Home and work are the two environments that you’re going to spend most of your time in. They’re also the two places where you are going to consume most of your food and drink. In fact, according to world leading food psychologist Dr Brian Wansink your “5-mile radius” is essentially impacting your waistline and subsequently your health.
To echo some of his words we eat most of our food within the following circles:
The restaurants we dine at
What all this means is that if your five 5-mile radius is littered with distractions, trigger foods/drinks (crisps, biscuits, alcohol etc) and ultimately if the ratio of unhealthy options outweighs healthy alternatives, you simply will NOT be able to master good eating and drinking habits…no matter how strong you think your willpower is.
Make the environment work for you rather than thinking you can outsmart your environment.
It’s lot easier to make environmental changes that work for you rather than against. Starting with the home, here are some tweaks that give real bang for their buck:
Countertop Swipe: Any tempting sugary snacks (biscuits, crackers, cereal), put in place where they don’t instantly meet the eye – out of sight out of mind!
Table Rule: Research tells us that you eat more when you’re distracted. Sitting at a dining table rather than on the sofa with the distraction of the TV allows you to be more conscious about how much you’re eating.
Fridge Levels: ‘First to see, first to eat’ is what the research points to. Put your veggies, proteins and water on the top shelves so they meet you head on when you open the fridge. Any sugary drinks/snacks (if at all) put towards the bottom shelves where they’re not easy accessible.
Blender Boost: Most who purchase a blender use it once and then put it with the old pots and pans that their grandparents left them – bad move. Put the blender next to the kettle, it will trigger you to use it when you need some energy. Any leftover veggies, fruit and whole nuts can be bunged in for some quality nutrients at any time of the day/night.
Green Plate Rule: For at least one Plate a day have a 50% green rule whereby half your plate is green. Green equals nutrients and fibre. All this contributes to good health. Don’t be fancy pick any green you like!
And here are some tips for integrating healthier food options into work environment:
Ensure vending machines are stocked with healthier choices or supply a subsidised communal fruit bowl.
Make sure there are clean and well-maintained areas for employees to prepare and store their own meals.
Ask caterers to provide healthy food options when supplying refreshments for events.
Provide fresh, accessible and sign posted drinking water on every floor.
Display nutritional information to help employees make better-informed choices for their health.
PStock the kitchen with a blener to encourage staff to make healthy smoothies rather than excessive amounts of tea and coffee.
Run health and wellbeing events focusing on diet and nutrition throughout the year.
While all of these may not be practical for every organisation, focusing on the ones that are is making a fantastic contribution in developing a workplace wellbeing culture and individual health. Change always takes some time but there is no change without action.
For more advice, support and training around diet and excercise in the workplace and how you can help your team and colleagues, check out the Workplace Wellbeing Charter website www.wellbeingcharter.org.uk. Alternatively give us a call on 0151 236 6608