With more and more evidence emerging about the importance of eating well on a daily basis (to maintain both physical and mental health) people are becoming increasingly aware of what they’re eating and where their food comes from.
From the growing availability of organic produce to the rise of veganism and other movements, which were once seen as ‘alternative’; consumer trends are changing. However, food at work has not yet caught up with these developments. Despite London’s food revolution, I often found it difficult to find healthy, delicious food to eat when I was at work. Finding something for lunch that is nutritious, affordable and also great tasting can be really hard, even in central London. In my experience the majority of people end up going back to the same lunch spot each day out of ease and uninspiring alternatives, and often have little knowledge about the provenance of ingredients being used or nutrition profile of the recipe.
This is why I launched Feedr, a smart lunch platform which offers people at work personalised meals from London’s healthy food suppliers, delivered to the office. When we spend 70 per cent of our waking hours at work, it’s vital that we’re fuelling our bodies with the right things. We therefore want to make it easier for people to access nourishing, great food no matter how busy they are or what ‘grab-and-go’ options are near them. We also want to show that healthy food doesn’t have to be boring or tasteless! With over 100 vendors in our community, we have everything from Vietnamese to Mexican on our platform, all with a focus on using high quality ingredients, sourcing well and creating healthier recipes.
The power of wellbeing in the workplace
Having worked in the food space over recent years, I’m pleased to have noticed the conversation around wellbeing at work becoming more of a focus. The millennial workforce, which accounts for a large fraction of the working world today, is asking for more from their employers. They are looking for meaning and happiness in their day to day working life, and so companies have to re-evaluate how they approach employees’ wellness.
Second to this, it’s been proven that a happy workforce results in better output - and so companies are increasingly acknowledging the fact that creating an enabling environment helps people optimise their own performance, which in turn drives ROI for the business. So from flexi-time to cycle-to-work schemes, companies are beginning to get creative with their benefits and employee wellness schemes. But one area that can often be overlooked is food. Proven to be vital in determining both physical and mental health, eating well is an essential component to creating a high-functioning, productive and happy team.
28 per cent of companies currently offer work food perks, and this number is on the rise as the discussion around the links between food, health and happiness continue to develop. By providing meals and focusing on the genuine health and food habits of their staff, companies are tapping into employee health and happiness levels - because in the end, a happy workforce, means a more motivated and productive workforce.
Avoiding the 2pm slump
A great benefit of eating highly nutritious food is the boost of energy it can give. By stabilising sugar levels you could actually eliminate caffeine (the thought of which inspires dread in many London workers!). It means your energy levels are likely to stay more steady and keep major slumps at bay. Here are a few quick tips for helping with this:
- Try to make your meal as balanced as possible. Loading up on carbs is more likely to make you drowsy. Try to pack your meal with protein and vegetables instead.
- If you’re vegan or vegetarian you can find protein in foods such as lentils and grains like quinoa and spelt - both of which contain all nine essential amino acids needed by the human body.
- Then you have the obvious tricks like snacking on nuts and seeds, staying hydrated (don’t forget this one) and avoiding sugary snacks throughout the day - all help to keep energy levels up during long days in the office. For a sweet kick, try apple slices with almond butter.
Beyond the workplace
Eating high quality, nutrient dense food shouldn’t stop when you leave the office either, but it can be tough when you work long hours, you’re looking after children and you’re running around at the weekend. It’s all about balance though, I firmly believe you shouldn’t feel guilty about a couple of glasses of wine or a pizza at the weekend - remember the 80/20 rule and eat a healthy diet 80 per cent of the time, while allowing yourself some treats the other 20 per cent.
Ultimately, life is busy at work and at home, and food is a well-deserved break in between the madness. Food is passion and emotion, and we should always love what we’re eating. Enjoy your food; enjoy nourishing your body and the benefits will be endless.
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