08 July, 2011
Healthy Food for the Sedentary Worker
Long hours at the office, mainly in front of a computer, do not comprise a physically active workday. According to a 2010 report of the National Health Interview Survey, 33 percent of Americans consider themselves physically inactive both at work and at home. Sedentary workers are prone to being overweight or obese, not just because of their inactivity, but also due to the not-so-healthful fare offered at office parties and breakfast meetings. Therefore, the sedentary worker must eat healthy foods throughout the day to avoid unwanted bulge.
Fruits and vegetables are important parts of a balanced diet and contain fiber as well as many vitamins and minerals. The Centers for Disease Control recommend that all individuals, especially those trying to manage their weight, incorporate fruits and vegetables into every meal. For the sedentary worker, grab-and-go "portable" produce such as bananas, apples and oranges can be transported to work easily and eaten at the desk with no mess, except for a peel or core to throw away. Other produce that can be eaten at the desk includes carrot and celery sticks, cucumber and pepper slices with a side of low-fat dressing or peanut butter. Such produce, along with grapes and berries, can be washed and stored in reusable plastic containers the night before, stored in the refrigerator overnight and taken to work in the morning to enjoy as a midday snack or as part of lunch.
Desk Drawer Dry Foods
Several healthy foods can be placed in dry storage containers in or on the desk for easy access. Nuts such as almonds and cashews, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, granola, and whole-grain or bran dry cereals are healthy snacks full of fiber and nutrients. For variety and added flavor, combine one or more of them with dried fruits such as raisins or apricots for a healthy trail mix, or combine dry cereals and granola with yogurt or milk as a fiber-rich meal. In addition, Gold's Gym health experts suggest keeping microwave popcorn, granola bars and instant oatmeal packets at your desk for a healthy, easy-to-prepare snack or meal.
It's tempting to get takeout food or go out to lunch with coworkers, but eating out can quickly thin your wallet and fatten your waistline. Instead, prepare a healthy sandwich the night before on whole-grain bread: lean turkey or ham with cheese, tuna fish with low-fat mayonnaise or mustard, or all veggies, such as lettuce, sliced tomatoes, avocado, cucumbers, sprouts and sliced peppers, dressed with olive oil or ground pepper. While making dinner, prepare a few extra chicken breasts or veggies to use as part of a salad or sandwich for lunch the next day. Other lunch options include canned low-sodium soup with a few whole-grain crackers and a piece of fruit.
A situation will arise where you will eat out with coworkers as part of a celebration or a special meeting, so plan ahead of time and check out the menu of the restaurant where you will be eating. Planning ahead can help you make a healthier choice instead of being tempted to indulge in high-fat, high-calorie foods. In addition, keep in mind that while eating nutritious foods during the workday is an important part of staying healthy, so is getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity in your daily regimen.
- Centers for Disease Control: How to Use Fruits and Vegetables to Help Manage Your Weight
- Weight Control Information Network: National Institutes of Health: Better Health and You: Tips for Adults
- American Dietetic Association: Smart Snacking for Adults and Teens
- Centers for Disease Control: How much physical activity do adults need?
- Centers for Disease Control: National Health Interview Survey: Leisure Time Physical Activity
- 5PH/iStock/Getty Images