Tips to boost workplace well-being

A nutrient-rich, low sugar breakfast provides the ideal boost for a productive work day. | Freepik

A nutrient-rich, low sugar breakfast provides the ideal boost for a productive work day. | Freepik

Published Feb 22, 2024



ADULTS spend at least a third of their lives at work. Whether it’s an 8am-to-5pm desk job, shift work or running a business, a big chunk of time and energy goes into work.

In a world dominated by technology and ever-increasing pressure, it’s easy to get carried away by workplace demands at the expense of most other things in our lives – especially our health. This is why prioritising good health and well-being in the workplace is vital.

Nutrition plays an important role in our health and wellness. It therefore makes sense that corporate nutrition – what we eat and drink while at work - is a vital contributor to our overall health. Food choices are more than just sustenance; they impact energy levels, cognitive function and overall well-being. In this era of heightened awareness around holistic health, investing in good nutrition at the workplace is a catalyst for heightened productivity, job satisfaction and overall well-being.

In line with this, here are some tips to help you feel at your healthy best in the workplace:

Breakfast boost

A healthy breakfast provides the ideal boost for a productive work day.

While the intermittent fasting craze has become popular in the corporate world, it's important to remember that this weight loss strategy may not be suitable for everyone in terms of sustained energy throughout the day. Research shows that skipping breakfast or having a breakfast high in sugar and refined carbohydrates can lead to mid-morning crashes, mood swings and decreased focus. A nutrient-rich breakfast that is low in sugar can regulate blood sugar levels and reduce cravings throughout the day.

Food tip: Start the day with a nutritious breakfast of oats, peanut butter on wholegrain toast, fruit, avocado toast with eggs, or smoothies.

Effective hydration

Staying hydrated throughout the day is crucial in order to function optimally, but it's important to choose the right beverages. In addition to drinking water, consider adding fruit slices or herbs to your chilled water to keep your hydration levels up. Be mindful of your caffeine intake and avoid relying on coffee as a meal replacement as this can impact alertness and reduce sustained concentration.

Drink tip: To improve productivity, incorporate rooibos or green tea into your routine as these are both rich in antioxidants and compounds that promote brain function - resulting in better focus and alertness.

Mindful breaks

Taking time to enjoy a meal mindfully fosters a positive relationship with food and sets a tone of intention for the day. Stepping away from your desk during meals, especially lunch, can positively impact your mental health.

Taking mindful breaks throughout the day can also positively impact mental health and productivity. This means setting aside a few minutes to step away from work and engage in an activity that promotes relaxation and mindfulness.

Break tips: Meditation, deep breathing exercises or going for a walk can all help reduce stress and increase focus.

Smart snacking

Healthy snacks can combat mid-morning or afternoon slumps and promote sustained energy. This helps you avoid the temptation of unhealthy snacks, while fuelling your body with essential nutrients.

It's important to remember that snacking should be a supplement to your diet, not a replacement. It is therefore crucial to choose snacks that are high in protein, fibre and healthy fats, as these will keep you feeling full for longer periods. Snacking can also be an opportunity to experiment with new fruit and vegetables.

Snack tips: Snack combinations like apple slices with peanut butter, hummus and fresh cut-up vegetables, boiled eggs and fruit, and yoghurt with fruit or nuts are great options.

* Mapholi is a Tetley partner dietician