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Chips and cookies? Banana and whole wheat crackers? Protein bar and nuts? Your snack stash says a lot about you and your work environment. While it might be tempting to stock up on candy and chips, smart snack decisions can boost productivity, keep you engaged and maintain your focus.

 

Here’s a smart snacking strategy to help you get through the day.

10:00 a.m. – Snack time

You’ve got a few options. Healthy or not healthy? The temptation of the yummy vending machine snacks, the fast food next door or the community snacks in the breakroom can be hard to resist. By bringing your own snacks to work, you’re in control of what you eat. Keep healthy options in your desk, locker or backpack to tackle your cravings.

Here are some healthy ideas for munchies:

  • Homemade trail mix
  • Veggie chips
  • Cheese sticks
  • Raw veggies with hummus
  • Fresh or dried fruit
  • Protein or granola bars

12:00 p.m. – Lunch time

Be prepared. It’s a simple way to eat healthier and avoid temptation. Prepping lunches for the week puts you in control of your food choices and lessens temptation to grab a fast food meal. Choose recipes that are easy to make and easy to pack so you’re ready whether you’re eating at your station or in the breakroom. Complete the meal prep over the weekend to avoid making lunch after a long day of work or when you’re rushing to get out the door. You may even find your coworkers are a little envious of the yummy lunches you prepared!

Here are some lunch ideas that are easy, quick and downright delicious:

  • Thai tofu Buddha bowls
  • Grilled chicken cobb salad
  • Turkey spinach pinwheels and veggies
  • Taco salad bowls with quinoa
  • Greek whole grain and grilled veggie wrap

Find more tasty recipes here: https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/recipes.html

3:00 p.m. – Provide encouragement

Sometimes it’s hard to stay on the healthy-eating track when you face tempting, but less nutritious options at work. Remember, you can be an inspiration to others. When someone comments on your lunches or snacks, let them know how easy it is to make healthier substitutions for that hamburger and fries or share some of your favorite meal prep tips.

You can also encourage your employer to support healthier choices for everyone. Here are some ideas to inspire leadership.

  • Ask your employer to switch out the potato chips in the vending machines for whole wheat crackers or unsalted popcorn. Encourage trading the sodas for carbonated water.
  • Get creative with a team cookbook. Ask your coworkers to share their favorite healthy recipes and compile the collection into a simple downloadable file.  
  • Make suggestions for healthier celebrations and team meetings. Recommend fruit and whole grain muffins instead of bagels and donuts. Frozen banana pops, rice crispy bars or fruit tarts are healthier ways to celebrate a birthday.
  • Join your company’s wellness team, or start one, to show your commitment to making healthier choices. Your involvement can positively impact the culture for everyone in your organization.
  • Create a support circle by finding coworkers who share your passion for eating healthier. Lean on them for support and accountability when you need to stay on track. Share food prep ideas, new restaurant finds and tips on how to eat healthier at workplace events. Hand out the high-fives when someone makes it through the week without giving in to temptation.

 

Sources

11 Quick Lunches to Bring to Work,” Damn Delicious.net, Accessed January 2020. https://damndelicious.net/2018/05/19/11-quick-lunches-to-bring-to-work/

Rodney Goodie, “How to Control Diabetes at Work,” St. Hope Foundation, Accessed January 2020. https://offeringhope.org/control-diabetes-work/

Noma Nazish, “Five Smart Ways to Eat Healthier at Work,” Forbes, Accessed January 2020. https://www.forbes.com/sites/nomanazish/2019/02/28/five-smart-ways-to-eat-healthier-at-work/#29852c61465f

Susan M. Healthfield, “How to Encourage Healthy Food Choices at Work,” The Balance Careers, Accessed January 2020. https://www.thebalancecareers.com/how-to-encourage-healthy-food-choices-at-work-1917961

“Ten Ways to Encourage Healthy Eating at Work,” Personnel Today, Accessed January 2020. https://www.personneltoday.com/hr/ten-ways-to-encourage-healthy-eating-at-work/

Did you know the less people sleep, the more likely they are to be overweight? Research tells us sleep is a powerful regulator of appetite, energy, and weight control in multiple ways.  

 

First, when we’re tired, we might not always make the best food choices during the day.  Additionally, during sleep the body works to regulate hunger and satiety hormones – we produce more of the hormone leptin that suppresses our appetite and less of the hormone grehlin that stimulates appetite. When our bodies don’t get enough sleep, these hormones become unbalanced, making it harder to determine when we’re hungry and when we’re satisfied, potentially resulting in weight gain. 

 

How much sleep should you get? It’s recommended you get seven to nine hours of good quality sleep per night to regulate hunger and satiety hormones, keep your metabolism working, and function at your best!

 

But what about when you haven’t slept well?  Some evidence shows that short naps (up to an hour) can be beneficial and can improve mood and work performance. Try not to nap after 3 p.m. or for longer than 20 minutes so as not to interfere with the next night’s sleep. And naps are not a long-term substitute for a good night’s sleep.

 

If you’re finding yourself frequently having a hard time falling asleep, staying asleep, or not feeling well rested despite having at least seven hours of sleep, talk to you doctor.

 

 

References

 http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/excessive-sleepiness-10/lack-of-sleep-weight-gain

https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sdd

 

 

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  Your Guide Healthy Sleep:  NIH Publication No. 11-5271 Originally printed November 2005 Revised August 2011

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Whether they’re furry, feathery, or scaly, pets can be a boon to your life and well-being. Read on to learn about some obvious and not-so-obvious benefits, and how you can, in turn, take good care of your pet.

 

Benefits to physical well-being

Many studies have been done to examine the effects of pet ownership on a person’s state of health. For example, it has been observed that children who grow up in a household with pets are less likely to develop allergies, allergies, and skin conditions like eczema.

Other studies found that having pets can lower anxiety and pain levels for people dealing with chronic pain or recovering from surgery. They can also help with preventing infection because they can boost people’s immune systems.

Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) link pet ownership with healthier levels of blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides – all good indicators for avoiding long-term, chronic diseases.

 

Benefits to mental and emotional well-being

Why all the health benefits? It may have to do with how pets improve their owners’ feelings of stress, anxiety, and loneliness. It’s no secret that physical health is heavily influenced by how we’re feeling, which is in turn affected by how well we’re socializing. Not only do pets offer constant companionship, but they can provide opportunities to connect more with other humans, such as when we walk our dogs in the neighborhood.

In addition, some pet owner activities get you to move more. 

 

Remember to return the love

Don’t forget to take good care of your pet!

  • Bring your pet to the vet regularly, and make the most of those visits by asking questions and voicing concerns.
  • Educate yourself about common diseases and symptoms that your pet may encounter, so you can be on the lookout for trouble.
  • Communicate with other pet owners (whether it’s a real-world or online community) to learn from their experiences and to get tips and advice.

Sources

https://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/features/health-benefits-of-pets

https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/health-benefits/index.html

https://www.womansday.com/life/pet-care/a2352/10-health-benefits-of-owning-a-pet-116238/

https://animalfoundation.com/the-basic-necessities-of-proper-pet-care/

As news about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) continues to evolve, it’s worth reminding our members and their families that the best way to stay healthy is to follow the advice given every flu season.

 

What can you do?

Take precautions as you would with the normal seasonal flu. There is no vaccine for the novel Coronavirus at this time.

 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following to help reduce your risk of infection:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick

If you have cold-like symptoms, you can help protect others:

  • Stay home while you are sick
  • Avoid close contact with others
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces

 

Although the CDC considers this Coronavirus a serious public-health concern, the agency has said that the immediate risk to the American public is low at this time and that “a graver health risk for Americans — not just right now, but every year — is the flu.”

 

Visit the CDC seasonal flu page and the coronavirus prevention and treatment page for further guidance.

What is a Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are known to cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more serious respiratory diseases. A novel Coronavirus (CoV) is a new strain of Coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans. Common symptoms of Coronaviruses include runny nose, cough and fever. Some patients develop pneumonia.

 

Why should you care?

In a world that is globally connected, viral outbreaks in one country can impact others. Thousands of cases have been reported worldwide, including in the United States, but the vast majority of them are inside China.

To learn more or stay up to date, go to the CDC website and check out the CDC’s travel guidance. You can also learn more from the World Health Organization.