When in ABQ: Top Tips for Proper Diet at Work

Well Life ABQ
May 11, 2021

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Getting a proper diet is already a challenge for most of us living in the “fast lane”. A typical morning breakfast in your home may be toast or cornflakes with milk. Sometimes you miss out on breakfast as you whisk your way to the office. You possibly popped a few vitamins. You may eat a quick lunch later. And then partake in a hearty dinner when you get back home after a long day’s work.

You might think you’re getting all the nutrients you need, right? Chances are…no.  The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 reported these facts:

  • About 75% of the population have a low intake of dairy, vegetables, healthy oils, and fruits.
  • More than 50% of the population meet and exceed the intake of proteins and grains. 
  • Most Americans exceed the recommended intake of sugars, salts, and saturated or bad fats.
  • Most Americans eat high-calorie foods.
  • Some Americans do not meet the recommended intake of nutrients.

You may think taking vitamins and supplements compensate for the lack of foods you eat. This idea is not totally accurate, according to The Harris Polls in 2018. It surveyed adults 18 years old and above.  

The American Osteopathic Association requested the online research.The results show  86% of adults take supplements and vitamins. But, about 21% of them revealed to be suffering from nutritional deficiency. These statistics highlight the importance of nutrition.

Well Life ABQ offers nutritional counselling should you need one. You may book an appointment with us at  505 585 2345. For the meantime, read through the blog to know the best ever solution to proper nutrition at your workplace.

What is Nutrition?

Nutrition is the process of eating food for the body to survive and even thrive. Nutrients provide the energy the body needs to function and stay healthy. Carbohydrates, lipids or fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and water compose the six essential nutrients.

How Does Poor Nutrition Affect You?

Unhealthy eating habits lead to nutritional deficiency. You may skip a meal when you’re in a hurry to catch a meeting. Or you might quickly consume an unhealthy, processed meal. The quality of food and drink also matters. Some people may consume too many sugars, salts, and bad fats. Few people eat enough vegetables.

Poor work performance can be due to poor nutrition. It reduces your ability to work and function properly. In time, you may develop health-related problems and illnesses. Some of these are obesity, high blood pressure or cholesterol, heart diseases, diabetes, and cancer. Poor performance affects your productivity and the organization, too. For the employer, it means greater costs of health or medical insurance. It also indicates a loss in profit due to employee underproductivity or absences.

Now that you know about these realities, you may want to take a closer look at your food choices. You may consider shifting to a healthier eating pattern. Let’s first work on your nutrients. Then, we’ll proceed to your nutrition at the workplace.

What is the Proper Diet for Adults?

Many factors are considered when calculating the recommended calorie intake for adults. These include age, sex, weight, height, and level of physical activity. The estimated range for females is from 1,600 to 2,400 calories per day. For men, it’s 2,000 to 3,000 calories. Nutritional intake of macronutrients, minerals, and vitamins also depends on sex and age. These are specific components found in your foods and drinks. Available online is a detailed table of Nutritional Goals for Age-Sex Groups Based in Dietary Reference Intakes and Dietary Guidelines Recommendations.

How Can You Count Calories?

You can count calories by adding up the food and drinks you’ve consumed. If you’re eating packaged foods, refer to the nutrition labels. The chart shows you the contents and the specific nutrients and total calories. There are also online calorie calculators to determine calorie counts for non-packaged foods and drinks.  Pay close attention to serving sizings.

What is MyPlate?

Other than counting calories, your eating pattern is also essential .  Healthy  eating habits inspired the launch of the MyPlate campaign.It focuses on the nutritional value, serving size, and variety of food recommended. These should contain fewer  sugars, salts, and bad fats. 

You may start by making a meal plan built to your healthy eating pattern. Based on the MyPlate guide, your plate should contain the  five basic food groups. These are vegetables, fruits, grains, protein, and dairy. MyPlate applies to everyone.  

You can check out the guide, which has categories based on age. Yet, there are other kinds of healthy diets.  Another plan  I prefer is the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) Healthy Eating Plate.  This guide is currently similar to the USDA My Plate, but  wasn’t always the case.  

The HSPH guidelines included healthy fats and reduced grains for almost ten years before the USDA guideline  updated their recommendations.   Heavy  lobbying efforts keep USDA guidelines bogged down.   

Any changes in the USDA guidelines have significant  financial implications on the various food industries because school lunches follow these recommendations  Furthermore,   The  Department  of Agriculture manages the USDA guidelines, but the Department of Health and Human Services needs to handle these guidelines. 

What are the Other Kinds of  Diets?

The U.S. News & World Report conducted its yearly assessment of 35 diets. The expert panel was composed of 25 of the country’s top healthcare providers who specialize in diabetes, heart disease, and weight loss. There were dietary consultants and nutritionists, too.  In its January 2020 report, the Mediterranean Diet ranked as the best diet. This diet ranked first for the third consecutive year. The DASH and Flexitarian diets were tied in second place. The USDA also listed the Mediterranean diet as a healthy eating pattern.

What is the Mediterranean Diet?

The origin of the diet is in the Mediterranean region. Ancel Keys, an American physiologist, promoted the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet. He pointed out the link between the diet and its effect on heart disease. This diet consists of red, orange, and dark-green vegetables. Included are legumes and starchy vegetables. Fruits and oils of any kind are acceptable, particularly olive oil. The rest are whole and refined grains, seafood, meats, poultry, nuts, seeds, and soy products. But , it contains less of the daily recommended intake of calcium and vitamin D you’d need.

What is the DASH Diet?

The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) program was designed by experts from the National Institutes of Health. It  helps prevent and lower high blood pressure. The DASH diet consists of less salt, low fat, and more calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Also, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy make up the DASH diet. It promotes moderate portions of fish, poultry, nuts, and whole grains. Fats, red meat, and sweets are allowed in small amounts  But  weight loss isn’t intended with this diet. And it may not be appropriate for you. People with chronic kidney or liver disease need to consider this diet with caution. 

What is the Flexitarian Diet?

Dawn Jackson Blatner, a dietician, created the Flexitarian (flexible and vegetarian) diet.   The Flexitarian diet mostly consists of whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits. It substitutes animal meats with plant proteins. Like the Mediterranean diet, foods come from natural and less processed sources. It’s low in  sugar, too. Unlike the DASH diet, the Flexitarian diet is intended  for weight loss. But , you may be prone to nutrient deficiencies. You might miss out on Vitamins B12, calcium, and iron. The same goes for omega-3 fatty acids and zinc.

Top Ways to Promote Proper Diet in the Workplace 

  1. Baseline health and medical data: Employees need to write down all pre-existing medical conditions. They will list  their lifestyle activities, habits, and other health-related information. Based on this data, we assess the general health condition of employees. And, we recommend health and nutrition interventions to the management. It’s best to ensure employees that a privacy policy is in place.

There are various ways to determine the nutritional status of your employees:

  • Nutritional assessment: This determines the clinical status of employees.  It detects deficiencies  and evaluates dietary needs. Some of the methods include dietary, anthropometric, clinical, biomedical, and sociological assessments. 

    One of the commonly used lab tests for nutritional status is serum protein (albumin and prealbumin). Prealbumin is  a valid indicator, studies show,  in people at risk of malnutrition. Other tests include lipid panel, complete blood count, total protein, and comprehensive metabolic panel. 

  • Anthropometric measurement refers to the proportions, dimensions, size, and shape of the physical body. Some specific measures are body weight, body mass index, and skinfold.
  • Clinical evaluation: This includes medical history, physical exam, physical functional measurements, and present medications.
  • Diet history: A tell-tale sign of nutritional status is diet. What are your employees’ diet preferences, habits, food-related religious customs, and food allergies? Information about their diet shows if they are getting enough or lacking nutrients.

  1. Weight loss: Encourage your employees to opt for a more active lifestyle. A study shows  a sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy diets may result in weight gain. This impacts work productivity, according to another study. Employee-sponsored weight loss programs are helpful for employees who are trying to lose weight.

  2. Nutritional education or counseling: Nutritional education is a useful tool in improving your  employees’ nutrition status. Some of these topics are about various diets, essential nutrients, and weight control.  A  primary approach in managing many diseases consists of nutritional counseling. Unlike nutritional education, nutritional counseling is individually-centered.

  3. Cafeteria food choices:  In the end, offer healthier food, beverages, and snack choices in the cafeteria.   A variety of foods need to be available to give employees options.  The key is your food should contain the primary five food groups mentioned earlier. 

  4. Replace soda, sugary stuff, and chips with healthier alternatives in vending machines. Try to offer natural vegetable or fruit drinks. Instead of chocolate bars, offer nutrition-filled energy bars. There are also healthy chips with less salt, zero bad fats, and no preservatives.

Proper Diet | Nutrition for you and your workplace

Proper nutrition is essential for employees as this impacts their health and productivity. The right diet, regular exercise, and weight management are the key factors. We can perform a thorough nutritional assessment to determine the nutritional status of your employees.

You may call us at the Well Life ABQ for more information about laboratory tests for nutritional status, weight loss, and nutritional counseling – a direct primary care provider near you – 505 585 2345.

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