Corporate Wellness Week: 5 top excuses for straying from a healthy diet at the office - and the fix

It is possible to eat well at work.
It is possible to eat well at work.

Corporate Wellness Week has arrived, reminding us that we cannot have a healthy office environment without healthy food. Unfortunately, healthy eating isn't always a reality in the workplace.

With so many temptations (slap chips at the cafeteria, chocolate from the vending machine – and no time to a pack a lunch box), it’s easy to fall into unhealthy eating patterns. Here are five top excuses for not eating properly, and what we can do about it:

1. I have no money for healthy food

While a salad from a premium deli is more costly than a greasy toasted sandwich, you don’t always have to stretch your budget for healthier options. Expensive also doesn’t always mean healthy. When you put an hour aside for shopping over the weekend, and another hour for planning your meals, you won't need to spend money at the deli around the corner. This guide to healthy eating on a budget will help to get you started, with delicious recipes and tips on how to compile a shopping list.

Still not inspired? This article with tips on how to eat healthily on a budget may help you.

Also watch these videos on quick, simple recipes on a budget.

2. I don’t have time to pack a lunch box

Homemade lunches are more affordable and mostly a lot healthier than the fare at the office canteen, but you might struggle to find the time to throw together a salad or sandwich to take to work. But it doesn’t have to be that time-consuming. Cook enough for dinner to pack what's left into a container for the next day.

If you also need to prepare school lunches for your children, get everything ready the night before. Here are some great tips on how to pack a healthy lunch box in very little time.

3. We often have cake and treats at the office, and I don’t want to miss out

No need to skip the office festivities if you are watching your waistline. Simply watch your portions. Pick one treat you really enjoy, have it with a cup of coffee and ignore the rest. Volunteer to bring healthier snacks, such as crudités and hummus, or wholegrain crackers to create a balance. 

4. I often travel to meetings, and I struggle to eat properly on the go

It's hard to be diligent about healthy food when you are always on the run. Keep healthy, snacks such as biltong or nuts in your car, handbag or briefcase. Stay hydrated, especially when you are flying. When navigating the food options at the airport, steer clear of greasy, salty, processed options and go for whole grains and fresh fruit and vegetables. Avoid getting too hungry, as this can cause you to make unhealthy food choices.

5. With so many diet do’s and don’ts, I just give up

Healthy eating doesn’t have to be inflexible. According to a previous Health24 article, the essence of a good diet is balance: this means eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day; a healthy source of protein; fibre; and whole grains.

Select one dark green or dark yellow fruit or vegetable every day (yellow peaches, apricots, papaya, sweet melon, mango, carrots, pumpkin, broccoli, spinach, sweet potato) to supply you with beta-carotene. Incorporate this advice when picking options from your canteen or salad bar. Spoil yourself with a delicious treat every now and again, and you will soon be reaping the benefits of a healthy diet.

Browse Health24’s nutrition section for a wide selection of tips. If you have dietary issues, don't hesitate to ask our dietitians for help. 

Image credit: iStock

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