Quit grazing between meetings and follow these healthy eating tips for women on the go
Nutritional therapist and founder of the Well Well Well clinic Jackie Lynch hosted one of our ever-popular weekly Expert Forums on Zest.co.uk. Check out her five key steps to help optimise your productivity, avoid midday migraines and stop snacking during your working day.
1. Be satisfied
Hunger can zap your work rate, leading to increased stress levels. Healthy snacks will stifle that noisy tummy rumble. Make time to prep and pack a snack from home, to avoid the inexorable pull of the vending machine and its unhealthy offerings.
If snacking doesn't work for you, think carefully about what you're eating at meal times, says Jackie.
Satisfying lunches that keep you going need to contain a good portion of protein and fibre. Good sources of protein are meat, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, lentils, chickpeas, and beans. Eat these with a 'brown' version of bread, rice or pasta and vegetables to get your fibre fix. Good lunch choices are a wholemeal sandwich with chicken, spinach and avocado, or lentil and tomato soup with wholemeal bread.
Try these low-calorie lunch ideas
2. Stop for porridge
We all know skipping breakfast won’t give us a head start. Eating oats for breakfast will release energy slowly and keep you fuller for longer.
There are lots of microwaveable options and if that's still too much hassle, places like Pret, EAT and Pod all sell good porridge pots for breakfast on the go; add a spoonful of a protein-rich mix of pumpkin, sunflower and flax seeds for added health benefits.
If you’re really in a rush, eat a bowl of muesli at your desk. ‘Make sure it has about 5g of fibre per serving - not per 100g,' Jackie recommends.
Here's some better breakfast ideas
3. Fight headaches with magnesium
If you’re scrolling through spreadsheets and can’t break away, help stave off a crippling headache by staying hydrated. Jackie says, ‘Try to drink 5-6 glasses per day. Herbal and fruit teas are a good way of boosting your fluid intake, but tea, coffee and caffeinated sodas don't count, as they tend to have a diuretic effect.’
5 reasons to drink herbal tea
Be careful, as some foods can actually trigger your headache, such as chocolate, caffeine and cheese. Swap these for migraine-fighting foods like spinach, watercress and rocket, which are high in magnesium and vitamin B. ‘Add extra salad vegetables to your lunchtime sandwich or snack on veg sticks and hummus,' says Jackie.
Your best migraine remedies
Magnesium also has a calming effect on the nervous system, so try a magnesium sulphate (Epsom salts) bath. The magnesium will absorb through the skin, having a relaxing effect and possibly relieving the tension that led to the headache.
4. Keep your blood sugar balanced
Sugar is very addictive. It may be that your meals are containing hidden sugars that are tempting you to have even more.
Sugary foods and refined carbs (white bread, baked goods and white rice and white pasta) can cause blood sugar highs. Your body’s response? To remove the sugar from the blood, thus causing a blood sugar low. This will release hormones to help restore balance by creating a strong craving for sugary foods, stimulants (caffeine, alcohol) and refined carbs, leading to the seesaw moodswing effect. Avoid this by eating slow-release energy foods.
Reasons to skip the sugar
Aim to eat a meal or small snack roughly every three hours, so that your blood sugar doesn't dip and you don't experience sugar cravings. Munch on a piece of fruit and 4-5 almonds, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts or walnuts. Another option is sugar-free peanut butter with 1-2 oatcakes.
If you’re really dying for a sweet treat, try a couple of squares of dark chocolate that’s 80% cocoa, which is low in sugar. Try drinking sweet tea, like liquorice, to help satisfy the urge too.
Understand your cravings
5. Don’t be a habit eater
When time-pressed, it’s very easy to develop bad food habits. Your diet needs to be varied to make sure you're getting all the macronutrients - protein, fat, carbs - and all the micronutrients - vitamins and minerals - you need to function well.
A good habit to get into is making time to mix up your breakfast every morning. Add a portion of chopped fruit or berries for fibre, plus a spoonful of raw pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and ground flax seed for omega-3, protein, magnesium and zinc. Plain yoghurt adds probiotics and calcium.
How to supercharge your breakfast
For lunch, switch up your sarnie every day: chicken with lettuce and peppers, salmon with spinach and red onion, and hummus with rocket and cherry tomatoes.
Always eat wholegrain bread. Carbs should make up no more than a quarter of your overall meal portion at lunch and dinner.
Rye: the supergrain to flatten your stomach
For more information visit Jackie’s website or follow her on twitter @WellWellWellUK.
Like us on facebook
Follow us on twitter
Other Hearst Magazines UK sites