Hydration and nutrition at work

What we eat and drink can have serious implications on our performance at work, as well as our overall health.

Eating at work

Being at work for most of the day often encourages people to eat convenience foods that are often high in salt, sugar and fats, rather than fresh food that provides good nutrition. Many people assume that preparing healthy meals takes a long time but many snacks and meals are quick and easy to prepare and much cheaper than buying lunch and snacks every day.

You can easily prepare pasta salads, healthy wraps and fresh salads at home and then take them into work; it will work out considerably cheaper than buying ready-made lunches and you will be in complete control of what goes into your lunch. Try to snack on healthy foods such as nuts, raw vegetables and fruit, rather than crisps and chocolate bars; these snacks provide a quick sugar boost but will soon leave you feeling hungry again and the sugar high will soon give way to a drop in energy. If you go out for lunch, try to choose foods that are high in protein and complex carbohydrates, including vegetarian, lean meat or fish pasta dishes, baked potatoes, soups, wraps or rice dishes; choosing wholegrain versions of these foods will also provide great nutrition. Eating foods that have high complex carbohydrate content will ensure you feel energised throughout the afternoon, as they cause energy to be released slowly over a long period of time; foods that are high in simple sugars release energy quickly and many people experience a slump in energy levels in the middle of the afternoon as a result. A lack on energy can lead to poor concentration levels, which can affect performance.

Keeping hydrated

Most people drink a lot of hot drinks that are high in caffeine throughout the day when they are at work; while this can help them to keep going, it will not keep the body hydrated and they may find they start to develop symptoms associated with dehydration such as headaches. A high caffeine intake can also contribute to conditions including heart palpitations and a racing heart rate. Try to limit the amount of tea and coffee you drink and drink plenty of water; most workplaces have water machines dotted around their offices so make sure you make the most of them and try to drink around two litres of water each day. If you are struggling to get your 5 a day, grab a fresh fruit smoothie as this will boost your hydration levels, as well as contributing to your fruit intake for the day.

Guide to Health in the workplace

Health in the workplace

Managing stress

Hydration and nutrition at work

Preventing repetitive strain injuries


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