Maintaining a healthy diet when you work

Maintaining a healthy diet can be challenging during the working week, when deadlines, workload and multiple priorities, shift the focus away from your food choices. However, when you work for a large company that provide on-site catering it should make cutting down on the unhealthy food easier as any good catering company will provide healthy food choices, enabling you to cut down on the salt and fat in your diet. This will in the long term provide many benefits to your health.

The importance of a low salt, low fat diet

People who consume a diet that has a high salt and fat content are more likely to develop chronic illnesses like high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, and cancer. There is also the risk of associated conditions and according to medical statistics, people with high blood pressure are 3 times more likely to have a stroke than people with normal blood pressure.

Popular lunchtime favourites like bread, sandwiches and pizza already contain about 75% of the recommended daily salt intake and any added salt often means over consumption. Salt is an essential part of your diet, but is only needed in small amounts. Doctors recommend no more than one teaspoon or 6g a day.

Snacking favourites like cakes, biscuits and pastries contain high amounts of saturated fats, which contribute to so called “bad” cholesterol and increased risk of heart disease.

Making healthier choices – FATS

Reducing your fat intake can be as simple as making a few smart substitutions. It all comes down to balance. Reserve treats like biscuits and cakes for the occasional treat, choosing fruit as a snack, in-between meals is a way to help reduce fat intake. Grilled, steamed and baked foods have less fat than fried foods, as do leaner cuts of red meat, poultry and fish.

Understanding your fats will help with your menu choices. Saturated fats are the ones that increase your risk of heart disease and can be found in foods like chocolate and sausages. Unsaturated fats, which can be divided into monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, raise your levels of “good” cholesterol and provide you with essential fatty acids like Omega 3. You want to increase your consumption of unsaturated fats and they can be found in plant or vegetable oils, fish like sardines and salmon, avocados, nuts and seeds.

Making healthier choices – SALT

According to British charity Age UK, more than 26 million adults in the UK eat too much salt. One reason people eat too much salt is that they are unaware that most foods don’t need to be enhanced with additional salt. Some foods are already high in salt because of the way they are produced and others impact salt intake because of how often they are eaten.

Cutting back on foods that are naturally salty and swapping for low salt alternatives can help you reduce how much salt you eat. Exchange the toppings on your pizza, replacing cured meats like bacon and pepperoni with vegetables and chicken. Instead of pasta dishes laden with cheese, choose ones that are tomato-based and contain vegetables and chicken, instead of bacon and sausage. Consider salads over sandwiches, and when you do have sandwiches, replace ham and cheddar with foods like eggs and avocado.