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Is the food served at your workplace healthy? – Monitor

3 minutes, 47 seconds Read
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Many workplaces in and around Kampala serve a buffet of rice, matooke, posho, sweet potatoes, pumpkin as well as beef, chicken or fish. But is this food the best nutritional option, especially for individuals who spend most of their day seated? 

Lugard Musiime, a nutritionist, says most of the food served at many workplaces is not inherently bad, since it is locally grown and not junk food. 

“The problem, however, is with balancing food intake and energy spent. Most companies do not provide breakfast so employees find their own breakfast with many resorting to snacks such as chapatti, mandazi, cassava, samosas and chaps, among others. These snacks, however, are very high in calories from both carbohydrates and fat,” Musiime explains. 

Calories 

Calories are units of energy in the form of glucose found in food and beverages that the body uses for various functions. 

When you eat food, the body, through digestion, breaks it down to give you the energy needed for daily activities and bodily functions. 

While all foods provide energy, carbohydrates, Musiime says, are the primary sources of energy. Proteins build muscles while fruits and vegetables provide vitamins and minerals.    

“So, if you eat foods high in carbohydrates, your body will get energy in form of glucose, which is not bad. But, your body should be able to use up all that energy through physical activity. If it does not, the energy turns into fat,” Musiime says.        

The key is to balance food intake and output (energy expenditure). For example, if your work involves sitting for long hours, decrease the amount of food you eat such that the energy produced can be spent as you carry out your daily office activities.

Too much fat

Too much fat, Musiime says, has cholesterol which leads to cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure, stokes and heart attack. 

It will also cause one to gain weight, which might lead to obesity. 

“The main purpose of a buffet is to provide variety and options to choose from. Therefore, do not eat everything provided,” Musiime advises.  

Ivan Philip Baguma, a nutritionist, advises employers to broaden their lunch menus, beyond the predominantly carbohydrate-heavy options commonly offered. He suggests incorporating a variety of non-starchy vegetables, lean proteins, fruits, salads, nuts and whole foods such as brown rice. 

Baguma says the general rule of thumb for someone living a sedentary lifestyle is that 50 percent to 70 percent of the meal portion should consist of non-starchy vegetables.     

“As an employee, consider carrying your own lunch from home so that this way, you are able to eat healthier foods. Also, pack healthy snacks such as fruits, vegetables and yoghurt to avoid buying unhealthy options. Replace the soda you take after lunch with water since soda is full of calories from sugar. If you must eat at work, control your portions. Also, incorporate physical activity into your work day by taking short breaks to stand, walk and stretch,” Buguma recommends. 

Nutritional education

Musiime emphasises the importance of employers providing nutritional education to their staff. While gym subscriptions for employees are beneficial, Musiime says nutrition constitutes 70 percent of a healthy lifestyle while exercise makes up the remaining 30 percent. 

“For example, companies can hire nutritionists to educate employees on proper nutrition, such as the importance of balancing plant protein with animal protein. While both provide protein, they differ in type and nutritional benefits. Similarly, understanding the distinctions between complex and simple carbohydrates is crucial for maintaining a balanced diet,” he says.

“We can also teach service providers healthier cooking methods such as boiling food that is equally as tasty. They also need to learn that vegetables must not be served just as a garnish, but as a major component of the whole meal,” he adds.    

By adopting healthy eating habits at the workplace, individuals are more likely to carry these principles into their homes. Corporate nutrition, therefore, serves as a gateway to promoting overall health and well-being for the entire family.   

Encourage healthy habits

Giving employees the ability to easily make healthy choices and strengthening their chances of getting their five-a-day can help to foster positive relationships around food, whilst boosting overall health and immunity.

Several sources evidence the ways in which a balanced diet full of plenty of fresh whole foods can not only improve physical wellness but also help with the symptoms of anxiety and depression.

So, it would seem that providing tasty, fresh food in the office will not only improve the physical well-being of your workers but also provide a boost to their mental health, too.  

This post was originally published on 3rd party site mentioned in the title of this site

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