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Work Lunch


A window to your wellness

If you think that what you eat at work is the exception to your diet, think again.  A study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, worked with 603 men and women to learn how meal purchases during the workday compared to their overall diet.  Spoiler alert!  What they ate during work hours reflected their overall food choices and health! 

Over the three-month study, purchases were assessed and weighed, plus their overall diet was evaluated and scored using the Healthy Eating Index.  After a complete workup including height, weight, blood pressure and measuring blood sugar levels researchers observed that employees, who purchased the least healthy options from the cafeterias, also had the least healthy overall diet and the most risk for obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.   

We spend about 1/3 of our lives at the workplace, so knowing how to navigate the office café is an important skill in maintaining a healthy diet.   The American Heart Association surveyed over 1000 people and learned that more than half struggle with eating a healthy lunch at work, and 91% want to improve the healthfulness of that meal too!   

How can you make sure your lunch is healthy?  Ask yourself these questions: 

1.  Is half my plate non-starchy vegetables (i.e. not potatoes)?  This should be about 2 cups!  Think salad greens, cucumbers, string beans, cherry tomatoes or bell peppers.

2.  Do I have 3-4oz lean protein?  Consider chicken breast, tuna, hard boiled eggs, peanut butter or beans. 

3.  If I have a grain or starch, is it refined?  Try brown rice, quinoa or whole grain bread instead of refined white grains. 

4.  Do I have a calorie free beverage?  Instead of drinks with empty calories and added sugars, choose drinks that let you save calories for foods that will keep you full.

Checking these boxes will help ensure that you have a nutritious meal at the office. 

Published September 1st 2021

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