Are you having difficulty eating healthy at work? Is your shift work making it hard for you to stay

A busy working shift can make eating healthy difficult. Eating healthy can help regulate your appetite, manage your weight and reduce your risk of gaining weight, developing diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Here's some 10 simple steps you can take:

1. Bring a healthy lunch to work- this can help you manage your portion sizes and bring healthy foods. Include variety from all four food groups: fruit and vegetables, whole grain starchy food, low fat milk and alternatives and lean meat alternatives

For example:

Sandwiches or wraps made with wholegrain breads, lean meat and vegetables

Salads made with green leafy vegetables or grain. Salads made with lean meat and lots of vegetables- other topping ideas can be feta cheese, sliced cucumber, carrot, peppers and onions and unsalted nuts and seeds

Wholegrain crackers topped with sliced boiled egg and carrot sticks on the side

Home -made burrito with brown rice, beans and vegetables in a wholegrain tortilla

Left over chicken or beef stir fry with vegetables and brown rice/pitta

Low-fat cheese, sliced tomato on whole grain roll

Home -made bean, peas or lentil soup with wholegrain roll

2. Keep healthy foods at work-if you don't have time have some supplies at work to make your own lunch. This will reduce your temptation to go out and buy foods like muffins, cookies, pizza, chips.

For example:

Low fat milk or yoghurt,

Wholegrain crackers,


Tinned fish,

Nuts and seeds are also a good choice

3. Choose wisely when eating out- there maybe days when eat from lunch or snack from the work canteen or vending machine. Choose dishes that are grilled, poached, baked or grilled or cooked with little fat

For example:

Fill half your plate with salad or steam cooked vegetables

Quarter with lean meat or fish or chicken or legume

Quarter with wholegrain carbohydrates- brown rice or Jacket potato

Choose a smaller plate

Choose filling soups made with beans, peas or lentils and vegetables

Remember to always drink water with your meals

From vending machines: try fruit and nut mixes unsalted, low fat milk/yoghurt/wholegrain sandwiches, low calories drinks, salads with side dressings. Avoid chocolate bars, chips, cookies, pasties or other pastry choices

4. Plan your meals and snack around your shifts so that you can eat 4-6 hours. If your meeting falls during meal time eat either before meeting or take your lunch or snack with you

5. Avoid eating when bored or stressed- instead take a break stand-up walk around, visit a colleague, stand up and stretch.

6. Eat away from your desk so that you can focus on enjoying your meal in a relaxed environment without disturbances

7. Include some physical activity during your work routine- short walks, walking up and down the stairs.

8. Limit hands reach unhealthy treats-high fat pastries, cakes, cookies for celebrations can be tempting. You can suggest fresh fruit, low fat yoghurts, mini muffins to control portion. Bring your own healthy snack to avoid temptations

9. Set realistic healthy goals. A goal can help you stay focused.

10. Seek support from a registered dietitian if you are having difficulty managing to eat around your shift or too busy with meetings.

Some healthy snacks and drinks for meetings:


Fresh fruit in a basket

Mixed unsalted nuts

Low fat cheese and wholegrain crackers

Vegetable sticks with low fat hummus

Hard boiled eggs with fresh cut vegetables

Low fat yoghurt topped with wholegrain cereal

Low fat cheese cubes with apple slices


Water with sliced lemon

Unsweetened tea/coffee or herbal tea

Diet pop

Low-fat milk

Reference PEN - the global resource for nutrition practice

For specialized Diet and Nutrition advice seek the advice of a Professional Dietitian and Nutritionist Tabby kabeer SRD HPC

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