition-related challenges. The heightened stress of the current situation can also lead to emotional eating, boredom eating, excessive grazing or even over-indulgence in alcohol. But you can set yourself up for success by following a few simple tips.
What nutrients do I need?
As you are spending more time inside, you should consciously incorporate the right nutrients in your diet including Vitamins D and C, zinc and selenium – all of which help you to stay healthy and build resilience during this time. Vitamin D is primarily made from exposure to sunlight, which is why the government recommends taking supplements of 10ųg per day in winter, and it’s not a bad idea to consider this if you’re not getting as much sunlight as you normally would do.
Vitamin C is vital for supporting your immune system at this time. A varied diet with a wide range of fruits and vegetables should be sufficient for your Vitamin C needs.
Zinc and selenium are both key nutrients in supporting immune function too. Ensure you’re consuming a range of meat and fish (which includes tinned salmon, tuna and mackerel) plus nuts and seeds.
Adapting to working from home
It’s all too easy to grab a quick food fix, work through your lunch hour and forget to hydrate when you’re working in a strange environment. For many of us, working from home is not the norm and so rather than replicating your office habits at home, it’s important to build the right habits and structures for your new norm.
Top tips for eating well
- Stock your cupboard with healthy snacks such as nuts and seeds, rather than stockpiling biscuits, crisps and long-life junk food.
- Block out mealtimes in your diary and never schedule meetings over them. Take your meals in the kitchen, away from your workstation.
- Stay hydrated and stay sharp. Keep a tracker of how much water you drink during the day and make sure you get your 8 glasses. Just 1-2% dehydration can have a significant impact on your cognitive function so don’t forget those glasses of water.
- If you’re taking regular trips to the kettle, avoid drinking too much coffee or caffeinated tea. A high caffeine consumption can affect mental wellbeing and sleep in those who are prone to stress and anxiety. Opt for herbal teas where possible.
- Eat mindfully. At each meal, take the time to really look at your food, smell it and then taste it. Phase one of digestion (the cephalic phase) actually begins before you even start eating. The brain signals to the stomach to start secreting digestive juices in order to break down your food. Eating in a distracted state can affect your ability to break down food properly.