AHA News: Your Eating-On-The-Job Problems, Solved
(American Heart Association News) — Few meals may be less loved than the workday lunch. Pulled from a brown bag, yanked from a microwave in the middle of a shift or nabbed from a bland cafeteria between meetings, it’s more associated with frustration than nutrition.
A recent online survey by the Harris Poll for the American Heart Association and the food service company Aramark put numbers on that frustration: More than half of workers said they struggled to make lunch healthy, and 91% were interested in making their work lunches healthier.
People can find many ways to do that, said Maya Vadiveloo, assistant professor of nutrition and food sciences at the University of Rhode Island in Kingston. And solutions can involve not just workers, but the places that serve them.
You should start by knowing that lunch is “tremendously important,” said Vadiveloo, a member of the AHA’s Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health.
“We all have a certain amount of calories that we need each day to keep our bodies feeling energized and to get the nutrition that we need. And there are only so many times in the day when you can do that.”
Given that most people don’t consume vegetables at breakfast, lunch is an important opportunity to get in the recommended minimum five servings a day.
But that’s easier said than done. If you have only 15 minutes to eat between tasks, you’re probably not building a balanced meal, Vadiveloo said. And then there’s the appeal of what’s usually offered at a company cafeteria or fast-food eatery.