Making healthy eating a part of your life can be a tricky challenge, if you are a working woman with demanding personal and professional commitments.
It’s a similar story for many women- leaving for work with a cup of coffee hurriedly had with some biscuits or jam and toast, another two cups of coffee or tea at office, lunch that’s usually eaten out with friends or clients or some sandwiches or puffs from a fast food outlet. Another cup of coffee in the evening with some cake or cookies shared with colleagues, perhaps followed by a small bar of chocolate to get rid of those gnawing feeling of irritability that creep up. Dinner is often ordered from a restaurant because your cook plays truant and you’re a bit too tired to cook. Sound like someone you know?
Sure, you are a master at multi tasking and juggling time, but when it comes to eating a healthy balanced diet, most of us fall short of expectations. Understandably ready to eat food packets or frozen foods do seem very tempting- they’re convenient and time-saving. But, unfortunately most packaged and processed foods are full of sugar, preservatives and contain little or no nutritional value. Result? Weight gain, poor concentration, restlessness, irritability, low energy, hyperactivity, allergies, frequent colds, earaches and food cravings. So what do overworked people eat?
Ironically, the busier you are the more crucial it is for you to eat healthy. And healthful eating need not be too time consuming…. all it requires is some awareness and planning. I am listing down a few Healthy eating tips for working women.
Tips for eating on your desk
Spending the lunch hour in front of the computer and eating on the office desk while reading mails, answering calls or shuffling papers is common among those who are overworked. But, this habit comes with its own set of health issues. Since you are more engrossed in the mail and not the food, you tend to overeat. Also it takes away that one hour of getting up from your chair, interacting with your colleagues and the much needed movement to your limbs. Thus, it is advisable to look out for an alternate place to dine like your office canteen, cafeteria, restaurant or even your friend’s desk. However, if you can’t just break away, follow these tips–
- Have a lunch which is moderate in size and needs your attention. Have chappatis with vegetables or rice with beans, instead of grabbing a sandwich or a franky.
- Carry salads, nuts, fruits, wheat cookies and yoghurt as handy snacks, if your lunch is going to be delayed
- Walk around, whenever possible. Walk to the cooler, vending machine or the copier instead of getting them on your desk by an office helper.
- Eat with a friend to break the work monotony, refresh your self and also to improve your productivity and efficiency.
- Avoid making it a daily habit.
Tips to eat on the go
- A restaurant that offers seafood is a good choice.
- Choose dishes that you can have grilled, baked, barbequed, steamed or roasted.
- Request that your food be prepared in less oil and that sauces, toppings, dressings and cheese be served separately. You could have a salad dressing made of olive oil and vinegar.
- If you’re having a sizzler avoid the sauce and French fries, if you’re having soup avoid the ones that are corn, cream and white sauce based and settle for clear soup.
- Always have whole wheat bread instead of white bread. Have tandoori rotis instead of naans and dals without extra butter toppings or ‘tadka’.
- Avoid fried foods and sugar totally.
Tips to make smart food choices
- An optimum diet consists of fresh foods that are high in complex carbohydrates and fiber, low in fat, salt and sugar and moderate in protein
- Consume more fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains and reduce your intake of simple carbohydrates such as refined sugar, maida and alcohol- they’re high in calories and low in food value
- Reduce caffeine and salt intake: Limit yourself to 1-2 cups of coffee daily anything over that could wear down your adrenal glands and stress your body causing restlessness, insomnia and a racing heartbeat. Instead switch to green tea, lime water or buttermilk.
- Eat in a relaxed atmosphere, eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly
- Never skip breakfast and eat smaller meals more frequently.
- Plan your grocery shopping on the weekends and if possible prepare bigger batches of ready to add masala ( onion—tomato paste, ginger garlic paste), or even precut vegetables.
Time, habit and convenience probably determine your food choices. But it is assured that if you plan your daily meal in advance, a healthy and energetic life is just around the corner. Take the leap and be healthy!!